Is it right for a healthy person to be involuntarily sacrificed to save five sick people? Our intuition may say that it is wrong, but why? This course aims to explore controversial questions like this one by examining the three “big traditions” in Western ethical thought: deontology (morality based on rules), consequentialism (morality based on the outcomes of our actions), and virtue ethics (morality based on the types of people we take ourselves to be). Along the way, we will consider related questions about morality and ethics, such as whether a belief in God is necessary to have moral truths. We will also consider how debates about ethics have entered into our daily lives, both in terms of globally compelling issues (the ethics of vaccine distribution, for example) and in popular culture (such as in the popular NBC show, The Good Place).
Philosophy: Ethics and Morality
Monday, January 22 – Friday, May 10, 2024