2070-PHIL-Syllabus-Winter-2

2070-PHIL-Syllabus-Winter-2 - DEPARTMENT OF PHILOSOPHY York...

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DEPARTMENT OF PHILOSOPHY York University PHIL 2070 A(Winter term) INTRODUCTION TO ETHICS Course Outline 2015-2016 MW 11:30 - 12:30 + 1 required tutorial Prof. J. Allen Office: Ross 445S Office Hours: Mondays 12:40 - 1:40 Phone: 416 736-2100 ext 77541 Tuesdays 3:30 - 5:30 Wednesdays 12:40 - 1:40 This course is designed as an introduction to moral philosophy from an historical and critical point of view. The philosophers we'll study investigate central questions concerning human conduct and character. This course explores some of the most important and influential ethical theories developed in the tradition of Western philosophy. We will carefully study a selection of canonical texts, including works by Plato, Aristotle, Hobbes, Kant, and Mill. We will consider issues arising from these texts which are relevant to both normative and meta-ethics. Although the course focuses on historical works and a comparison of the moral doctrines therein expressed, we will undertake this study with an eye to their recurrent influence within contemporary moral philosophy. We will consider the following questions:
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a) What is "ethics"? Is there a difference between "ethics" and "morality"? b) What do we mean by the terms `good', ‘valued’ or ‘pious’ or ‘holy’? Is something good because it is desirable or desirable because it is good? c) What relation, if any, is there between morality and various accounts of "human nature"? e) Is there something which is the good for human beings? How does the good relate to happiness or eudaimonia? f) How, if at all, is happiness related to virtue or duty? Is there one ultimate, over-riding duty/virtue or is there a plurality? g) Should morality be derived from, or depend on metaphysical commitments? h) Is morality nothing more than a social construct? i) Is morality compatible with or contrary to self-interest?
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