Dr. O’s Lesson 1 Notes: Ethical Concepts, Principles and Theories
How many of you have not taken a Philosophy course before?
you might well ask, "What is Philosophy?”
I don’t think there is a single,
universally accepted definition of "philosophy", so my (brief) answer shows my
Philosophers have traditionally tried to CLARIFY and
explore certain basic issues, concepts, values, assumptions and beliefs, about
the soul (or mind), life and death, the meaning of life, and so on.
philosophers have also tried to evaluate, to critically assess, any and all claims
either in a specific area or regarding just about everything.
In this course, you
are expected to think for yourself!
You will be exposed to conflicting views on
just about every topic we look at, so you will not be able to agree with everyone
in the textbook!
You'll have to make up your own minds on all of the issues or
reserve judgment if that is your choice.
To return to the question “What is Philosophy?”, above all, it should make
For example, what does it mean to say that life is precious or valuable?
What does it really mean, what is it really, to be a person or for a person to be
Now, what about ethics itself?
What exactly is ethics?
Before we get to
the substantive issues in the course, I will say a few things about ethics in
It helps to have some background in ethical theory and I'll briefly
discuss a few of the most influential ethical theories in Philosophy.
however, that this is not a course on the theories of ethics; it is a course in