Syllabus for Traditions and Cultures 104: Justice and Virtue
Social Science 220a
: MW 11-12
Teaching Assistants (phone: 621-7098; office, Social Science 130 or 138)
Adam Arico (Sections 12, 13, 14):
Piper Bringhurst (Sections 15, 16, 17):
Eyal Tal (Sections 18, 19, 20):
Elizabeth Phillips (Sections 21, 22, 23):
Goal of the Course
The goal of the course is to introduce you to some central questions of moral philosophy through
the work of four of the most important thinkers in the western tradition.
These questions include
What is the basis of our moral judgments and attitudes?
What makes (morally)
right actions right, and (morally) wrong actions wrong?
What sort of person is it best to be?
What is valuable in life?
What reason, if any, do we have to do the (morally) right thing?
discussing these questions, attention will be given to clarification of concepts, rigorous
argument, and the evaluation of arguments – all with the aim of helping you learn to think
philosophically about difficult moral questions.
The works we will be reading in this course – by
Plato, Aristotle, Kant, and Mill – all have had a great impact on moral thought in the western
As a result, many of the ideas you encounter in these works are likely to be familiar to
And studying these works is an ideal way of deepening your own thinking about moral
I urge you to seize this opportunity to do so.
Code of Conduct
Students are expected to behave appropriately, and to treat others with respect.
While in class,
turn off your cell phone and refrain from eating, reading the newspaper, and disruptive
Arrive on time, and remain until the end of class.
Students are also advised that
university policy prohibits threats of physical harm to any member of the university community.
Any threatening behavior will be reported and disciplined, in accordance with ABOR Policy 5-
308 (posted on the Dean of Student’s webpage).
Course Requirements and Grading
There will be a reading assignment for each lecture, accompanied with study questions. I expect
you to attend every lecture having already read the assignment guided by the study questions