Syllabus - PHIL 6410 Spring 09 Meta-principles in Moral...

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PHIL 6410 Spring 09 Meta-principles in Moral Philosophy Professor: Erin Taylor Contact: 221 Goldwin Smith Hall Email: et255@cornell.edu Phone: (607) 255-6824 Office hours: Fridays 11-1 Coursework: Class presentation 10%, Presentation paper 30%, Term paper 60% due 5/15. Make an appointment with me to discuss your term paper by 4/24. Course description: This course investigates some topics in meta-ethics that would still be left over even if we miraculously found that we were no longer exercised by the metaphysical status of morality and moral claims. Since the term “meta-ethics” typically refers to those debates, I’m describing this as a course in “meta-principles” instead. Assuming moral claims can be true, there are nevertheless questions about how moral theories and/or moral claims ought to be constrained. This course investigates two broad categories of such putative constraints. First, we might think that the construction of moral theories and the moral claims they generate should be responsive to the general point or purpose of moral theory. We might think, for example, that moral theories should be able meaningfully to provide us with guidance about what to do or specify the circumstances in which we are properly held accountable by others. The principle “ought-implies-can” is a constraint on moral claims that serves this purpose. We’ll investigate the role this principle plays in mounting effective criticism of candidate moral theories and the moral claims they generate, as well as criticisms mounted against the
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Syllabus - PHIL 6410 Spring 09 Meta-principles in Moral...

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