PHIL 236 Contemporary Ethical Theory (W)

Last offered Fall 2013

Is sacrificing an individual's welfare for the sake of the community ever justified, or does each individual have an inviolable status that must be respected? Should moral considerations always take priority over personal projects and intimate relationships, or are there some spheres in which we should be free to pursue our goals without concern for morality? We will explore these and related questions by systematically comparing the two dominant ethical theories of the 20th century, consequentialism and deontology. While both find their roots in earlier thinkers -- consequentialism in Mill and Sidgwick, deontology in Kant -- our focus will be on contemporary developments of these views. We'll conclude by examining contractualism, which attempts to transcend the divide between consequentialist and deontological views. Readings include works by Bentham, Mill, Nozick, Railton, Brink, Williams, Wolf, Taurek, Rawls, Smart, Scheffler, Nagel, Kant, Kamm, Quinn, Kagan, Ross, and Scanlon.
Class Format: seminar
Requirements/Evaluation: short response papers; an 8- to 10-page midterm paper; a 10- to 12-page final paper
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Prerequisites: at least one PHIL course or permission of the instructor
Enrollment Preference: Philosophy majors
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Divisional Attributes: Division II, Writing Intensive
Other Attributes: ENVP SC-B Group Electives,JLST Theories of Justice/Law,PHIL Contemporary Value Theory Courses
Enrollment Limit: 19
Expected Enrollment: 10-15
Class Number: 1397
CLASSES ATTR INSTRUCTORS TIMES CLASS NUMBER
PHIL 236 SEM Contemporary Ethical Theory (W) Division 2: Social StudiesWriting Intensive Melissa J. Barry
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