PHI 130 (007 008) - Morality & Society - Fall 2013

What exactly is morality?  Is there such a thing as an objective right or wrong?  How is it possible to determine whether an action is (or should be) permissible, forbidden, or obligatory?  How can one determine the makeup of the moral community—i.e., who or what has rights or responsibilities?  Philosophers have long held disparate beliefs about the nature of value and its place in our lives, and their weighty opinions have helped shape the widespread assumptions accepted (or rejected) by individuals across cultures as well as subcultures.  Without the shared beliefs and practices of a community’s members, particularly those regarding notions of right and wrong behavior, the emergence of complex social and political structures would be unlikely, if not impossible.

In this course, we will examine some of the most prevalent ethical theories that have emerged in the West and explore the implications of adopting these theories in response to contemporary ethical issues.  By the end of the semester, students are expected not only to attain a practical understanding of moral philosophy as it has evolved in the West but also to critically evaluate and clarify their own positions on various ethical issues in a dialogue with the ethical frameworks encountered in the assigned material.







Below are some of the presentations given in class.  Students are encouraged to emulate or improve upon these examples for the presentations they have chosen.  Keep in mind, however, that these files do not adequately represent the presentations given since the in-class presentations were accompanied by lively discussions and critiques. . . .


What Is Morality? - James Rachels & Stuart Rachels

Does Morality Depend on Religion? - James Rachels & Stuart Rachels

The Challenge of Cultural Relativism - James Rachels & Stuart Rachels

Subjectivism in Ethics - James Rachels & Stuart Rachels

Ethical Egoism - James Rachels & Stuart Rachels

The Social Contract - Thomas Hobbes

Letter from a Birmingham Jail - Martin Luther King, Jr.

The Categorical Imperative - Immanuel Kant


[NOTE:  Concise PowerPoint presentations for the articles in Exploring Ethics can be found here on the text's companion website.]





Enter your linkblue username.
Enter your linkblue password.
Secure Login

This login is SSL protected