Philosophy 530 Fall 1997 TR 3:30-4:45pm


Ethical Theory


Dr Christian Perring Office: 1601 POT Phone: 7-7171
Office Hours: TR 11am - 12pm, or by appointment
E-mail: cperring@ukcc.uky.edu URL: http://www,uky.edu/~cperring/PHI530.html

This course is about the nature of morality and how we know what is right.  Although the primary question to be answered is "how should I live?," much of the discussion will occur at the meta-level, trying to sort out what is involved in answering that question.  In order to ground the discussion, we will start off by reading Norman Care's recent book, Living With One's Past, which is a discussion of real moral issues that face ordinary people, with a special focus on the ethical implications of being a recovering alcoholic.  We will move on to a discussion of human nature and natural moral feelings, with James Wilson's The Moral Sense.  A quick study of Hume and Kant's moral theories will prepare us for the contemporary metaethical debate.  For approximately the second half of the semester, we will look at recent ethical theory, and some of the debates that preoccupy moral philosopers today: moral realism and anti-realism, McDowell's moral sense theory, and Rawls' and Habermas' constructivist theories.  The written requirements for this course are quite light, but students will need to immerse themselves in the readings and should be prepared to work hard at understanding them. 


Books.



Work.
Attendance is required. Worth 10%: You lose 1% of your course grade for each class you miss without excuse.  Class Participation: Worth 10%.  4 five-page papers, each worth 20%. 

Grading Scale.  We will not use the +/- system for this course.
90 - 100 = A 80 - 89 = B 70 - 79 = C 60 - 69 =D Below 60 = E

Schedule.
August 28 R - INTRODUCTION.  I will want a page of information, with the name you want to be called in class, last 4 digits of your SS#, your phone number, e-mail address, major, and a list of philosophy or other relevant classes taken.  I also want a description of yourself and explanation of your interest in the nature of morality, mentioning any particular issues you would like to learn more about Ñ a few sentences for each.


September 2 T - DEALING WITH ONE'S OWN IMPERFECT LIFE
 Reading: NC: Ch. 1
4 R -  Reading: NC: Ch. 2
9 T -  Reading: NC: Ch. 3
11 R -  Reading: NC: Ch. 4
16 T -  Reading: NC: Ch. 5


18 R - HUMAN NATURE AND MORAL SENSE
 Reading: JW: Part One
23 T -  Reading: JW: Part Two (First paper due)


25 R - HUME
 Reading: Hume
30 T -  Reading: Hume


October 2 R - KANT
 Reading: Kant
7 T - Reading: Kant


9 R - REASONS, MOTIVES, AND THE DEMANDS OF MORALITY
 Reading: MDP: 19. From The Possibility of Altruism, Thomas Nagel
14 T - Reading: MDP: 21. Internal and External Reasons, Bernard Williams
16 R -  Reading: MDP: 22. Skepticism About Practical Reason, Christine Korsgaard
21 T -  Reading: MDP: 23. The Sources of Normativity, Christine Korsgaard (Second paper due)


23 R - PROBLEMS
 Reading: MDP: 2. From Principia Ethica, G. E. Moore
28 T -  Reading: MDP: 6. From Ethics: Inventing Right and Wrong, J. L. Mackie


30 R - METAETHICS: REALISM
 Reading: MDP: 7. How to be a Moral Realist, Richard Boyd
November 4 T -  Reading: MDP: 8. Moral Realism, Peter Railton


6 R - METAETHICS: ANTIREALISM
 Reading: MDP: 9. How to Be an Ethical Anti-Realist, Simon Blackburn
11 T -  Reading: MDP: 10. Wise Choices, Apt Feelings, Allan Gibbard


13 R -  SENSIBILITY THEORIES
 Reading: MDP: 11. Value and Secondary Qualities, John McDowell
18 T -  Reading: MDP: 12. Projection and Truth in Ethics, John McDowell (Third paper due)


20 R - CONSTRUCTIVISM
 Reading: MDP: 14. Kantian Constructivism in Moral Theory, John Rawls
25 T -  [buffer zone]
December 2 T - Reading: MDP: 15. Contractualism and Utilitarianism, T. M. Scanlon
4 R -  Reading: MDP: 16. Discourse Ethics: Notes on a Program of Philosophical Justification, Jurgen Habermas
9 T -  [buffer zone]
15 M - (Fourth paper due)


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