Introduction to Ethics* [CRN 83347]

Discipline: Philosophy and Religious Studies
Instructor: Shockley
Credits: 3
Day: B
Start: 1110
End: 1230
Field Work: Day 5 | November 1, 2019 | Ghana
Prerequisites: Students must be of sophomore standing or higher Download Syllabus

This course will introduce students to the main concepts and theories in philosophical ethics, and give experience in making and justifying ethical decisions. Over the course of the term, we will consider some of the basic questions of ethics: How can we tell right from wrong and good from bad? What is it to be a good person? What should we do when two or more of our ethical principles conflict?  Can moral claims be objectively true or false or is morality all just a matter of opinion?  We will look at how philosophers have answered these questions in the past and think about how their answers might be relevant to contemporary ethical dilemmas.

*Note: This class is delivered when lunch is served.

Field Work

Country: Ghana
Day: 5
Date: November 1, 2019

The focus of our Field Class will be on moral tragedy. We will visit Ghana’s Elmina Castle, an infamous icon of the Atlantic slave trade, and consider the central moral idea of human dignity through an exploration of the great moral tragedy of slavery. As we walk in the historical shadows of such extraordinary moral failure, we will explore different ways of conceptualizing that failure, reflect as a group on the moral tragedy of slavery, and consider what the legacy of slavery says about perceptions of human dignity.

Learning Objectives:
1. Understand various ethical theories through the lens of slavery
2. Frame alternative conceptions of human rights and human dignity
3. Distinguish various ethical theories by considering their framing of human dignity