Eastern Michigan University
PHIL 220- Ethics
Prof. J. Michael Scoville
This course is an introduction to basic ethical theories and perspectives in the Western philosophical tradition. We will explore general questions, such as: What makes someone's life go well? What has value, and why? What makes an action right or wrong? Who or what should be included in the moral community (e.g., all persons? fetuses? animals? nature?)? We will also consider different philosophical views on specific ethical issues (e.g., economic justice, consumption and the good life, abortion, eating/using animals, and the treatment of nature).
Successful students in this class will learn to view ethical questions and issues from multiple perspectives. Our approach to texts and ideas will be critical, but also open-minded and exploratory. In part, this means becoming able to identify and appreciate the reasons and considerations that support a given view or position. It also means understanding possible objections to a given view or position. Beyond these basic goals, this course aims to provide students with an opportunity to develop, question, and refine their own views on some challenging and interesting topics.
This course fulfills the General Education requirement for Area IV: Knowledge of the Disciplines in the Humanities.