Ethics (PHIL*2120) | College of Arts

Ethics (PHIL*2120)

Code and section: PHIL*2120*01

Term: Winter 2020

Instructor: John Hacker-Wright


This course will introduce you to the field of moral philosophy with an experiential learning component. Moral philosophy is generally divided into three subfields: metaethics, normative ethics, and applied ethics. We will address issues in each of these areas. Specifically, we will address the following questions in each area.

In metaethics: What is morality? How is it similar to or distinct from other subject matters such as science, art, and religion? Is morality something that is the same for all? Does it vary from culture to culture or from person to person? Can moral questions be resolved using reason? Or are our answers to these questions a matter of personal preference?

In normative ethics: What principle or principles best capture the basis for reasoned judgments about right and wrong? Should we always be attempting to increase the total happiness or well-being of people, or are there other important concerns that should guide our moral judgments, such as respecting individual rights and acting virtuously?

In applied ethics we will address a contemporary topic that takes up different normative perspectives and addresses specific problems that arise from the particulars of that topic. This semester we will address the topic of surveillance technology and privacy. Students will prepare opinion pieces for The Ontarion based on their research in this area.


Course Outline