Table of Contents
1. WHAT IS ETHICS?
Ethics and its subdivisions. Morality as compared with other normative subjects. Traits of moral principles. Domains of ethical assessment. Conclusion.
2. ETHICAL RELATIVISM.
Subjective ethical relativism. Conventional ethical relativism. Criticisms of conventional ethical relativism. Conclusion.
3. MORAL OBJECTIVISM.
Aquinas’ objectivism and absolutism. Moderate objectivism. Ethical situationalism. Conclusion.
4. VALUE AND THE QUEST FOR THE GOOD.
Intrinsic and instrumental value. The value of pleasure. Are values objective or subjective? The relation of value to morality. The good life.
5. SOCIAL CONTRACT THEORY AND THE MOTIVE TO BE MORAL.
Why does society need moral rules? Why should I be moral? Morality, self-interest and game theory. The motive to always be moral. Conclusion.
6. EGOISM, SELF-INTEREST, AND ALTRUISM.
Psychological egoism. Ethical egoism. Arguments against ethical egoism. Evolution and altruism. Conclusion.
Classic utilitarianism. Act and rule-utilitarianism. Criticism of utilitarianism. Criticism of the ends justifying immoral means. Conclusion.
8. KANT AND DEONTOLOGICAL THEORIES.
Kant’s influences. The categorical imperative. Counterexamples to the principle of the law of nature. Other formulations of the categorical imperative. The problem of exceptionless rules. The problem of posterity. Conclusion: a reconciliation project.
9. VIRTUE THEORY.
The nature of virtue ethics. Criticisms of action-based ethics. Connections between virtue-based and action-based ethics. Feminism and the ethics of care. Conclusion.
10. GENDER AND ETHICS.
Classic Views. Female Care Ethics. Four Options regarding Gender and Ethics. Conclusion.
11. RELIGION AND ETHICS.
Does morality depend on religion? Is religion irrelevant or even contrary to morality? Does religion enhance the moral life? Conclusion.
12. THE FACT-VALUE PROBLEM.
Hume and Moore: the problem classically stated. Ayer and emotivism. Hare and prescriptivism. Naturalism and the fact-value problem. Conclusion.
13. MORAL REALISM AND THE CHALLENGE OF SKEPTICISM.
Mackie’s moral skepticism. Harman’s moral nihilism. A defense of moral realism. Conclusion.
Appendix: How to Read and Write a Philosophy Paper.