Philosophy 314: Ethics

We will read three classic works in the history of modern moral philosophy. We will also read several essays that amplify and extend the issues raised in these books. The emphasis in the course will be on close reading and analysis of the text-and on thinking about the central questions in theoretical ethics. (Be forewarned: this is not a course in applied ethics.) These questions include: how, exactly, are we to understand morality? What are moral norms and what, if anything, is their ground or foundation? How are we to understand human nature? What is the relation between human nature, reason, and morality? How are we to determine the moral rightness of an action? By appeal to its consequences (for oneself or for others?)? By appeal to the agent's motive? Something else entirely?