Loyola University Chicago

Department of Philosophy

PHIL 181: Ethics

PHIL 181: Ethics

The Generic Catalog Description

The course examines norms for human action: their nature, possibility; and foundations; alternative theories of morality and value; the role of values and norms in the process of making moral decisions and their application in practice.

PHIL 181: Ethics

Stacy Bautista

Our aim in this class will be to explore the conditions that make possible or impossible ethical relationships.
We will examine the works of several thinkers during the course of this class, each of whom understands the conditions of ethical relationality differently. We will reflect critically on their work and the way in which the thinkers attempt to persuade us of their positions.

This class fulfills the Philosophical Knowledge Core requirement through the readings assigned, which cover a range of philosophical thought, from Platonic thought to Marxist thought, to phenomenological thought, among others. The methodologies, structures, and presuppositions of these thinkers will be examined as part of the course.

Typical Readings:
Kant, Immanuel, Groundwork of the Metaphysic of Morals
Levinas, Emmanuel, Totality and Infinity and Ethics and Infinity
Plato, Symposium
Scarry, Elaine, The Body in Pain: The Making and Unmaking of the World
Weil, Simone, Iliad or the Poem of Force

PHIL 181: Ethics

LaChanda Davis

This class is an introduction to three standard ethical theories: virtue ethics, deontology, and utilitarianism.  We will also consider the ethical implications of specific current issues such as gender and poverty, Native American land rights, and environmental issues.

PHIL 181: Ethics

Virginia de Oliveira-Alves

This course is a general introduction to ethics, also called moral philosophy, the area of philosophy that examines ethical norms of conduct (standards of right and wrong action). Students are introduced to the major moral/ethical theories, and given the opportunity to apply these theories or, specifically, the ethical standards presented in these theories, to practical issues or ethical questions arising in everyday life, big questions such as euthanasia, torture, and the death penalty, as well as questions arising in social interactions. Students will have the opportunity to evaluate the ethical theories assigned, applying criteria for choosing between conflicting theories and for justifying moral judgment.  The evaluation of theories will include the examination of questions about the nature of morality, chief among these, whether there is objective truth in ethics or whether morality is subjective or relative to culture. Students will also investigate these issues through the examination of concrete examples and illustrations of social situations.

The objectives of this course: To acquire a general knowledge of the major ethical theories and the major questions addressed in the field of ethics; to be able to apply moral theories to practical issues and assess these theories critically; to develop critical skills for the examination of moral problems, including the ability to recognize the need for ethical judgment and to distinguish alternative courses of action; to be able to formulate and defend an ethical judgment.

PHIL 181: Ethics

Vincent Samar

Ethics is the branch of philosophy concerned with meaning, value, and moral responsibility in human life. Students will examine at least four conflicting theories about what constitutes moral conduct and social justice.  Students will also learn to ask various metaethical questions including: are there moral facts, how is moral judgment possible, are there any human rights, if there are such rights, what is their scope and contents? Students will also be taught to engage the various normative theories to aid them in solving individual moral dilemmas, and they will also consider possible criticisms of these theories when applied to contemporary social issues such as women’s rights, animal rights, government or individual responses to terrorist-like threats, and gay and lesbian marriage.

Learning Objectives:
1.  Students will develop and understanding of at least four fundamentally different ethical theories and the problems that these theories address.
2.  Students will develop their critical thinking skills.  They will examine criticisms of all the ethical theories they study and will debate the alternative solutions offered by these theories to enduring moral questions.
3. Students will learn to apply ethical theories to concrete situations on the personal level, on the national level, and on the global level.
4. Students will adopt positions on contemporary social issues and use the ethical theory with which they agree to defend their positions.

PHIL 181: Ethics

Jacqueline Scott

This course is a general introduction to ethics or moral philosophy by way of a comparison of two traditions: western and ancient Chinese. The course examines both ethical norms for conduct (e.g., theories of right and wrong action, theories of justice, and theories of human rights) and ethical norms for judging the goodness or badness of persons and their lives as they have arisen in three general approaches within the two traditions: idealist, realist, and immoralist. The course examines alternative theories of value and morality. Special attention will be given to criteria for choosing between conflicting ethical theories, moral disagreement, the justification of moral judgments, and the application of ethical standards to practical decision-making and ethical questions that arise in everyday life.

PHIL 181: Ethics

David Yandell

This is an introductory course in ethical theory, the philosophical study of morality. As both a philosophy class and a core class, it is designed to serve several purposes. The class has four main sets of objectives: to introduce students to the study of philosophy and the methods used by philosophers; to introduce, and lead students to reflect seriously on, several important philosophical issues about morality; to provide students with an opportunity to understand, compare, and evaluate several competing views about morality (including their own); and to provide students with an opportunity to develop their skills at understanding texts, interpreting arguments, and critically evaluating arguments and positions.

All of these objectives will be pursued by means of the study of philosophical texts. These texts both teach what various theories about morality assert and (frequently) offer critical evaluation of competing views. This is typical of philosophy. Learning philosophy includes essentially not only learning what others take to be true but also considering what reasons favor and/or oppose each of the competing positions. This also requires critical examination of one’s own philosophical beliefs. The Professor will critically discuss these texts as we are studying them, and students will also engage in critical evaluation of the positions taken in these texts and the reasons given in support of them.

PHIL 181: Ethics

Asaf Bar-Tura

This class will aim to explore some of the basic questions for human beings: What should I do? How ought I live? What do we owe one another, if anything? We will explore the works of several thinkers who present different philosophical answers to these questions. We will also examine what philosophically justified positions can be presented regarding contemporary questions, such as domestic and global poverty, abortions and technology. In the end, the goal is for students to be better equipped in critically examining their own positions and in reflecting on how they ought to live.