10122 Problems in Moral Philosophy

Credits: 6 introductory credits in Philosophy

Prerequisites: none

Author: Elazar Weinryb. The materials include Utilitarianism, by J. S. Mill; Plato’s Crito; Kant’s The Groundwork of Metaphysics of Morals; and videocassettes of filmed discussions of ethical issues by Israeli philosophers.

The course raises fundamental moral questions – some from daily life – and presents the most important moral theories put forth throughout history, examining their strengths and weaknesses. The course discusses the theories of Socrates, Plato and Aristotle, Hobbes and Locke, Kant and Mill, Moore and Stevenson, Rawls and Nozick, and others. It deals with basic concepts and approaches employed in moral philosophy, and shows how to apply them to actual moral problems. Each part of the course raises a fundamental question or questions in moral philosophy and surveys characteristic solutions offered throughout the history of philosophy.

Topics: What is a moral problem? (on Socrates and Hume); Egotism (on Hobbes); Which things have value? (on Aristotle and Mill); Contemporary utilitarianism; Duties (on Kant); Rights (on Locke and Mill); Justice (on Rawls and Nozick); Responsibility; Questions of conscience; Nihilism (on Nietzsche); Knowledge of good and bad (on meta-ethics).