Papers in Progress

lady-liberty-scales-of-justice-h-1000I taught this course at Monash University in 2014 in both live and online formats. It functions as a 2nd/3rd course that focuses on major issues in normative ethics and meta-ethics. In addition to the primary readings listed below, there was a parallel unit reader that provided students with highly accessible introductions to these readings. There were several short writing assignments, one major writing assignment, and a final exam. The student reviews for this course have been included in my teaching materials.

Week 1 Introduction

  1. Unit Study Guide, Chapter 1.
  2. Plato (ca. 380 BCE/1997) ‘Euthyphro’ (excerpt) in Plato: Complete Works, J. M. Cooper & D. S. Hutchinson (eds.), Hackett.
  3. Singer, Peter (1999) ‘The Singer Solution to World Poverty’ The New York Times Magazine.
  4. Quinn, Philip (2006). ‘Theological Voluntarism’ in The Oxford Handbook of Ethical Theory, pp.63-90.

Week 2 Egoism: An Initial Challenge for Morality

  1. Unit Study Guide, Chapter 2.
  2. Butler, Joseph (1726/1991) ‘Sermon XI: Upon the Love of Our Neighbor’ from Fifteen Sermons Preached at the Rolls Chapel. Reprinted in part in D. D. Raphael ed. British Moralists (1991), Vol. I, pp. 325–377.
  3. Sober, Elliott & Wilson, D. S. (1998), ‘Philosophical Arguments [concerning Egoism]’, excerpt from Unto Others, Harvard University Press.

Week 3 Moral Realism: Judgment & Objectivity

  1. Unit Study Guide, Chapter 3.
  2. Ayer, A. J. (1936/1952) ‘Critique of Ethics and Theology’ excerpt from Language, Truth, and Logic, 2nd edition, Dover.
  3. Shafer-Landau, Russ (2010) ‘Ethical Relativism’ Ch. 19 of The Fundamentals of Ethics, Oxford, Oxford University Press.

Week 4 Moral Motivation: A Problem for Realism?

  1. Unit Study Guide, Chapter 4.
  2. Hume, David (1739/2006), ‘Of the Influencing Motives of the Will’, Section 2.3.3 of A Treatise of Human Nature, in Geoffrey Sayre-McCord (ed.), David Hume: Moral Philosophy, Hackett, pp. 60-64.
  3. Hume, David (1740/2006), ‘Moral distinctions not deriv’d from reason’ paragraphs 1-16 of Section 3.1.1 of A Treatise of Human Nature, in Geoffrey Sayre-McCord (ed.), David Hume: Moral Philosophy, Hackett, pp. 67-72.
  4. Smith, Michael (1993/1994) ‘Realism’ in Peter Singer (ed.), 1993, A Companion to Ethics, Oxford, Blackwell Publishing, pp. 170-6.

Week 5 Sentimentalism: Reason vs. Passion

  1. Unit Study Guide, Chapter 5.
  2. Hume, David, (1740/2006) ‘Moral distinctions not deriv’d from reason’ paragraphs 17-26 of Section 3.1.1 of A Treatise of Human Nature, in Geoffrey Sayre-McCord (ed.), David Hume: Moral Philosophy, Hackett, pp. 72-77.
  3. Hume, David (1740/2006) ‘Of the origin of the natural virtues and vices’, Section 3.3.1 of A Treatise of Human Nature, in Geoffrey Sayre-McCord (ed.), David Hume: Moral Philosophy, Hackett, pp. 151-163.
  4. Prinz, Jesse (2006) ‘The Emotional Basis of Moral Judgments’ Philosophical Explorations 9, No. 1, pp. 29-43.

Week 6 Consequentialism: Variations and Attractions

  1. Unit Study Guide, Chapter 6.
  2. Pettit, Philip (1993) ‘Consequentialism’ in Peter Singer (ed.), 1993, A Companion to Ethics, Oxford, Blackwell Publishing, pp. 230-40.
  3. Smart, J. J. C. (1973/2007) ‘An Outline of a System of Utilitarian Ethics’ in Smart & Williams, Utilitarianism: For and Against, Cambridge University Press, pp. 62-4.

Week 7 Consequentialism: Objections

  1. Unit Study Guide, Chapter 7.
  2. Williams, Bernard (1973) ‘A Critique of Utilitarianism’ in Smart & Williams, Utilitarianism: For and Against, Cambridge University Press, pp. 96-100, 110-117.
  3. Brink, David O. (1986) ‘Utilitarian Morality and the Personal Point of View’ (excerpt) Journal of Philosophy 83, No. 8, pp. 430-438.

Week 8 Rationalism: Deontological Foundations

  1. Unit Study Guide, Chapter 8.
  2. Kant, Immanuel (1785/1994) ‘Section I’, excerpt from Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals, in Peter Singer (ed.), Ethics, Oxford, Oxford University Press, pp. 123-9.
  3. Korsgaard, Christine (1997/2008) ‘From Duty and for the Sake of the Noble’ (excerpt) from her The Constitution of Agency, Oxford University Press, pp. 174-187.
  4. Bennett, Jonathan (1974) ‘The Conscience of Huckleberry Finn’, Philosophy 49, pp. 123-134.

Week 9 Deontology: Kant & Contractualism

  1. Unit Study Guide, Chapter 9.
  2. Kant, I., (1785a/1994), ‘Section II’, excerpts from the Groundwork, in Peter Singer (ed.), 1994, Ethics, Oxford, Oxford University Press, pp. 274-9.
  3. Kant, I., (1785b/1994), ‘On a Supposed Right to Lie for Altruistic Motives’ in Peter Singer (ed.), 1994, Ethics, Oxford, Oxford University Press, pp. 280-1.
  4. Scanlon, T. M. (1982/2003) ‘Contractualism and Utilitarianism’, reprinted in his The Difficulty of Tolerance: Essays in Political Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, pp. 124-150. (Originally published 1982 in Utilitarianism and Beyond.)

Week 10 Must Morality Be So Impersonal?

  1. Unit Study Guide, Chapter 10.
  2. Stocker, Michael (1976) ‘The Schizophrenia of Modern Ethical Theories’, Journal of Philosophy, 73(14), pp. 453-66.
  3. Wolf, Susan (1982/1994) ‘Moral Saints’ in Peter Singer (ed.) Ethics, Oxford, Oxford University Press, Item 86, pp. 345-361.

Week 11 Virtue Ethics: A Third Way?

  1. Unit Study Guide, Chapter 11.
  2. Annas, Julia (2006) ‘Virtue Ethics’ in David Copp (ed.), 2006, The Oxford Handbook of Ethical Theory, Oxford University Press, pp. 515-536.
  3. Hursthouse, Rosalind (1999) ‘Right Action’ Ch. 1 of On Virtue Ethics, Oxford, Oxford University Press, pp. 25-39.

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