Course level: Undergraduate

Spring 2022
Syracuse University

Daily life confronts us with many situations when we need to make difficult decisions about how to act, or when we need to step back and evaluate our feelings about what we, or others, have done. In such moments, we ask ourselves questions such as: What is the morally right or wrong thing to do?  What would a virtuous person do?  What are my duties to others?  How should I feel in this situation?  In this class, we will discuss various different views on how to answer these questions.  For example, when we are trying to decide whether an action is right or wrong, should we consider the consequences of the action, or our duties to others, or whether we want to be the sort of person who would characteristically perform the action in question?  We will also discuss various different theories about what we are doing when we ask these sorts of questions.  When we say that an action is wrong, are we making an objective claim about which we can be mistaken, offering our own personal opinion, or expressing an emotional reaction?  By exposing ourselves to different ethical theories, thinkers, and concepts, our ultimate aim will be to challenge, defend, or gain clarity on our own ethical convictions, as well as those of others.