Introduction to EthicsPHL 213W
Prerequisite: READING LEVEL 3 and WRITING LEVEL 3. Introduces historically important ethical issues, theories, concepts and philosophers. Teaches the basics of ethical decision-making and how to apply ethical concepts, theories and methods to their own personal ethical conflicts. Allows the opportunity to investigate, write about, and discuss controversial topics such as abortion, capital punishment, euthanasia, assisted suicide, social justice, affirmative action, sexuality, and environmental ethics. Emphasizes understanding and critically questioning the theories, positions and arguments made concerning the course topics, and reaching and defending their own conclusions on those topics. Credit may be earned in PHL 213 or PHL 213H but not in both. (45-0)
Outcomes and Objectives
Understand the nature of ethics.
- Define 'ethics' and explain their definition.
- Explain how ethics differs form other fields such as religion, mythology, literature, social science or physical science.
- Explain the limitations of ethics and its application to everyday problems.
Understand historically important ethical theories.
- Explain the elements of some important ethical theories or theorists in the history of philosophy, such as Kant, Mill, utilitarianism, Aristotle, or others.
- Distinguish the methods and justification of each of the theories studied.
- Explain the arguments for and against the ethical theories studied.
- Apply the methods of one or more of the theories to actual ethical issues and defend the conclusions reached using the theory.
Understand and apply the vocabulary and concepts of ethics, orally and in writing.
- Define ethical terms.
- Distinguish appropriate from inappropriate uses of the terms and concepts.
- Identify the cases to which the concepts apply and assess the extent to which they apply.
- Use the concepts and vocabulary appropriately in their own analyses and arguments.
Read and understand ethical texts.
- Read and understand articles written by philosophers and others that address ethical questions or issues.
- Assess the strengths and weaknesses of the article's arguments and conclusions.
- Compare and weigh writings that take different positions on the same issues in order to come to conclusions about the points in conflict.
Analyze ethical issues.
- Recognize the nature of ethical conflicts or issues so as to be able to indicate the main ethical problem presented.
- Explain how the analysis used the ethical theory and its principles in reaching the conclusion, orally and in writing.
Learn the pro and con arguments concerning main issues or cases studied.
- State, clarify and evaluate the main arguments on both sides of the issue studied.
- Assess the strengths and weaknesses of the arguments on both sides of the issues studied.
- Reach and defend a personal conclusion about the issue after weighing the arguments on both sides of the issues studied.
Develop the ability to defend a personal ethical analysis, orally and in writing.
- Formulate personal analyses and solutions to ethical questions or issues.
- Defend the solutions reached in their analyses using the principles and values appropriate to the theory they employed to analyze the issue.
- Anticipate objections to their solution and defense so as to offer reasonable replies to the objections.
- Explain the logical structure of their defenses, arguments and replies to objections.
- Identify sources of common errors in reasoning and explain how they affect ethical arguments and analyses.