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Ethics

Consider the following pithy statements from 17th century French philosopher, physicist, mathematician, and inventor Blaise Pascal (1623- 1662):

"If we examine our thoughts, we shall find them always occupied with the past and the future."                                       

"Man's greatness lies in the power of thought."

"Reason commands us far more imperiously than a master; for in disobeying the one we are unfortunate, and in disobeying the other we are fools."

"People almost invariably arrive at their beliefs not on the basis of proof but on the basis of what they find attractive."

"A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself from within." ~ Will Durant

~ Sunset at Big Bend National Park

 

Welcome to Ethics.  In this course you will be introduced to the moral philosophy of thinkers like Plato, Aristotle, Aquinas, Kant, Mills,  Simone de Beauvoir, Ayn Rand, Sir William David Ross, and Carol Gilligan  You will also be introduced to existentialism, American philosophy, Natural Law theory, virtue ethics, relativism, nihilism, gender ethics, intuitionism, and Ayn Rand's moral objectivism. You will be asked to consider, evaluate, and ponder certain revolutionary ideas, systems, and particular outlooks on life that have impacted thought and culture, personally and collectively. You will be asked to reflect upon your assumptions about morality through a combinationalism or multifaceted criteria including:


(1) Logical consistency

(2) Empirical adequacy

(3) Existential relevance

(4) Explanatory Power

(5) Workability

(6) Viability

(7) Consequences.

Consider the following:

"If justice perishes, then it is no longer worthwhile for men to live upon the earth." ~ Immanuel Kant

"Love is the expression of the one who loves, not of the one who is loved. Those who think they can love only the people they prefer do not love at all. Love discovers truths about individuals that others cannot see." ~ Søren Kierkegaard

 

Three Levels of Ethical Inquiry
 This handout is in PDF.
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