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ETHICSOC 257: Moral Theory and Current Debates

This course is an introduction to contemporary moral theory for students outside of fields (such as moral philosophy or political theory) that are structured around explicit normative debate. No prior knowledge of, or coursework in, philosophy or political theory is required. Its aim is to equip students with the knowledge and tools they need to engage with cutting-edge moral and political philosophy as well as related debates in the public sphere that arise across disciplines and in public life more broadly. For instance: What do people mean when they talk about 'algorithmic (in)justice' or 'intersectionality'? Would it be desirable to make politics more democratic (or less polarized) and, if so, how might that be possible? What is structural racism and what kinds of duties do governments and individuals have to help mitigate it? How might transwomen best be included in elite sport? The first half of the course will focus on normative concepts and first-order moral theories - utilitarianism, contractarianism, deontology, feminist care ethics, and virtue theory - and the second half will deploy these tools in service of understanding topics of pressing importance. Class contributions based on participants' specialized knowledge of their own disciplines are strongly encouraged. The course ultimately aims to equip you with theories, concepts, insights, and arguments that may help you engage with normative questions that arise in the course of your own research.
Terms: Win | Units: 1-3
Instructors: ; Hutton Ferris, D. (PI)
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