AP/PHIL2070 3.0 A: Introduction to Ethics

Offered by: PHIL


Fall 2019






Calendar Description / Prerequisite / Co-Requisite

A basic introduction both to the major ethical theories in Western thought and to some basic metaethical questions concerning the possibility of moral truth. Course credit exclusion: AP/MODR 1760 6.00.

Course Website

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    Additional Course Instructor/Contact Details

Devlin Russell


Office Location:  S424 Ross Building

Phone Number:  (416) 736-2100 Ext. 77584

Office Hours:  Monday & Wednesday 12:00 – 2:00 & Tuesday 1:00 – 2:00

    Expanded Course Description

How do we live more ethical lives? This course will use philosophical theory to help us answer this question. First, we will look at how ethical reasoning works and try to find the best ethical principles to reason from. We will then consider whether this is all just ‘subjective’ or whether there is a more plausible objective basis for ethics. And finally we will apply our results to some pressing ethical problems. In short, we will ask ‘what is ethics, where does it come from, and how can it practically guide us?’.

    Required Course Text / Readings

Shafer-Landau, R. The Ethical Life: Fundamental Readings in Ethics and Moral Problems, 4th Edition

    Weighting of Course

Peer-reviewed Writing Assignments        10%

Pro/Con (600 words)           15%

Applied Essay (1200 words)           18%

Theory Essay (1200 words)            22%

Final Exam    25%

Participation Ongoing        10%

    Organization of the Course

Lecture & Tutorials

    Course Learning Objectives

Students will be challenged to seriously consider which answers to these questions are the most rationally persuasive.  This will involve learning and employing the fundamental tools of philosophy—namely, thoughtful and attentive reading, critical analysis and thinking, and precise and clear writing.  Students will be expected to have a good grasp of the positions and arguments for them, and be able to employ the above tools in demonstrating that grasp.

    Relevant Links / Resources