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Sample Syllabus

Values 511: Ethics Matters: An Exploration of Some Moral Qualities

This course aims to introduce graduate and professional students from a wide range of backgrounds to some common moral questions and to provide a basic philosophical framework for thinking about related issues that arise within their own disciplines or fields. It is assumed that the perspectives brought from different fields will prove mutually illuminating for all, and that the experience provided by this course in discussing and analyzing the moral problems and questions that arise within their own areas of expertise with those who come to the table with different interests and expertise will make each better able to articulate her own questions and positions and to do so in a more nuanced, and morally satisfying, way.

Cheshire Calhoun (ed.), Setting the Moral Compass, Oxford University Press, 2004
Avishai Margalit, The Decent Society, Harvard University Press, 1996.
Sarah Lawrence-Lightfoot, Respect: An Exploration.   Perseus Books Group, 2000.

The other readings for the course are either available through electronic journals or will be provided in a course reader.

Students will be asked to bring to class a short (2-3 page) response to some issue raised by that week’s reading assignments seven times (of the student’s choosing) during the term. (25%)
Small groups (2-4 persons) will be asked to make a presentation to the class. (15%)
Each student will write a final paper and submit a draft of that paper for approval and comment three weeks prior to the end of the term. (60%)

Schedule of Readings and Topics

Week One: The Relationship Between Theory and Practice
Is there any point to thinking about moral issues? What is the point of thinking about morality? Is there such a thing as a moral expert?

Cheshire Calhoun, “Moral Failure.”   In On Feminist Ethics and Politics, edited by Claudia Card.   1999.
Karen Jones, “Second-Hand Moral...

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