Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 2023

Course Description

Through reading, discussing, and writing about our assigned texts, I want to acquaint you with some of the most important discussions in ethics (aka moral philosophy), such as: What basis, if any, do ethical rules have? What is the point of being ethical? How should we tell right from wrong? You will learn about and critically evaluate some major schools of ethical thought, including consequentialist, deontological, and virtue ethics. By the end of the course you should have a critical appreciation for all of these and be able to employ these kinds of ethical reasoning. In writing and presentations, you will practice articulating and evaluating complex ideas. These skills in critical thinking and writing are valuable in any discipline.

Student Outcomes

To put the above another way, students will be able to: • Understand and summarize a range of philosophical texts in ethics. • Identify important thinkers in ethics and their views, and major schools of ethical thought: consequentialism, deontology, and virtue ethics. • Explain how those thinkers argue for their views. • Critically evaluate the arguments those thinkers and others (e.g., me, other students) give. • Demonstrate your grasp of the above in reading responses, papers, exams, discussion, and presentations. • Research a topic in ethics independently and effectively present what you learn to the class. Our work in this course furthers several of DePauw's learning goals (listed here under "The Purpose and Aims of DePauw"), specifically #2, 3, 5, 6, 8, 9, and especially 10. Also, I hope, #1.