FALL 2020 - HUMA 125

Many people want to do the right thing, but it's not always clear what that is. As individuals and as a society, we face complicated ethical dilemmas with limited knowledge.

The long history of philosophical ethics provides different theories of the nature and content of ethical rules and their binding force -- as well as voices of skepticism about whether there are answers to ethical questions at all. In Part 1 of the course, students will study classic works in philosophical ethics -- and contemporary responses to them. Guest lecturers will shed light on historical circumstances that influenced their formation and on cross-cultural comparisons. In Part 2, students will examine in depth two topics in practical ethics: the treatment of animals and reparations for slavery.

The course is not intended to instill a particular set of ethical beliefs. The goal is to introduce students to philosophical tools developed to think through ethical problems. Students can use these tools in confronting urgent and complex questions in practical ethics, with awareness of their own historical and cultural location.

Elizabeth Brake
Professor, Department of Philosophy

  • Open to all Rice undergraduate students
  • Distribution one (1) credit
  • Three (3) credit hours