PHIL 322 History of Ethics

Fall Semester 2012 | Evening | Vancouver


INSTRUCTOR: Dr. J. Johnson


This course will introduce students to some of the most influential ethical theories in the history of Western philosophy. We will examine a range of thinkers including Aristotle, Hume, Kant, Mill and Nietzsche. Some of the specific questions to be covered include: What makes an action right or wrong? To what extent, if any, do the consequences of an action determine its moral rightness? How, if at all, do the intentions of the agent affect the rightness of the action? What roles do reason and emotion play in moral judgment and motivation? Are there particular character traits or virtues that are a constituent part of leading a moral life? More generally, the aim of the course is to familiarize students with core debates in ethical theory and to help students think critically about moral claims. 


  • Classics of Moral and Political Theory (Fifth Edition). Edited, with Introductions, by Michael L. Morgan


  • 8 short writing assignments-10%
  • 1500-1750 word essay – 20%
  • 2000-2250 word essay-35%
  • Final exam-35%
  • All papers must be processed through

Prerequisite: One of PHIL 120, 150, 151, 220. This is an SFU NOW course.