PHIL 202, Contemporary Ethics

A study of the philosophical background necessary to think about moral issues. After outlining the role Christian anthropology has played in the development of moral theories, the course will explore a variety of moral theories, such as utilitarianism and consequentialism. Debates concerning natural law theory will also be considered in light of many of the important moral issues of our day.

   • Understand what's meant by secularity & secularism; how Christian moral reflection is situated in relation to epistemological and moral relativism, and utilitarianism; and what's meant by natural law and the controversies surrounding it

   • Appreciate the importance of Christian anthropology, i.e. the nature and dignity of the human person as a key principle in moral thinking

   • Discuss, in an informed manner, many of the important moral issues confronting humanity today

Course Details: What are some of the “background languages” (Charles Taylor) to the various ways of understanding morality? What is moral thinking? What is the good life? What are the sources of moral thinking? Happiness vs. obligation as a basis for moral life; elements of morality. Intentions, freedom, habits, virtue: What are they and why are they important? What is Christian morality? What is the relationship between morality and religious belief? Between morality and truth? How can the desire for happiness be corrupted?

Image: A section of "The Wall" between Israel and Palestine.