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Philosophical Ethics (Fall 2017)


INSTRUCTOR: Dr Bradley Rettler


OFFICE HOURS: Monday 1-2, Tuesday 2-4, and by appointment

OFFICE: Collins B25

MAILBOX: Collins 101


Course Website:




Schedule and Readings (readings are to be done by the day they are listed)


Aug 31: Introduction, Euthyphro, especially pp 6ff

Sept 4: NO CLASS (Labor Day)



Sept 7: Divine Command Theory, "Good Minus God" by Louise Antony

Sept 11: Relativism, "Why our Children Don't Think There are Moral Facts" by Justin McBrayer

Sept 14: Meta-ethics, concluded


Sept 18: Utilitarianism, Book 1 (Sample Critical Paper)

Sept 21: Utilitarianism, Book 2

Sept 25: Utilitarianism, Book 3

Sept 28: Utilitarianism, Book 4

Oct 2: Utilitarianism, Book 5

Oct 5: Bernard Williams, "A Critique of Utilitarianism", especially sections 2-5, most especially section 3

Oct 9: NO CLASS (Columbus Day)

Oct 12: Utilitarianism, Concluded

Example Critical Paper 1

Example Critical Paper 2

Example Critical Paper 3



Oct 16: Groundwork, Preface and Book 1

Oct 19: Groundwork, Book 1 Continued

Oct 23: Groundwork, Book 2

Oct 26: Groundwork, Book 2 Continued

Virtue Ethics

Oct 30: Nicomachean Ethics, Book I

Nov 2: Nicomachean Ethics, Book II

Nov 6: Nicomachean Ethics, Book III

Nov 9: Nicomachean Ethics, Book V

Nov 13: Nicomachean Ethics, Book VII

Nov 16: Nicomachean Ethics, Book X

Nov 20: Nicomachean Ethics, Concluded
 Nov 23: NO CLASS (Thanksgiving)


Final Paper Guidelines

Applied Ethics

Nov 27: Thomson, "Killing, Letting Die, and the Trolley Problem"

Nov 30: Thomson, "A Defense of Abortion"

Dec 4: Marquis, "Why Abortion is Immoral"

Dec 7: Singer, "Famine, Affluence, and Morality"


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