“Ethical Issues” provides an accessible and comprehensive introduction to the philosophical significance of the most pressing moral problems of today, e.g. euthanasia, world poverty, and the moral status of animals and the environment; as well as a guide to the rival theoretical approaches used to reflect upon these issues: consequentialism, Kantian ethics, virtue theories, and moral scepticism. The course will also address some meta-ethical questions concerning the metaphysical and epistemological status of moral claims and judgements (are there moral facts? Is ethical knowledge obtainable?)
What should we believe? How should we think? This module provides an introduction to informal modes of reasoning and to philosophical ideas about the differences between good and bad arguments. We will discuss induction and deduction, justification and knowledge, and will study elementary features of logic. The module is an essential foundation for further study in philosophy, and teaches critical and analytic skills central to many other disciplines.
What am I, and what is reality? Am I part of the scientific, law-governed material world? If so, can I really act freely? How could a material thing be conscious? Am I the same person I was ten years ago? What, fundamentally, are material things and their properties? Can we understand the nature of space and time? Is the human mind capable of proving that God exists? This module will enable students to understand and begin to answer such fundamental metaphysical questions, and to gain valuable skills in reasoning and abstract thought.
For the purposes of this course, ‘modern philosophy’ means philosophy written in Europe from Descartes in the mid-17th century to Kant at the end of the 18th century. This was an extraordinary period in the history of western thought, when a variety of brilliant thinkers devoted themselves to working out the philosophical implications of the ‘new science’. This generated questions about the extent of human knowledge, about what can be known with certainty, about perception, and about how we acquire knowledge through the senses. There was also renewed interest in morality, its foundation, and its relation to human nature. This course will critically examine the arguments of major philosophers of the modern period, including Descartes, Locke, Berkeley, Hume, and Kant.