T C PHL610 • Problems of Knowledge and Valuation
|41885 to 41900||Multiple Sections||
First semester: Moral theories and problems. The aim of this semester is to consider some classical philosophical theories of morals (including those propounded by David Hume (f. 1750), Immanuel Kant (f. 1780), and John Stuart Mill (f. 1860), and apply them to some current moral problems (for example, capital punishment, torture, animal rights). We will try to improve our views on these problems and consider how theory and practice can interact constructively. Course materials and work will be channelled through Blackboard.
About the Professor Mark Sainsbury taught at the University of Essex, Bedford College London, and King's College London before coming to the University of Texas at Austin in 2002. He has written five books (Russell, Paradoxes, Logical Forms, Departing from Frege and Reference without Referents).
There will be eight 15 minute in-class tests. Apart from the first of these (which will take place in the fourth class) the timing of these tests will not be announced in advance. Each test generates 5% of the total marks. Three short essays, maximum 1000 words each (10% each) and a term paper, maximum 4000 words (30%) are also required. Deadlines for these assessed pieces of written work will be announced on the first day of classes.
The main text will be Steven Cahn and Peter Markie (eds): Ethics: History, Theory and Contemporary Issues. Everyone should also read A. Martinich's Philosophical Writing (preferably 2nd edition) within the first month of the course, though it will not be discussed in class. Background Reading: Jostein Gaarder: Sophie's World. This is a history of philosophy in the form of a novel. Specially useful for orienting the philosophers and topics of our work within a broader framework. Peter Singer: Practical Ethics provides good supplementary material on the more applied part of the course.