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AU Scholars | Philosophy: Do The Right Thing


This course will make the case for doing the right thing. We will explore questions about conduct – what to do, how to act, and why – as understood by the most salient theories of ethics. Examining major works in Western philosophy, we will discuss issues including moral goodness and evil, the nature of justice and rights, the relationship between morality and self-interest, the justification of moral judgments, relativism versus objective truth, the role of pleasure in the good life, and the meaning of character and virtue. Another central concern will be to examine the relationship between "doing the right thing" and living the good life. We will do so by applying ethical theories to contemporary moral issues pertinent to both college life (online social relations, academic plagiarism, drug use) and public policy (prostitution, animal rights, responsibility in media coverage).