For each week, the readings are broken down into required readings and optional further readings. You are not at all expected to read the optional readings. I include them in case you find the topic especially interesting and would like to write a paper on it or simply learn more.
To access notes/slides for the course, click here. The folder will grow larger as the term proceeds.
If you like diagrams, a map of the course is here.
Week 1: Introduction
No Required Reading for this Week
Optional Reading Driver, Julia. “Normative Ethics” Kagan, Shelly. Normative Ethics, Chapter 1 Part 1: The Good
Week 2: What is Good for People?
Required Reading Parfit, Derek. “What Makes Someone’s Life Go Best?”
Optional Further Reading Arneson, Richard. "Desire Formation and the Human Good" Arneson, Richard. “Human Flourishing versus Desire Satisfaction” Feldman, Fred. Pleasure and the Good Life, Chapters 2-4 Griffin, James. Well-Being, Chapters 1-4 Haybron, Dan. "Happiness and Pleasure" Kagan, Shelly. Normative Ethics, Chapter 2, Sections 1 and 2 Kraut, Richard. “Two Conceptions of Happiness” Parfit, D. Reasons and Persons, Part Two Plakias, Alexandra and Tiberius, Valerie. "Well-Being" Tiberius, Valerie. "Recipes for a Good Life: Eudaimonism and the Contribution of Philosophy"
Week 3: Distribution and Relational Equality
Required Reading Anderson, Elizabeth. “What is the Point of Equality?” Parfit, Derek. “Equality vs. Priority”
Optional Further Reading Arneson, Richard. “Egalitarianism” SEP Favor, Julian and Lamont, Christi. “Distributive Justice” SEP Kagan, Shelly. Normative Ethics, Ch. 2, Sections 4 and 5 Scheffler, Samuel. “What is Egalitarianism?” Temkin, Larry. “Equality, Priority, and the Levelling Down Objection” Temkin, Larry. “Inequality”
Week 4: Impersonal Goodness and Population Ethics
Required Reading Parfit, Derek. Selection from Reasons and Persons, Part Four
Focus on "The Non-Identity Problem" and "The Repugnant Conclusion". Skim the rest if you're curious.
Optional Further Reading Broome, John. “Should We Value Population?" Harman, Elizabeth. “Can We Harm and Benefit in Creating?” Kagan, Shelly. Normative Ethics, Ch. 2, Section 3 McMahan, Jeff. “Asymmetries in the Morality of Causing People to Exist” McMahan, Jeff. “Problems of Population Theory”
Part 2: Restrictions on Promoting the Good
Week 5: Doing and Allowing
Required Reading Thomson, Judith Jarvis. "The Trolley Problem"
Strongly Recommended Reading Quinn, Warren. “Actions, Intentions, and Consequences: The Doctrine of Doing and Allowing”
Optional Further Reading Frowe, Helen. "Killing John to Save Mary" Howard-Snyder, Frances. “Doing vs. Allowing Harm” SEP Kagan, Shelly. The Limits of Morality, Chapter 3 McMahan, Jeff. “Killing, Letting Die, and Withdrawing Aid” Rachels, James. “Active and Passive Euthanasia” Thomson, Judith Jarvis. “Killing, Letting Die, and the Trolley Problem” Tooley, Michael. “An Irrelevant Consideration: Killing and Letting Die” Woollard, Fiona. “Doing and Allowing, Threats and Sequences”
Week 6: Consultation Week
I’ll be in my office during the normal class hours. Feel free to arrange a meeting at another time if this doesn’t work for you. Just send me an email and I’ll be happy to find a time.
Week 7: The Doctrine of Double Effect
Required Reading Foot, Phillipa. “The Problem of Abortion and the Doctrine of Double Effect”
Strongly Recommended Reading Quinn, Warren. “Actions, Intentions, and Consequences: The Doctrine of Double Effect”
Optional Further Reading Bennett, Jonathan. The Act Itself, Chapter 11 Fischer, J., Ravizza, M. and Copp, D. “Quinn on Double Effect: The Problem of ‘Closeness’” Kagan, Shelly. The Limits of Morality, Chapter 4 McIntyre, Alison. “The Doctrine of Double Effect” SEP McMahan, J. "Intention, Permissibility, Terrorism, and War" Nelkin, Dana and Rickless, Samuel. “So Close, Yet So Far...” Nelkin, Dana and Rickless, Samuel. “Three Cheers for Double Effect” Thomson, Judith Jarvis. "Self-Defense"
Week 8: Rights
Required Reading Thomson, Judith Jarvis. "Self-Defense and Rights" Thomson, Judith Jarvis. "Rights and Compensation"
Optional Further Reading Davis, Nancy. "Rights, Permission, and Compensation" Feinberg, Joel. “The Nature and Value of Rights” Feinberg, Joel. "Voluntary Euthanasia and the Inalienable Right to Life" Kamm, Frances. "Conflicts of Rights: A Typology" Kamm, Frances. "Rights Beyond Interests" Montague, Phillip. "Rights and Duties of Compensation" Nozick, Robert. Selection from Anarchy, State and Utopia on side constraints Thomson, Judith Jarvis. "Some Ruminations on Rights" Waldron, Jeremy. Theories of Rights (edited collection) BUY Wenar, Leif. “Rights” SEP
Part 3: Non-Teleological Conceptions of Value
Week 9: Are All Values To Be Promoted?
Required Reading Kamm, F. "Non-Consequentialism, the Person as an End-in-Itself, and the Significance of Status"
Strongly Recommended Reading Scanlon, T. M. What We Owe to Each Other, Chapter 2
Optional Further Reading Anderson, Elizabeth. Selections from Value in Ethics and Economics Kamm, Frances. “Moral Status” Korsgaard, Christine. “Kant’s Formula of Humanity” Korsgaard, Christine. “Two Distinction in Goodness” Parfit, Derek. On What Matters, Volume 1, Chapter 11 Woollard, Fiona. "Intricate Ethics and Inviolability: Frances Kamm's Nonconsequentialism" (esp. pp.235-8)
Part 4: The Limits of Impartiality
Week 10: The Limits of Impartiality
Required Reading Williams, Bernard. “Persons, Character, and Morality”
Optional Further Reading Baron, Marcia. “On the Alleged Moral Repugnance of Acting from Duty” Kagan, Shelly. The Limits of Morality, Chapters 7-9 Kagan, Shelly. Normative Ethics, Chapter 5, Sections 1 and 2 Scheffler, Samuel. "Morality's Demands and their Limits" Scheffler, Samuel. The Rejection of Consequentialism, Chapters 2 and 3 Railton, Peter. “Consequentialism, Alienation and the Demands of Morality” Williams, Bernard. "The Point of View of the Universe: Sidgwick and the Ambitions of Ethics" Wolf, Susan. "Meaning and Morality"
Week 11: Understanding Partiality
Required Reading Jeske, Diane. Rationality and Moral Theory, Chapters 2-4
Optional Further Reading Jeske, Diane. “Special Obligations” SEP Jeske, Diane and Fumerton, Richard. “Relatives and Relativism” Keller, Simon. Partiality, Chapter 1 Kolodny, Niko. “Which Relationships Justify Partiality?” McMahan, Jeff. “The Limits of National Partiality” Nagel, Thomas. The View from Nowhere, Chapters 9 and 10 Scheffler, Samuel. “Relationships and Responsibilities”
Optional Further Reading Adams, Robert. “Involuntary Sins” Enoch, David and Marmor, Andrei. “The Case against Moral Luck” Herman, Barbara. “On the Value of Acting from the Motive of Duty” Markovits, Julia. “Acting for the Right Reasons” Markovits, Julia. “Saints, Heroes, Sages, and Villains” Nagel, Thomas. “Moral Luck” Nelkin, Dana. “Moral Luck” SEP Smith, Holly. “Varieties of Moral Worth and Credit” Zimmerman, Michael. “Moral Luck: A Partial Map” Zimmerman, Michael. “Taking Luck Seriously”