This page provides resources for Introducing Moral Philosophy, taught for Cardiff University’s Centre for Lifelong Learning during spring 2012.
Introducing Moral Philosophy (designed for duplex printing with binding on left)
Since these usually also serve as topic introductions, they are included in the main list of handouts below. Note that they are grouped topically but will usually be assigned prior to the relevant class so that you can use them in preparing for discussion of the particular topic. These are included in the course packet.
Discusses some common mistakes made in responding to weekly discussion prompts and offers some general strategies for making the most of such short assignments.
Paper Topics (in course packet)
Techniques and Strategies
Handouts & Slides
In case you missed a class or wish to review a topic, you can download slides and handouts from previous classes in PDF format. Please note that these documents are not intended to stand on their own. If you are not taking the course, they are unlikely to be of much use to you although you are welcome to take a look if you wish. If you are taking the class and have questions, please let me know.
1. The Nature of the Beast: Questions, Arguments & Ethics
1.1 General Introduction
1.2 The Philosopher’s Toolbox
- Philosophical Bootcamp (printable)
- Philosophical Bootcamp (experimental version which includes stuff typed in class; quality is not great; large file size)
- Validity Workshop (in course packet)
- Philosophical Bootcamp: Review of Validity Workshop
2. Morality, Society & Survival
2.1 Psychological Egoism & The Social Contract
- Prompt 1: Morality, Society & Survival (in course packet)
- Morality, Society & Survival: Psychological Egoism & The Social Contract
- Selected Elements of Hobbes’s Argument (in course packet)
3.1 Classical Hedonism & its Critics
- Consequentialism: Introduction; Prompt 2 (in course packet)
- Consequentialism: Classical Hedonism & Its Critics
- Consequentialism: Utilitarianism
- Theories for Humans and Theories for Swine: Bentham, Mill and the Epicureans (in course packet)
3.3 On Walking Away & Plugging In, with Guest Appearances by Jim & George
- Prompt 3: The Experience Machine (in course packet)
- Consequentialism: On Walking Away & Plugging In
- Two Thoughts About Utilitarianism (in course packet)
- Prompt 4: Telling It Like It Is: Lying on Your Resume (in course packet)
4. Deontological Theories
4.1 “A Shining Jewel” & The Categorical Imperative
4.2 FUL: Universalisation, Hedgehogs & The Green Cross Code
4.3 FHEI: Persons, Hedgehogs & Hospitals
- Prompt 5 (in course packet)
- Second Formulation of The Categorical Imperative: The Formula of Humanity as an End in Itself (FHEI)
- Graduation & The Kingdom of Ends
4.4 Oppression, Exclusion & Our Duties to Hedgehogs
5. Virtue Ethics
5.1 Living Well
- Prompt 6 (in course packet)
- The Visitors (in course packet)
- Virtue Ethics (slides)
- Virtue Ethics (in course packet) (handout)
5.2 Virtues & Vices
6. Reality, Resistance & Respect
6.1 Stoicism & Suffering
- Prompt 7 (in course packet)
- Reality, Resistance & Respect: Stoicism: A Different Picture of Virtue
- Reality, Resistance & Respect: Suffering, Wisdom and Virtue (if time allows)
6.2 Autonomy & Respect
- Prompt 8 (in course packet)
- Reality, Resistance & Respect: Thomas E. Hill, Jr.
- Why are the typical characteristics of servility morally objectionable? (in course packet)
- Reality, Resistance & Respect: Oppression, Revolution & Character (if time allows)
- Situation, Attribution & Character
- Rights and Rights-Holders
- Prompt 9: Rights and Rights-Holders
Resources / Links
I’ve posted some resources / links which may be useful, interesting or amusing. Since this collection was created some time ago, some of the links may be broken. I’ve already weeded out one but would welcome further corrections.
Morality, Society & Survival
You may enjoy this States of Nature experience, designed by students taking an introductory class in political philosophy. The game illustrates the State of Nature according to Hobbes, Locke and Rousseau. Be careful out there!
Cultivation is a game which may get you thinking about principles of distributive justice, property rights and social relations. This is not a philosophy game and is not designed to illustrate any particular philosophical theory or principle that I’m aware of. (But you may also be interested in the author’s essay on the game.) It is essentially a simulated community of gardeners situated on an island with limited resources and every game is different. Available for Mac OS X (not sure about Intel), Windows (95/98/2000/XP) and as Unix source code. If you run Linux or similar, it is probably available through your package manager. In the version I have, the land looks just like the water which makes gardening a little trickier than it is supposed to be…
A scanned version of the excerpt from Nozick describing his “experience machine” is available here.