Faculty of Arts

PHIL 211

Ethical Theory 2

Please note: this is archived course information from 2018 for PHIL 211.


How should we justify moral judgments? The course will explore two important answers to this question. The first, made famous by David Hume, claims that our decisions regarding right and wrong, virtue and vice, are grounded in emotions. As Hume puts it, "morality is more properly felt than judged of." A competing answer, exemplified by Immanuel Kant, argues that moral judgments are justified not by appealing to sentiment, but to reason: practical reason grounds normative judgments in formal qualities of an agent's will. We shall investigate arguments put forward in support of these competing answers and look at the practical implications of answering the question in one of these ways rather than the other.

Availability 2018

Not taught in 2018


Coordinator(s) Dr Glen Pettigrove


Hume, David, A Treatise of Human Nature: Being an Attempt to Introduce the Experimental Method of Reasoning into Moral Subjects, D.F. Norton and M.J. Norton, eds. Oxford Philosophical Texts, paperback ed. (Oxford University Press, 2000)

Kant, Immanuel, Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals, edited by Mary Gregor, with an introduction by Christine M. Korsgaard. Cambridge Texts in the History of Philosophy, paperback ed. (Cambridge University Press, 1998)

Selected articles by contemporary ethicists


Coursework + exam


PHIL 211: 15.0 points


30 points in Philosophy

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