University Of Glasgow Philosophy 1m

University Of Glasgow Philosophy 1m

Philosophy 1M: Right and Wrong

         This course introduces students to some of the basic problems that arise in trying to understand that specific kind of thinking that is moral thinking. Everyone goes in for moral thinking. They make claims such as: racism is wrong; abortion is impermissible; homosexuality is wrong; compassion makes you a good person; people have a right to education or shelter; there is no right to privacy. But what does it mean to say that something is wrong or good or that people have a right to it? How, if at all, can we find out whether something is wrong or good or that people have a right to it? Are right and wrong ‘all subjective’, ‘just a matter of feeling’, so that child abuse is wrong only in so far as you, or some folk, happen to feel disgusted by it? Are people capable of acting morally or, deep down, is everyone selfish?

Emphasis in the course will be on understanding these issues rather than acquiring any particular response to them. Part of the course will focus on a classsic text; other parts will concentrate on more general questions about moral and political philosophy, and about some contemporary moral issues. No particular moral standpoint is required in students taking the course, nor are students expected to come out of the course with any particular moral standpoint. The aim is to learn think critically and reflectively about the issues.

University Of Glasgow Philosophy 1m

Course convener:  Gareth Young
Semester: 2
Lecture hour: 10-11 and 2-3 (Mon-Thurs)
Lecture venue: See MyCampus.

Recommended texts for 2016-17

  • P. Singer, Practical Ethics 3rd edition (Cambridge University Press, 2011).
  • R. Harrison, Democracy (Routledge, 1995).
  • J. Driver, Ethics: the Fundamentals (Blackwell Publishing, 2007).
  • J. S. Mill, On Liberty (Oxford World Classics — though other editions will be fine)

Teaching resources for this course, including lecture notes and exercises, will be made available on the Philosophy Moodle site.