Course Outline

(the main sections are now in reverse order)


I. Introduction to Axiology
      A. The Fundamental Project of Axiology
            1. Why Engage in this Project
                  a. lives
                  b. consequences
                  c. worlds
            2. Intrinsic Goodness
            3. Intrinsic Value
            4. The Structure of Theories in Axiology
      B. A Silly Sample Theory in Axiology: Consumerism
      C. An Argument Against Consumerism
II. Classical Hedonism (CH)
      A. CH
      B. A Misconception About Hedonism
      C. An Argument for Hedonism: The Argument from Psychological Hedonism
      D. Arguments against Classical Hedonism
            1. The Argument from Base Pleasures: Moore's Bestiality Argument
            2. The Argument from False Pleasures: Nozick's Experience Machine Argument
III. Desire Satisfactionism
      A. Another Problem with Hedonism
      B. Desire Satisfactionism (DS)
      C. Applications of the Theory
      D. A Problem for DS: Max the Masochist


NEB II - Intermediate Theories in the Normative Ethics of Behavior

I. Utilitarianism
      A. What is Act Utilitarianism?
            1. Mill's Theory
            2. AUh
                  a. hedonic utility
                  b. maximization
            3. Defective Formulations
                  a. GHP
                  b. AUx
      B. Attractive Features of Utilitarianism
            1. Welfarism
            2. Embodies "Do the Best You Can"
            3. Impartiality
            4. Resolves Moral Dilemmas
      C. Arguments Against Utilitarianism
            1. The "Too High for Humanity" Objection
            2. The "Lack of Time" Objection
            3. The Objection from Promises
                  a. Promise-to-the-Dead-Man Objection
                  b. Ross Exercise
            4. The Objection from Punishment
                  a. The Utilitarian Theory of Punishment
                  b. The Retributive Theory of Punishment
                  c. The Punish-the-Innocent Objection
            5. The Objection from Justice
                  a. the "normative irrelevance" of justice

II. Kant
      A. Themes of Kant's Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals
            1. Internalism
            2. The Good Will and its distinctive goodness
            3. Duty, Inclination, and Moral Worth
                  a. actions from duty vs. actions from inclination
            4. Universalizability
            5. Rationality
            6. Respect for Humanity
      B. The Categorical Imperative
            1. Maxims
            2. Consistent Willing
                  a. Two Ways to Will Inconsistently
            3. How to Evaluate Actions according to KCI
      C. Examples of Applications of KCI
                  a. The Anthrax Tax Case
                  b. Miss Perkins
      D. An Argument against KCI
                  a. Miss Perkins again

NEB I - Elemtary Theories in the Normative Ethics of Behavior

I. The Normative Ethics of Behavior
      A. The Fundamental Project of NEB
            1. Actions
                  a. Act types vs. Act tokens
            2. Moral Rightness
                  a. vs. other sorts of rightness
                  b. other normative statuses
            3. Criteria (or theories, or doctrines)
                  a. Necessary and Sufficient Conditions
            4. Sample theories
                  a. GHP
                  b. 10C
      B. Why care about a criterion?
      C. Methodology
            1. Theories and arguments
            2. Sample argument
                  a. against 10C

II. Religious Approaches to Ethics
      A. 10C
      B. The Divine Command Theory
            1. Three Arguments for DCT
      C. The Euthyphro Problem (Plato)

III. Sociological Approaches to Ethics: Cultural Relativism
      A. Common Cultural Relativism
      B. CR (or "Conventionalism" [Feldman])
      C. The Argument for CR: The Cultural Differences Argument [Herodotus, Benedict]
      D. CR and Tolerance
      E. Arguments Against CR
            1. The Reformer's Dilemma
            2. The Globalization Advice Argument
      F. Conceptual Relativism
            1. The No-Conflicts Argument
      G. Lessons to Learn from Relativists
            1. Self-Criticism
            2. Reasonable Tolerance

IV. Ethical Egoism
      A. Formulating Ethical Egoism (EEh)
      B. Common Misconceptions about Egoism
            1. Immediate Gratification
            2. No Altruism
            3. Psychological Egoism
      C. Arguments for EEh
            1. Closet Utilitarian Argument
      D. Arguments Against EEh
            1. Moore's; Baier's; The Promulgation Argument
            2. Feldman's Refutation of EEh




I. What is Ethics?
      A. Core Areas of Ethics
            1. NEB
            2. Axiology
            3. V-V Theory
      B. Other Areas of Ethics
II. Why Study Ethics







I. Hedonism
II. Desire Satisfactionism