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24.02x

Moral Problems and the Good Life

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This course is currently archived on edX. Certificate enrollment is closed.

About This Course

This course has two goals. The first goal is to introduce you to key questions in ethics.

  • What makes your life go better or worse for you?
  • Can ethics be objective?
  • What are the main historical approaches in ethics?
  • What do you owe to others?

The second goal is to get you thinking rigorously about ethical questions yourself. This will help you develop your critical reasoning and argumentative skills more generally.

Studying philosophy is valuable in itself, but it’s also excellent preparation for a wide variety of other fields. Philosophy majors do exceptionally well in the GRE, GMAT and LSAT, for example. See here for more details.

What you'll learn

You will learn how to think about difficult ethical questions in a rigorous and disciplined way. You will learn about the most important ethical theories, and about how to apply them to real-life cases.

Syllabus

  • Lecture 1: What is Ethics?
  • PART 1: WHAT MAKES YOUR LIFE GO BETTER OR WORSE FOR YOU?
  • Lecture 2: Hedonism — It is about pleasure and pain
  • Lecture 3: Desire Satisfaction — It is about getting what you want
  • Lecture 4: Objective Theories — It is about what is worth wanting
  • Lecture 5: Death — Is death bad for you?
  • PART 2: CAN ETHICS BE OBJECTIVE?
  • Lecture 6: Objectivity and God — Ethics without divine command
  • Lecture 7: Relativism — Ethics across cultures
  • Lecture 8: Moral Epistemology — Knowing right from wrong
  • PART 3: THE HISTORY OF ETHICS
  • Lecture 9: Bentham and Mill — Utilitarianism
  • Lecture 10: Kant I — Deontology
  • Lecture 11: Kant II — Deontology
  • Lecture 12: Aristotle — Virtue ethics
  • PART 4: HOW YOU RELATE TO OTHERS
  • Lecture 13: Respecting Rights — The trolley problem
  • Lecture 14: What You Owe to Needy Strangers
  • Lecture 15: What You Owe to Future People
  • Lecture 16: What You Owe to Non-Human Animals

Course Staff

Caspar
       Hare

Caspar Hare

Professor of Philosophy
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Tamar Schapiro

Tamar Schapiro

Associate Professor of Philosophy
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Kieran Setiya

Kieran Setiya

Professor of Philosophy
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Cosmo Grant

Cosmo Grant

Digital Learning Lab Fellow
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

David Balcarras

David Balcarras

Digital Learning Lab Fellow
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

  1. Course Number:

    24.02x
  2. Classes Start:

  3. Classes End:

  4. Length:

    10 weeks
  5. Year Created:

    2020
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