Introduction to Philosophy: Ethics & Politics

This course introduces students to philosophy with a special focus on issues in moral and political philosophy. Topics to be discussed may include justice, the nature of the good, different conceptions of happiness, virtue, ethical theory, moral relativism, feminist ethics, liberty, equality, and the foundations of rights, as well as particular applied topics in moral and political philosophy (such as economic justice and the ethics of war). 

Fall 2017 Courses

Introduction to Philosophy: Ethics and Politics
10105 02 (16324)
11:00-11:50 MWF
First Year Students Only


Introduction to Philosophy: Ethics and Politics
10105 03 (20612)
von Eschenbach
3:30-4:45 TR
First Year Students Only

This course will provide an introduction to philosophical issues related to ethics and politics. Through careful reading of classical texts by important figures in the history of philosophy, students will examine questions such as: What is the good life? What is justice or virtue? What obligations do one have toward others? What constitutes a just society? What are the limits of power and the nature and origin of political authority?
By the conclusion of the term, students will be expected to:

  • Possess a basic understanding of foundational concepts and terminology in ethics and political philosophy
  • Evaluate critically various arguments related to specific issues in ethics and political philosophy
  • Understand and evaluate critically normative and political theories
  • Develop and justify their own views regarding the nature of ethical and political life


Introduction to Philosophy: Ethics and Politics
20105 01 (20615)

9:30-10:45 TR

Aristotle wrote that an effect of law is to make people good. In this course, we will examine the relationship between the good of individual persons and the goodness of societies. Readings will range from Plato and Aristotle, through Aquinas, and into the Enlightenment and important 20th-century figures. 

Course requirements will be four short papers and a final project.