In 2022-23 I am teaching the following courses at Auburn University:
Introduction to Ethics (Fall 2022, Spring 2023)
Ethics is an integral part of all of our lives—whether we want it to be or not. Part of what it is to be a human being is to ask and answer questions such as: What should I do in this situation? What makes an action right or wrong? How should I treat other people? What kind of life should I lead? Answering these questions and others like them is also the goal of philosophical ethics.
Our aim in this course will be to familiarize ourselves with some of the central ways in which philosophers have approached ethical questions. The course has three units. First, we will start off the term by considering where ethics comes from. We will consider some commonly cited options like society, religion, evolution, and “human nature.” Next, we will become acquainted with three prominent normative ethical theories: consequentialism, deontology, and virtue ethics. Finally, the class will conclude by examining some specific ethical issues that are of relevance to our lives today.
Previous Teaching (at the University of Chicago, 2020-22):
Philosophical Perspectives I & II
Classics of Social & Political Thought I & III
Kant’s Critique of Judgment
Simone de Beauvoir as Philosopher Syllabus here.
Description: This class will survey the philosophical work of twentieth-century Existentialist thinker Simone de Beauvoir. Best known as the author of the landmark second-wave feminist book, The Second Sex, de Beauvoir wrote extensively on topics in ethics, politics, and phenomenology. She also published several novels, one of which (The Mandarins) won the prestigious Prix Goncourt. Even so, the vast majority of de Beauvoir’s work is rarely studied in either France or the United States. Our goal in this class will be to take de Beauvoir seriously as one of the most important philosophical thinkers of the twentieth century. We will aim to understand her intellectual program holistically, with emphasis on the way in which her Existentialist concerns informed her work in literature and feminism.
Works to be read include The Ethics of Ambiguity, The Second Sex, The Mandarins, Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter, and selected essays. Classes and readings will be in English; background knowledge of post-Kantian European philosophy is helpful but not necessary.