Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon

Course Number:
PHL 202
Course Title:
Credit Hours:
Lecture Hours:
Lecture/Lab Hours:
Lab Hours:
Special Fee:

Course Description

Studies attempts by philosophers to account for the difference between right and wrong, for the notion of moral obligation and to answer the question: How should we lead our lives? Prerequisites: WR 115, RD 115 and MTH 20 or equivalent placement test scores. Audit available.

Intended Outcomes for the course

Students completing this course should be able to:

  • Recognize the philosophical assumptions that are embedded in moral ideas and in philosophical works in order to define one€™s moral responsibility in contemporary society.
  • Reflect on and evaluate ethical arguments from diverse sources in order to communicate effectively with others who might have a different opinion from one€™s own.
  • Recognize and reflect on the interconnectedness of and the historical development of moral ideas in order to be conscious of the historical context of moral argumentation and its significance in our culture and the culture of others.

Outcome Assessment Strategies

Assessment strategies will include some of the following:

  • Essays in the form of in-class exams, short papers, or term papers
  • Student presentations
  • Class and small group discussions
  • Portfolios
  • Service learning projects
  • Attendance

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)

Themes, concepts, Issues:
The course will focus on the following topics and issues with a primary focus on the Western philosophical tradition:

  • Meta-ethics (or Ethical Theory)
  • Normative Ethics
  • What is the philosophical significance of core ethical concepts such as good, evil, right, and wrong?
  • How have some historically significant philosophers (including, but not limited to Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Epicurus, Spinoza, Hobbes, Locke, Hume, Kant, Bentham, Mill, Moore, Ayer) responded to philosophical questions concerning morality?
  • Epistemological and metaphysical issues that are raised in connection with Ethical Theories (such as, Are Ethical claims knowledge claims? In what ways do persons differ from other sorts of entities?)

Competencies and Skills:
Students will learn to:

  • Comprehend philosophical writings dealing with morality.
  • Paraphrase, illustrate, and explain ideas contained in philosophical writings dealing with morality.
  • Critique and challenge philosophical ideas dealing with morality.
  • Write philosophically coherent arguments concerning ethical theories and issues.