Philosophy 2

Spring 2005

Number Title Instructor Days/time Room
2 Individual Morality and Social Justice Rees MWF 10-11 10 Evans

The course will introduce students to a variety of topics in both normative (theoretical) and applied ethics. We will focus, in particular, on the connections between the morality of individual agents and issues of social justice. At the individual level, we will consider both how one ought to live one’s life, and what kind of person one ought to be. At the social level, we will consider the nature and requirements of social justice, as well as which means society’s may be obligated or permitted to use in achieving it. Throughout the course, we will examine and reexamine the connections between the individual and social levels. To what extent, if any, do the requirements of social justice impose moral obligations on individuals? For example, if one lives in an unjust society, is one obligated to protest the injustice? What difference does it make if an individual must risk severe penalties in order to protest effectively? On the other hand, if some individuals do not behave morally, does social justice require the community to encourage or, even, enforce better behavior? It is clear that individual morality and social justice are not independent. In what ways, and to what extent, do they depend on each other? Is it possible for to live one’s life well, and to be a good moral agent, if one lives in an unjust society? To what extent must a just society depend on the morality of its individual members?

Previously taught: FL04, SU04D, SU04A, SP04, FL03.