Ethics is the art of defining right and wrong in a particular situation (or the denial that there is such a thing). Some especially popular kinds of ethical systems will be discussed, such as:
- Utilitarianism: whatever does the most good for the most people is moral.
Deontology: specific duties exist that everyone is responsible for regardless of what the consequences of those actions are. (In other words, what if everyone did X?)
- Virtue Ethics: The concept that the 'good' thing in a particular situation is not something ultimately defined by a set of rules but established by seeing what a person already known to be 'good' would do in that situation.
- Egoism: the belief that everyone merely does what makes them happy (even if it looks like a selfless sacrifice) and morality itself does not truly exist.
- Divine Command Theory: what is good is whatever God commands (or in the ancient Greek version, the 'gods').
- Natural Law: the idea, put forth by Thomas Aquinas, that the overarching natural instincts are good. Saving oneself and one's family, both being generally universal instincts, are good; stealing from your family, however, is naturally bad (as it goes against that natural instinct to protect them).
- The Social Contract: the concept, by Hobbs, that humanity is naturally bent towards chaos and death and therefore require governments with laws to create order; that is, that we allow ourselves to be dominated by others not out of love for neighbor but fear of them.
And, of course, many more such variations of ethical concepts. From there, we will look at Christianity agrees and disagrees with each.
This will be taught more as a symposium class; that is, discussion will be highly encouraged with students largely contributing to the discussion, writing small but formal arguments, doing a basic level of research and presentation in areas of their own choosing, etc. I am hoping to have some fun 'games' built in based around each of these ethical situations as well!
Preferably taken in high school.
* This course is currently waiting for additional students. Please contact us
if you are interested!