Philosophy 361             Ethics                           Darwall                                    Fall 2007




Required Texts [available through Shaman Drum Bookshop, 313 S. State Street]


Stephen Darwall, Philosophical Ethics (PE)

John Stuart Mill, Utilitarianism (U)

Immanuel Kant, Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals (G)

Friedrich Nietzsche, On the Genealogy of Morals (GM)

Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics (NE)

Carol Gilligan, In A Different Voice (DV)


ELECTRONIC RESERVES (ER) accessible from electronic syllabus on the Course Materials page, which is linked to Philosophy 361 web page.  Some are in JSTOR; the Cudworth excerpt is from Past Masters; and the rest are from University Reserves.  The links on the electronic syllabus will work if you are on the UM network, and the readings from University Reserves seem to work even if you aren't,  if you authenticate.  Otherwise, you will need to access through the University Library database search page.   Click the "Name" tab. Then:
     For JSTOR, type in  "JSTOR,"  go to "Advanced Search," type in the title, check "Title" and "Philosophy" and "Search."
     For Past Masters, type in "Past Masters," go to "British Philosophy: 1600-1900," then click "+" next to "L. A. Selby-Bigge,"  then "+" next to "British Moralists,"  then "+" next to "Volume II," then "Ralph Cudworth."


Course Web Page:

(linked to my home page):


Tentative Schedule of Lectures and Readings

            (‘Req’ = Required Reading    ‘Rec’ = Recommended Reading)



September         5        Fundamental philosophical issues in ethics

                                    Req:     PE: 3-14


                        10        Mill I

                                    Req:     U: Ch. 1

                                    Rec:     PE: 109-113
                        12        Mill II

                                    Req:     U: first two paragraphs of Ch. 2 and all of Ch. 4

                                                Bentham, Introduction to Principles of Morals, Ch. 4, ER                                                    

                                    Rec:     PE: 113-122

                        17        Mill III

                                    Req:     U: paragraphs 3-17 of Ch. 2 (pp. 7-17 in Sher’s edition)


                        19        Mill IV

                                    Req:     U: rest of Ch. 2 (pp. 17-26 in Sher) and all of Ch. 3

                                    Rec:     PE: 123-132


                        24        Mill V

                                    Req:     U: Ch. 5

                                                Rawls, "Two Concepts of Rules," ER

                                    Rec:     PE: 132-138

                                                Mill, On Liberty, Ch. 4


                        26        Metaethics: the Basic Questions

                                    Req:     Harman, "Ethics and Observation," ER

                                                PE: 17-26


 October            1         Naturalism

                                    Req:     PE: 27-38


                          3        Theological Voluntarism

                                    Req:     PE: 39-47

                                                Excerpts from Ralph Cudworth, A Treatise Concerning Eternal and Immutable Morality, 248-252, ER
                                    FIRST PAPERS DUE


                          8         Ideal Judgment Theories

                                    Req:     PE: 55-61

                                                Firth, "Ethical Absolutism and the Ideal Observer," ER

                                    Rec:     Rawls, "An Outline of a Decision Procedure for Ethics," ER


                        10        Relativism

                                    Req:     PE: 63-70

                                                Lyons, "Ethical Relativism and the Problem of Incoherence," ER


                        17        Noncognitivism

                                    Req:     PE: 71-79

                                                Ayer, "Critique of Ethics," ER


                        22        Kant I

                                    Req:     G: Preface

                                    Rec:     PE: 139-147

                                                Christine Korsgaard, G, Introduction


                        24        Kant II

                                    Req:     G: Ch. 1

                                    Rec:     PE: 147-152


                        29        Kant III

                                    RQR:   G: reread Ch. 1; first half of Ch. 2 (to Ak. 4:428)

                                    Rec:     PE: 152-163


                       31         Kant IV

                                    Req:     G: rest of Ch. 2 (Ak. 4:428-4:445)

                                    Rec:     PE: 163-169


November        5          Kant V

                                    Req:     G: reread Ch. 2

                                                (Three) excerpts from Rawls, A Theory of Justice, 1, 2, 3 ER


                        7          Kant VI

                                    Req:     G: Ch. 3

                                    Rec:     PE: 169-173


                        12        Nietzsche I

                                    Req:     GM, Preface and First Essay

                                    Rec:     PE: 177-186


                        14        Nietzsche II

                                    Req:     GM, Second Essay

                                    Rec:     PE: 186-190


                        19        Aristotle I

                                    Req:     NE: Bk. 1

                                    Rec:     PE: 191-201


                        21        Aristotle II

                                    Req:     NE: reread Bk. 1; Bk. 2

                                    Rec:     PE: 203-208


                        26        Aristotle III

                                    Req:     NE: reread. Bk. 2; Bk. 3; and Ch. 3-9 of Bk. 4

                                    Rec:     PE: 208-210
                                    SECOND PAPERS DUE


                        28        Aristotle IV

                                    Req:     NE: Bk. 8 and Bk. 9


December          3        Aristotle V

                                    Req:     NE: Bk. 6

                                    Rec:     PE: 210-216


                          5        A Critique of traditional moral philosophy: relationships and particularity

                                    Req:     DV: 1-63

                                    Rec:     PE: 217-221


                        10        Self, other, and morality 

                                    Req:     DV: 64-105,128-150

                                    Rec:     PE: 221-228


                        17        Final Exam (1:30pm -3:30pm)




Course Requirements:  two essays (one, 4-6 pages, and the other, 8-10 pages), the Critical Reading Project (including one 2-page paper), a final exam, and attendance and active participation in lectures and discussion section, weighted in the following percentages:  1st paper, 15%; Critical Reading Project 15%; 2nd paper, 30%; final exam, 30%; attendance and participation in lecture and discussion section, 10%.  The final exam will be given Monday, December 17, 1:30pm to 3:30pm in the lecture hall.  AGAIN, PLEASE NOTE WHAT THIS SAYS.  REGULAR ATTENDANCE AND ACTIVE PARTICIPATION IN BOTH LECTURES AND DISCUSSION SECTIONS IS BOTH A REQUIREMENT OF THE COURSE AND WEIGHTED IN GRADING.  YOU CANNOT RECEIVE CREDIT FOR THE COURSE WITHOUT FULFILLING ALL COURSE REQUIREMENTS.


My office hours will be Tuesday, 1-3 p.m, at 2227 Angell Hall, and also by appointment.  Lei Zhong, who will also lead sections, will hold office hours as well, which he will announce.  We encourage you to come in to talk to us about the course.   I can also be reached by email ( or phone (763-3493 (office), 996-3964 (home)).  E-mail is an especially good way to communicate, as I check my messages regularly.


Finally, plagiarism and other forms of academic misconduct are morally wrong, a violation of College and University Policy, and especially sad and ironic in an ethics course.  If you have any doubt about the College’s policies, please consult:  And don’t hesitate to raise any questions you might have either with Professor Darwall or with Mr. Zhong..