F652 Spring 2019 Philosophical Foundations of Morality
Thursdays, 9:40–11:05, Mar. 28–May 16
Instructor: Emmet Holman
Class limit: 50
A long-standing issue among both philosophers and non-philosophers is whether or not there is an objective standard of morality; and if there is, how that is possible. Some have argued that it is possible only if morality is grounded in the commands or designs of a god. Others have argued to the contrary: that a non-theistic foundation of objective morality can succeed. In this course we will look at a number of philosophical moral theories with these questions in mind. Theories examined probably will include divine command theory and the moral theories of St. Thomas Aquinas, John Stuart Mill, and Immanuel Kant. Also, as time permits, we may examine whether or not the theory of evolution can account for humans’ sense of morality.
Emmett Holman earned his BS in physics from Penn State. He holds a PhD in philosophy from the University of Maryland and taught philosophy at George Mason University for 45 years. While at Mason, he taught undergraduate courses in ethics and undergraduate and graduate courses on the relation between science and religion as well as other topics.