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PHIL 379 Contemporary Moral Theory

When we say something is morally right or wrong, are we simply expressing our personal feelings or are we saying something more? Who gets to decide (and how do they decide) what makes something morally right or wrong? Do moral issues have answers about which we can be certain? Does morality have well-regarded theories like the physical sciences do--theories which help ethicists and others to decide what is right or wrong? These and other questions will be addressed in this decidedly theory-focused course in moral philosophy.

Special information

Note: Course requires special permission to register, contact instructor.
4 Undergraduate credits

Effective August 16, 2017 to present

Meets graduation requirements for

Learning outcomes


  • Compare and contrast, at an advanced collegiate level, major moral theories.
  • Analyze twentieth century meta-theory.
  • Focus most acutely on the centrality of justification for claims made in these accounts.
  • Use the work of the course to reflect on personal beliefs and attitudes about central moral issues, and to construct ways, as a citizen, to act on those beliefs.

Minnesota Transfer Curriculum

Goal 6: The Humanities and Fine Arts

  • Demonstrate awareness of the scope and variety of works in the arts and humanities.
  • Understand those works as expressions of individual and human values within a historical and social context.
  • Respond critically to works in the arts and humanities.
  • Engage in the creative process or interpretive performance.
  • Articulate an informed personal reaction to works in the arts and humanities.

Spring 2024

Section Title Instructor books eservices
50 Contemporary Moral Theory Atchison, Thomas C Brito, Marisol Alhena Books for PHIL-379-50 Spring 2024 Course details for PHIL-379-50 Spring 2024