This course description has been approved by the instructor for the Summer II 2008 offering. After that session, use description for general information only.

Course Description

GLS 592: Ethics through Literature

Instructor: Robert Sutton

This course combines a theoretical study of basic Western moral theories with a practical examination of the complexities of moral decision making through the use of literary resources. Students will exam such moral theories as Kantian ethics, Utilitarianism, Natural Law Theory, Subjectivism, and Feminist ethics. Through the use of novels and short stories, students will explore the limits and value of these theories to make sense of moral decision making and to examine whether literary resources make any moral claims on the reader. If so, what sorts of claims do these resources make and how are those claims made? Other topics that might be considered are the moral significance, if any, of the relationship between a moral agent and the context of moral choices, the importance of consistency in moral decision making, and questions concerning how such human emotions as remorse or longing, the need for forgiveness, and self deception, influence a person's moral choices.

Last Update: October 8, 2008

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