Ethics isn’t merely an abstract area of study, and ethical reasoning and ethical writing are not merely a matter of picking a “side” in a debate. Writing in ethics allows us to explore our most cherished beliefs and question their foundations so that we can form reasoned and informed positions. In writing, we analyze and evaluate others’ approaches and develop alternatives in response based on argument and analysis. By adducing evidence, articulating arguments and engaging in analyses of our own positions in relation to the views of other writers, we forge positions of our own.
In this class we will explore writings on key ethical questions, and use them to analyze real-life difficulties. We will draw on writers’ insights in a variety of moral disciplines and use these to challenge, complicate, or illuminate real-life problems from ordinary life; we will research and analyze these scenarios and determine how these writers’ insights can deepen our understanding of ordinary problems; we will examine and assess our own views on these matters and scrutinize their strength in light of the challenges we encounter; and we will review and revise our writings on these questions in order to develop clear, authoritative and informed voices of our own.
College Writing 2: Writing in Applied Ethics is a second semester, discipline-based writing seminar that includes a special focus on writing in philosophy. Students should come to each class, prepared to write, to revise their own work, and to think constructively about the work of their peers.