Readings listed below should be completed by lecture in the session listed. In addition to readings by session, recommended readings are also listed below.

Your TA may set additional assignments (reading, writing, and oral presentations). Note that an assignment for the first section is included below.


Di Leo, Jeffrey R., ed. Morality Matters: Race, Class, and Gender in Applied Ethics. Boston, MA: McGraw-Hill, 2002. ISBN: 0072840759.

Bedau, Hugo. Thinking and Writing About Philosophy. 2nd ed. Boston, MA: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2002. ISBN: 0312396534.

Readings by Session

1 Introductory Lecture "Introduction." In Morality Matters. pp. 1-10.
I. Goodness
2 Pleasure

Bentham, Jeremy. "Classical Hedonism." In Morality Matters. p. 42.

Nozick, Robert. "The Experience Machine." In Morality Matters. p. 45.

3 Desire Satisfaction

Brandt, Richard B. "Goodness as the Satisfaction of Informed Desire." In A Theory of the Good and the Right. Revised ed. Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books, 1998. ISBN: 157392220X.

Also Recommended

Loeb, Don. "Full Information Theories of the Individual Good." Social Theory and Practice 21, no. 1 (Spring 1995).

4 Objective List Theories

Parfit, Derek. "What Makes a Person's Life Go Best?" Appendix I in Reasons and Persons. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 1986, p. 493-502. ISBN: 019824908X.

Nussbaum, Martha C. "A Conception of the Human Being: The Central Human Capabilities." In Sex and Social Justice. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 1999, pp. 37-51 plus notes. ISBN: 0195112105.

5 Environmentalism

Leopold, Aldo. "The Land Ethic." In Morality Matters. p. 590.

Wenz, Peter S. "Ecology and Morality." In Morality Matters. p. 595.

Baxter, William F. "People or Penguins." In Morality Matters. p. 600.

6 Animal Rights

Singer, Peter. "Animal Liberation." In Morality Matters. p. 621.

Steinbock, Bonnie. "Speciesism and the Idea of Equality." In Morality Matters. p. 628.

7 Immortality Williams, Bernard. "The Makropulos case; reflections on the tedium of immortality." Chapter 6 in Problems of the Self. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 1973, pp. 82-100. ISBN: 0521290600.
II. Right and Wrong
8 Egoism and Skepticism

Rachels, James. "Egoism and Moral Skepticism." In Morality Matters. p. 28.

Nietzsche, Friedrich. Selection from On the Genealogy of Morals.

9 Religion and Morality

Plato. Euthyphro. Translated by Benjamin Jowett, 2004.

Arthur, John. "Morality, Religion and Conscience." In Morality Matters. p. 35.

10 Relativism and Toleration

Benedict, Ruth. "A Defense of Moral Relativism." In Morality Matters. p. 99.

Midgley, Mary. "Trying Out One's New Sword: A Critique of Moral Isolationism." In Morality Matters. p. 109.

11 Utilitarianism, Deontology and Virtue

Mill, John Stuart. "Utilitarianism." In Morality Matters. p. 47.

Kant, Immanuel. "The Categorical Imperative." In Morality Matters. p. 51.

Sayre-McCord, Geoff. "Kant's Grounding for the Metaphysics of Morals: A Very Brief Selective Summary of Sections 1 and 2." (PDF)

12 Continuing Moral Theory

Aristotle. "Virtue Ethics." In Morality Matters. p. 60.

Hursthouse, Rosalind. "Right Action." Chapter 1 in On Virtue Ethics. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2002. ISBN: 0199247994.

III. Justice
13 Global Justice

Singer, Peter. "Famine, Affluence and Morality." In Morality Matters. p. 517.

Hardin, Garrett. "Lifeboat Ethics." In Morality Matters. p. 524.

14 Equality Scanlon, Timothy. "When Does Equality Matter?" Unpublished manuscript.
15 Social Justice

Rawls, John. "A Theory of Justice." In Morality Matters. p. 549.

Cohen, Joshua. "Reconciling Liberty and Equality." (PDF) (Courtesy of Joshua Cohen. Used here with permission.)

16 Race, Gender, Poverty

Pearce, Diana M. "The Feminization of Poverty." In Morality Matters. p. 528.

Wilkerson, Margaret B., and Jewell Handy Gresham. "The Racialization of Poverty." In Morality Matters. p. 533.

Young, Iris Marion. "Five Faces of Oppression." Chapter 2 in Justice and the Politics of Difference. New Haven, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1990. ISBN: 0691023158.

17 Welfare and Freedom

Machan Tibor R. "The Non-existence of Basic Welfare Rights." In Morality Matters. p. 555.

Fraser, Nancy. "Women, Welfare and the Politics of Need Interpretation." In Morality Matters. p. 561.

IV. Punishment and the Death Penalty
18-21 Punishment and the Death Penalty

Furman vs. Georgia

Gregg vs. Georgia
18 Vengeance, Retribution, Reform

Camus, Albert. "Reflections on the Guillotine." In Morality Matters. p. 223.

Lewis, C. S. "The Humanitarian Theory of Punishment." Chapter 4 of Part III in God in the Dock: Essays on Theology and Ethics. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2001. ISBN: 0802808689.

Menninger, Karl. "The Crime of Punishment." New York, NY: Penguin, 1977. ISBN: 0140044884.

19 Punishment and the Body Foucault, Michel. "The Body of the Condemned" and "Docile Bodies." In Discipline and Punish: The Birth of a Prison. 2nd ed. Translated by Alan Sheridan. New York, NY: Vintage Books, 1995. ISBN: 0679752552.
20 Death Penalty and Deterrence

Van Den Haag, Ernest. "On Deterrence and the Death Penalty." In Morality Matters. p. 228.

Bedau, Hugo. "The Death Penalty as a Deterrent." In Morality Matters. p. 232.

21 Race and the Death Penalty

Amsterdam, Anthony. "Race and the Death Penalty." In Morality Matters. p. 241.

Ezorsky, Gertrude. "Overt and Institutional Racism." Chapter 1 in Racism and Justice: The Case for Affirmative Action. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1991. ISBN: 0801499224.

Lawrence vs. Texas

Goodridge vs. Department of Public Health

V. Sexuality and Marriage
22 The Purpose of Sex

Aquinas, Thomas. "The Purpose of Sex." In Morality Matters. p. 268.

Levin, Michael. "Why Homosexuality is Abnormal." In Morality Matters. p. 281.

23 (Film in lecture, but keep reading)

Mohr, Richard. "Gay Basics: Some Questions, Facts, and Values." In Morality Matters. p. 273.

Lloyd, Elisabeth. "Pre-Theoretical Assumptions in Evolutionary Explanations of Female Sexuality." Philosophical Studies 69 (1993): 139-153.

24 Other Sexualities

West, Robin. "The Hams of Consensual Sex." Newsletter on Feminism and Philosophy 94, no. 2 (1995).

Collier, Jane, Michelle Z. Rosaldo, and Sylvia Yanagisako. "Is There a Family?" In The Gender/Sexuality Reader. Edited by Roger N. Lancaster and Micaela di Leonardo. New York, NY: Routledge, 1997. ISBN: 0415910056.

25 Marriage and Gay Marriage

Kant, Immanuel. "On Sexuality and Marriage." In Morality Matters. p. 271.

Calhoun, Cheshire. "Defending Marriage." Chapter 5 in Feminism, Family and the Politics of the Closet: Lesbian and Gay Displacement. Reprint ed. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2002. ISBN: 0199257663.

Other (Recommended) Readings

"Moral Relativism." Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2004. (Look especially at section 2.)

Rachels, James. "The Challenge of Cultural Relativism." Adapted from Rachels, James. The Elements of Moral Philosophy. 3rd ed. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill, 1999, chapter 2, pp. 15-29. ISBN: 0070525609.

Epicurus. "The Good Life." Letter to Menoeceus and Principal Doctrines. In Epicurus: The Extant Remains. Edited by Cyril Baily. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 1926.

Taylor, Charles. "The Diversity of Goods." In Utilitarianism and Beyond. Edited by Amartya Sen and Bernard Williams. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 2002 [1982]. ISBN: 0521287715.

Feldman, Fred. "The Categorical Imperative" and "Problems for CI2." In Introductory Ethics. New York, NY: Prentice Hall, 1978. ISBN: 0135017831.

MacIntyre. Alisdaire. "Tradition and the Virtues." In After Virtue: A Study in Moral Theory. 2nd ed. Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1984. ISBN: 0268006113.

Fraser, Nancy. "Reinventing the Welfare State." Boston Review Forum: Reinventing the Welfare State.

Cohen, Joshua. "Possessive Libertarianism." (PDF) (Courtesy of Joshua Cohen. Used here with permission.)