Stuart Rachels


Outline of a Syllabus

Instructors using The Elements of Moral Philosophy, 5/e, and The Right Thing to Do, 4/e, might like this idea for a syllabus. Students read Elements cover-to-cover, while selections from The Right Thing to Do are paired with appropriate chapters.

Ch. 1, "What is Morality?" (Elements)
"Some Basic Points about Arguments," James Rachels (TRTTD)
"Will Cloning Harm People?" Gregory E. Pence (TRTTD)

Ch. 2, "The Challenge of Cultural Relativism" (Elements)

Ch. 3, "Subjectivism in Ethics" (Elements)
"The Subjectivity of Values," J. L. Mackie (TRTTD)
"Morality as Based on Sentiment," David Hume (TRTTD)
"Is Homosexuality Unnatural?" Burton M. Leiser (TRTTD)

Ch. 4, "Does Morality Depend on Religion?" (Elements)
"Why Abortion Is Immoral," Don Marquis (TRTTD)
"A Defense of Abortion," Judith Jarvis Thomson (TRTTD)

Ch. 5, "Ethical Egoism" (Elements)
"9/11 and Starvation," Mylan Engel, Jr. (TRTTD)
"The Singer Solution to World Poverty," Peter Singer (TRTTD)
"Is Racial Discrimination Arbitrary?" Peter Singer (TRTTD)

Ch. 6, "The Utilitarian Approach" (Elements)
"Utilitarianism," John Stuart Mill (TRTTD)
"All Animals Are Equal," Peter Singer (TRTTD)
"Do Animals Have Rights?" Tibor R. Machan (TRTTD)
"The Morality of Euthanasia," James Rachels (TRTTD)
"Assisted Suicide: Pro-Choice or Anti-Life?" Richard Doerflinger (TRTTD)

Ch. 7, "The Debate over Utilitarianism" (Elements)
"Utilitarianism and Integrity," Bernard Williams (TRTTD)
"The Experience Machine," Robert Nozick (TRTTD)
"The Immorality of SUVs and Trucks," Douglas Husak (TRTTD)

Ch. 8, "Are There Absolute Moral Rules?" (Elements)
"The Categorical Imperative," Immanuel Kant (TRTTD)
"The Ethics of War and Peace," Douglas P. Lackey (TRTTD)
"America's Unjust Drug War," Michael Huemer (TRTTD)

Ch. 9, "Kant and Respect for Persons" (Elements)
"In Defense of the Death Penalty," Ernest van den Haag (TRTTD)
"The Case against the Death Penalty," Hugo A. Bedau (TRTTD)

Ch. 10, "The Idea of a Social Contract" (Elements)
"The Social Contract," Thomas Hobbes (TRTTD)
"Letter from the Birmingham City Jail," Martin Luther King, Jr. (TRTTD)
"In Defense of Quotas," James Rachels (TRTTD)

Ch. 11, "Feminism and the Ethics of Care" (Elements)
"The Feminist Revelation," Christina Hoff Sommers (TRTTD)

Ch. 12, "The Ethics of Virtue" (Elements)
"The Virtues," Aristotle (TRTTD)
"Preserving the Environment," Thomas E. Hill, Jr. (TRTTD)

Ch. 13, "What Would a Satisfactory Moral Theory Be Like?" (Elements)