Ethical Reasoning (ER)

 Plato and Aristotle; Sophomore College student next to Gettysburg canon; Gandhi


Ethical Reasoning  (ER) courses spend a majority of course time understanding ethical theories or frameworks and, in some cases, applying such frameworks to particular policy domains or cases.


What counts as right and wrong action? What are valuable qualities of human character? We examine such questions in the study of ethics, as the ability to reason about ethical issues, draw defensible conclusions, and assess competing ethical claims is fundamental to individual development and to the functioning of a good society.


You might gain knowledge in the ER Way by taking courses that examine a particular ethical theory or theories (for example, Introduction to Moral Philosophy, Ethical Theory, Justice, Introduction to Global Justice, Contemporary Moral Problems) or with courses that consider questions of ethics in a number of contexts (for example, Ethics and Public Policy, Business Ethics, Computers, Ethics & Public Policy, Environmental Ethics).  Ethical Reasoning courses will typically include writing assignments focused on some ethical question or questions, or on analyzing a concrete case, policy, or dilemma using an ethical framework or frameworks.

You’ll need to take one course in Ethical Reasoning.  Thinking Matters courses, many Introductory Seminars, and some of your major requirements may also count towards your Ways coursework. Courses must be at least 3 units and taken for a letter grade.


You’ll find many courses that will allow you to explore Ethical Reasoning, but here are just a few:

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