Ethics in Theory and Practice: An Integrated Honors/Philosophy
Living-Learning Second-year Program
This ETP program coordinates the Honors Program second-year seminar (HOPR 2953) with Theory of Ethics (PHIL 2310) in a living-learning environment. The ETP program is offered to up to 30 second-year honors program students and consists of enrolling in a designated HOPR 2953 section in the fall semester, enrolling in a designated PHIL 2310 section in the spring and residing on a designated Honors ETP floor.
The second-year seminar gives students the opportunity “to investigate a topic from a perspective that joins a specific disciplinary technique (e.g., literary analysis, philosophical inquiry, scientific empiricism) with a nontraditional academic approach in an effort to broaden the confines of intellectual inquiry.” Such non-traditional approaches include contemplative practice and experiential/reflection techniques. The goal of all HOPR 2953 sections is to help students appreciate the value of contemplative and experiential practices in gaining a richer understanding of the meaning and implications of an issue and explore the reciprocal relationship between the contemplative and intellectual.
Theory of Ethics (PHIL 2310), as a philosophical investigation into the fundamental problems of moral norms and moral decision-making, is intended “to provide students with a deeper understanding of their own and other people’s ethical conduct ... (and) should enable students to make educated, reflective judgments about some of the most important issues that every human being has to face." Thus, as its extended description states, “a mere listing of positions, historical or systematic, is not sufficient to enable the student to appreciate the importance of personal involvement with, and reflection upon, the central issues and problems of ethics.”
By coordinating the content and approach of these two courses in a living/learning situation, the ETP seeks to provide an environment for students to develop the habits and skills of a contemplative/experiential approach taught in HOPR 2953. This approach anticipates the moral and ethical questions/theorizing of PHIL 2310 and allows the instructors of PHIL 2310 to make use of these habits/skills in their teaching of ethics in a way that has the real possibility of “personal involvement with, and reflection upon, the central issues and problems of ethics.” It will enable students to make educated, reflective judgments about some of the most important issues that every human being has to face. This course pairing will involve a living-learning environment to further allow students to bring into their lives ethical theory and contemplative practice through accompanying student life/Honors programming to include speakers, mentoring programs and service opportunities.