Ethical Theories

Instructor: Dr. Jan Garrett

This page was last updated January 16, 2008.

Other Material on Ethical Theory on Dr. Garrett's Academic Website

A. Descriptive Ethical Theories

1. Theories of Moral Development

Kohlberg's and Gilligan's Theories

2. What a leading Harvard Psychologist Has to Say about Morality

Steven Pinker on The Moral Instinct

3. Insights from Cognitive Linguistics

a. Notes on Lakoff on Metaphor, Folk Morality, and Public Policy (Not available right now)
b. Metaphor, Morality, and Politics by George Lakoff
c. Strict Father Academics (from Lakoff's Moral Politics)
d. More online material related to George Lakoff and his ideas (not required reading)

B. Normative Ethical Theories


1. Theories with Ancient Roots

a. Virtue Ethics (Aristotelian)

b. Emotions and Values for Turbulent Times (A Stoic Perspective)


2. Theories with Roots in 17th-19th Century Europe and America

a. Utilitarianism: Some Basic Observations (Basic)

b. Libertarianism

b1. Libertarianism: A Brief Summary (Basic)
b2. Common Misunderstandings of Libertarianism (Basic; new 10-3-05)

c. Kant's Duty Ethics (Basic)

d. Comparison of Autonomy Liberalism and Libertarianism (Basic)


3. Important Developments Since 1950

a. Care Theory

b. John Rawls' View of Justice (Basic Level: Revised 2-5-02);

d. Rawls' Mature Theory of Social Justice: An Introduction for Students (2-24-04);
    see also the related Study Questions on Rawls (2-5-02).

e. Martha Nussbaum on Capabilities and Human Rights (Rev. 1-27-04)