Online Guide to Ethics and Moral Philosophy

Robert Cavalier

Philosophy Department
Carnegie Mellon

Part I History of Ethics

Preface: The Life of Socrates
Section 1: Greek Moral Philosophy
Section 2: Hellenistic and Roman Ethics
Section 3: Early Christian Ethics
Section 4: Modern Moral Philosophy
Section 5: 20th Century Analytic Moral Philosophy

Part II Concepts and Problems

Preface: Meta-ethics, Normative Ethics and Applied Ethics
Section 1: Ethical Relativism
Section 2: Ethical Egoism
Section 3: Utilitarian Theories
Section 4: Deontological Theories
Section 5: Virtue Ethics
Section 6: Liberal Rights and Communitarian Theories
Section 7: Ethics of Care
Section 8: Case-based Moral Reasoning
Section 9: Moral Pluralism

Part III Applied Ethics

Preface: The Field of Applied Ethics
Section 1: The Topic of Euthanasia
Multimedia Module: A Right to Die? The Dax Cowart Case
Section 2: The Topic of Abortion
Multimedia Module: The Issue of Abortion in America
Postscript: Conflict Resolution

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Greek Moral Philosophy

At the time of Socrates, Greek culture already had a long history. Through a series of migrations/invasions, early Greek civilization had a achieved its first high point during the Mycenean Period (c. 1,150-1,000 BCE). The epic Battle of Troy (c. 1,200 BCE) was later to be retold by Homer (c. 750 BCE) in the Iliad and the Odyssey. These stories (mythoi) were emblematic of the Greek self-understanding as it withstood a series of invasions from Persia during the opening of the Fifth Century. And it was this century that was to witness the Golden Age of Pericles as well as the decline and downfall of Athens. It was also this setting that provided the cultural context for the writings of Plato and Aristotle in the Fourth Century BCE.



A number of excellent resources in Greek civilization and philosophy are becoming available on the Web. Of special importance are the Perseus Project at Tufts (see, especially, Thomas Martin's Overview of Greek History) and MIT's Classics Archive .

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Copyright 2002 (first published 1/96)