Featured ETHICS Courses – Spring 2018

HOUSECS 59.02, Sun 2:00-3:30pm, Bishop’s House

Inter-generational Ethics: The Millennial Perspective

Want to break out of the Duke bubble and discuss current events and ethical issues with Durham residents?

Sign up for the only course at Duke that partners with the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute to connect undergrads with senior citizens!


ETHICS 101, MW 3:05-4:20, West Duke 101, CZ, EI,

This course is an interdisciplinary introduction to ethical inquiry using materials from film to philosophy to explore questions of personal ethics as well as political and social ethical challenges. Taught by Jesse Summers.

This course serves as the Gateway for the Ethics & Society Certificate.


ETHICS 111S, T 3:05-5:35, McClendon Level 2, EI,

This course provides an opportunity to ponder, critique, and reflectively engage diverse perspectives on persistent questions related to the concept of a life well-lived. Includes such topics as purpose, vision, direction, passion, creativity, courage, determination, accomplishment, success, failure, death, virtue, character, habit, friendship, and community. Readings, exercises, and discussions encourage students to examine how these topics intersect with their own lives and those of others. Priority given to first-year students. Consent of instructor is required. Taught by Alex Hartemink.

This course fulfills the Philosophical Ethics requirement for the Course-Based Pathway of the Ethics & Society Certificate.


ETHICS 215, T 5:45-8:30, West Duke,

This half-credit, Service Learning course partners students with locally resettled refugee families to identify social problems in the community and work toward solutions for addressing them. Students will work one-on-one with refugees to complete coursework and/or projects for the Service Learning component of this course. By working with refugees, Duke students develop a better awareness of global issues present at a local level. End products of this course vary by semester. Students have worked to help produce films, gallery exhibits, and other public pieces relaying the refugee experience. This course is part of the MASTERY/SuWA refugee mentorship program. Taught by Suzanne Shanahan.

This course provides an experience that would help fulfill one of the requirements for the Human Rights track for the Experiential Pathway of the Ethics & Society Certificate.


ETHICS 253S, WF 3:05-4:20, West Duke 107F, SS, EI,

Preparation course for students who plan to undertake a summer internship through the Kenan Purpose Program. Engages students in their own pursuit of a purpose-oriented life. Exploration of meaning, purpose, and vocation in historical and contemporary contexts. Introduces durable philosophical questions and key social, cultural, and historical forces that shape current definitions of a good life. Guided reflection on integrating big questions, contemporary context, and practical vocational discernment skills. Readings to be selected from literary, philosophical, sociological, and theological writings and present-day case studies. Instructor consent is required. Taught by Christian Ferney.

This course fulfills the Philosophical Ethics requirement for the Course-Based Pathway of the Ethics & Society Certificate and might provide the opportunity to fulfill a requirement for the Experiential Pathway.


ETHICS 260S, TTh 3:05-4:20, West Duke 107F, Codes TBD,

Using texts from the virtue ethics tradition, seminar will take up questions regarding definitions of “happiness” and “virtue,” relation between happiness and practice of virtue, how both connect to human nature and friendships, and modern critiques of virtue-based ethics. Readings from Aristotle, Elizabeth Anscombe, Alasdair MacIntyre, Martha Nussbaum. Taught by John Rose.

This course fulfills the Philosophical Ethics requirement for the Course-Based Pathway of the Ethics & Society Certificate.


ETHICS 288S, TTh 10:05-11:20, West Duke 107F, Codes TBD,

Uses case studies from different arenas of environmental policy (e.g., climate and clean air, water and waste, forests, oceans, energy) to surface normative assumptions often implicit in policy design and implementation. Links ethics to ethos (beliefs, aspirations, and spirit of a community or culture) to suggest that policies are not only pragmatic guidelines for decision-making and action, but also fundamental declarations concerning the character of human flourishing and the shape of the natural world, which is why environmental policies are often so contentious. Seeks to help students understand this aspect of environmental policy and to negotiate these deep-seated ethical conflicts. Students will have the opportunity to conduct their own qualitative research and produce policy analysis for publication. Throughout the course, students will interact with stakeholders involved in an environmental policy or decision-making process and participate in one or more skills-building workshops and/or field trips. Taught by David Toole and Kay Jowers.

This course counts as an Ethics of Contemporary Issues elective for the Course-Based Pathway of the Ethics & Society Certificate and an Ethics & Environmental Policy elective for the Experiential Pathway.


ETHICS 320S, T 3:05-5:35pm, Languages 114B, EI, CZ,

It is often said that literature encourages ethical reflection, and even that it somehow fortifies our disposition to behave in ethical ways. This class will consider a different possibility, that literature, or narrative more generally, often represents or provokes circumstances of extreme moral uncertainty. Such uncertainty, sometimes focused in a moment of decision and sometimes arising from a clash of perspectives, can gather around characters, narrators, authors, and even readers. We will be focusing on a few works of literary and cinematic art, ranging from the Book of Genesis to Ian McEwan’s Atonement, in which moral issues emerge with particular urgency and complexity. Taught by Geoffrey Harpham.

This course fulfills the Ethics in Literature and Arts requirement for the Course-Based Pathway of the Ethics & Society Certificate.