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Course Co-ordinated by IIT Kanpur
Dr. Vineet Sahu
IIT Kanpur


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Ethics or moral thinking is an important part of our lives. We all do moral thinking. 

This course on ethics aims to spark the student into sustained thinking about ethical issues and the theories on which they are based.


Serial No.


No. of lectures


Introduction to Ethical Theories:

  1. Consequentialist and Non-consequentialist theories

  2. Hedonism

  3. Utilitarianism

  4. Deontological theories (with reference to Immanuel Kant)

  5. Ethical Rules (with reference to W D Ross)

  6. Situation Ethics

  7. Virtue Ethics



Meta-ethical Theories:

  1. Ethical Relativism: Is Anything Wrong at all?

  2. Ethical Naturalism

  3. Non-naturalism

  4. Non-cognitive or Nondescripitivist Theories

  5. Intuitionism

  6. Approach to an Adequate Theory; the Moral point of view

  7. Why be Moral?



Ethics in the Indian tradition:

  1. Dharma- meaning, definition and classification

  2. Theory of Karma

  3. Nishkam Karma

  4. Gandhian Ethics

  5. Pursarthas

  6. Buddhist Ethics

  7. Jaina Ethics



Some Ethical Issues:

  1. The Personal life: Family and friends; Sexuality; Virtues

  2. Liberty and Equality: Free Speech; Sexual and Racial Discrimination; Affirmative Action

  3. Justice: Punishment; Economic Justice; World Hunger and International Justice

  4. Environmental Ethics





  1. Frankena, W.K. Ethics. New Delhi: Prentice Hall of India,1999.

  2. Hospers, John. An Introduction to Philosophical Analysis. New Delhi: Allied Publishers, 1967.

  3. LaFollette, Hugh, ed. Ethics in Practice: An Anthology. Cambridge: Blackwell,1997.

  4. Radhakrishnan,S. Indian Philosophy. 2 Vols. New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1940.




  1. Blackburn, Simon. The Oxford dictionary of philosophy. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996.

  2. Weston, Anthony. A 21st Century Ethical Toolbox. New York: Oxford University Press, 2008.

  3. Hospers, John. An introduction to philosophical analysis. New Delhi: Allied Publishers Private Limited, 1967.

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