This course is intended as a general introduction to the discipline of philosophy through an examination of various attempts throughout history to answer the very fundamental question, “What does it mean to be human?” Topics discussed include happiness, the soul, virtue, good and evil, and the like. Readings from classical sources include Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, Hume, Mill, Nietzsche, Sartre and others.
This course provides an examination of philosophical concepts and ideas that address questions regarding the problem of knowledge (epistemology), methods of reasoning and the nature of reality (metaphysics). Special attention will be given to applying these topics to an introduction to the philosophy of natural science. Readings include classical sources such as Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, Hume, Kant, and Hegel, as well as contemporary works.
A discussion and critical analysis of leading contemporary ethical theories, including utilitarianism, intuitionism, and virtue theories, among others. In addition, some consideration of criticisms by feminist philosophers of these traditional approaches to ethics will be given.
HPL 480:Environmental Policy: Philosophical and Economic Issues
This course introduces students to environmental policy and ethics, with special attention to the importance of economic considerations. Specific issues to be covered may include: the equity-efficiency contrast, different decision-making structures, the role of narratives in policy-making, externalities, public goods, property rights, market-failure, benefit-cost analysis, justice, the choice of categories in quantifying policy problems, the relationship of formal and informal rules, propaganda versus information, and the normative idea of rights. This course is an introduction to the interplay of politics, economics, and ethics as they enter into policy-making in the environmental arena.
An examination of basic positions in the field of environmental ethics with emphasis on principles of sustainability, whether there are legal and moral rights for nature, human treatment of animals, and environmental policy and decision-making.
An in-depth study of the most important theories of ethics—virtue ethics; deontological ethics; Utilitarianism—and their 20th and 21st century development. The class covers milestones in the history of ethics, insofar as they still have an impact on current discussions. Virtue ethics is studied in its classical form in Aristotle, which also allows students to address the unresolved problem of the scientific status of ethical theories. The class covers deontological and utilitarian ethics in their canonical form in Kant and Mill. Various methods and approaches that either criticize or transform these ethical theories are discussed in order to explore the theoretical options open to a 21st century ethicist. In addition to the basic moral theories, the class covers some of the necessary elements of human agency, i.e. free will, responsibility, and motivation. Finally, it covers some work in social ethics that has particular relevance for questions of economic justice and injustice.
This course offers an in-depth introduction to the applied ethics of technology-driven business. Beginning with an overview of the principles of business ethics, including Kantian Business Ethics, Virtue Based Ethics, and Stakeholder theories, we will move on to more specific topics including: the proper goals of business in society, the role of the public good in business, intellectual property, globalization, the ethics of advertising, and the status of the corporation as a moral agent. The course will end with a critical examination of more ethical dilemmas arising from technology-driven business and industry. Particular attention will be given to recent corporate scandals as cases of ethical failure.
This course is an in depth overview of various debates in environmental ethics. We will consider the way in which ethical theories inform environmental decision-making in a number of situations including a selection of the following: the conservation of biodiversity, global climate change, human population growth, animal exploitation in agriculture, air and water pollution, and urban solid waste. Questions addressed include the following: Should we be concerned about the impact of human life on the environment? To what extent should sacrifices be made in order to protect the environment? Which ethical frameworks are most effective in resolving disputes? To what extent are solutions based purely on economic concerns inadequate? Special attention will be given to the ways in which traditional ethical theories must be amended in order to address environmental concerns.
This course considers issues at the intersection of ecology, economics, public policy, and ethics. Specific issues to be covered may include: the history of environmental policy in the US, the role of Federal agencies in forming environmental policy, how values ought to play a role in environmental science, externalities, public goods, property rights, market-failure, benefit-cost analysis, environmental justice, the policy questions resulting from global climate change, propaganda versus information, and how pollution can infringe on human rights. This class does not count for undergraduate humanities credit.
School: College of Arts & Letters
Research & Education
Ph.D. (Philosophy) 2005, Johns Hopkins University
M.A. (Philosophy) 2002, Johns Hopkins University
M.S. (Molecular Biology) 1998, University of Pittsburgh
M.A. (History and Philosophy of Science) 1997, University of Pittsburgh
Dip.Grad. (Medical Ethics) 1993, University of Otago, New Zealand
B.S. (Biochemistry) 1992, University of Otago, New Zealand
B.A. (Economics) 1992, University of Otago, New Zealand
Experience & Service
Graduate Curriculum Committee
Achievements & Professional Societies
Honors & Awards
Phi Beta Kappa for the PhD.
Co-winner of the History of Science Society's 2009 Price-Webster Award for best article in Isis.
Grants, Contracts & Funds
NSF doctoral improvement award
American Philosophical Association
Philosophy of Science Association
International Society for the History, Philosophy and Social Studies of Biology
Anglea N H Creager and Gregory J Morgan. (2008). "After the Double Helix: Rosalind Franklin's research on Tobacco Mosaic Virus", Isis, 99 239-272.
Gregory J Morgan & W Brad Pitts. (2008). "Evolution without Species: The Case of Mosaic Bacteriophges", British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, 59 745-765.
Gregory J Morgan. (2009). "The Many Dimensions of Biodiversity", Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, 40 235-238.
Gregory J Morgan. (2010). "Is Science Value Free: Heather Douglas, Science Policy and the Value Free Ideal", Science and Engineering Ethics, (16), 423-426.
Gregory J Morgan. (2010). "Laws of Biological Design: A Reply to John Beatty", Biology and Philosophy, (25), 379-389.
Gregory J Morgan. (2010). "Evaluating Maclaurin and Sterelney's conception of biodiversity in cases of frequent promiscuous lateral gene transfer", Biology and Philosophy , 25 603-621.