Concentration in Ethics

Ethics is the study of questions about how we should live and how things should be. For example:

  • How much should we give to the poor?
  • How should we distribute scarce bio-medical resources?
  • Should we violate the rights of individuals when we can bring about the greater good by doing so?
  • How should a society be organized if it is to count as just?

This concentration will give you a variety of different theoretical tools to help ask and answer such questions.

1. The Requirement

Students must take three of the following subjects:

17.051 Ethics of Energy Policy
21A.302J/WGS.271J: Dilemmas in Biomedical Ethics
21A.305J/STS.062J Drugs, Politics, and Culture
21A.410 Environmental Struggles
21A.442J/WGS.270J Violence, Human Rights, and Justice
21L.450: Leadership, Ethics, and Literature
24.02: Moral Problems and the Good Life
24.03: Good Food: The Ethics and Politics of Food
24.04J/17.01J: Justice
24.06J/STS.006J: Bioethics
24.120: Moral Psychology
24.131: Ethics of Technology
24.230: Meta-ethics
24.231: Ethics
24.235J/17.021J Philosophy of Law
24.236: Topics in Social Theory and Practice
24.237J/17.007J/WGS.301J Feminist Thought
STS.032 Energy, Environment, and Society
STS.049 The Long War Against Cancer
STS.085J/6.805J Foundations of Information Policy

At least one of the three must cover ethical theory (24.02, 24.04, 24.120, 24.230, 24.231).
Only one of the following three subjects may count towards the concentration: STS.032, STS.049, STS.085J.
A concentration proposal must be approved by the Ethics Concentration Advisor. If appropriate, the Ethics Concentration Advisor may approve courses other than those listed above.

2. Application Forms

Concentration credit in philosophy is obtained by submitting an on-line proposal form and afterwards submitting a certificate of completion form. Proposal and completion forms can be found at Both forms are reviewed and approved by the philosophy concentration advisor.

3. Consultation

Professor Jack Spencer is available for consultation. Please contact him at 32-D929, 617-253-5744 orĀ for an appointment.

Ms. Jennifer Purdy in 32-D812 (x3-9372; will also be glad to be of help, both in giving general information and in directing students to the faculty advisors.