Ethics & Social Justice (Semester 3)

The discipline of ethics deals with two sets of issues. On the one hand, it concerns itself with the general question of how we ought to live our lives. This, in turn, includes questions like: What kinds of actions are right or wrong if we want to live a good life? What kind of person should one be? What might happiness mean? On the other hand, ethics also deals with questions about morality itself. Hence, some moral philosophers have raised the question of whether there are any moral truths at all, while others have attempted to conceptualize the difference between right and wrong actions. In this course, we will examine both these sorts of questions. We will also (briefly) examine several contemporary theories of justice.


Since the syllabi in MCPH are dynamic and regularly updated, this reading list is indicative and amenable to modifications in each session.

Plato, The Republic (Book I, II, IX)

Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics (Book I–VII)

Epictetus, Enchiridion

Epicurus, The Essential Epicurus

Kant, Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals

Hume, An Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals

Mill, Utilitarianism

Nietzsche, Genealogy of Morals

Sundar Sarukkai and Gopal Guru, The Cracked Mirror (select chapters)