Are there some things that just shouldn’t be for sale? Should I be able to buy your ‘spare’ kidney? You might think that if you are willing and I have the money then there’s no harm involved. But think about why you might want to sell that kidney – would you really do it unless you were desperate? And does your desperation mean I would be taking advantage of you?
These are the sorts of questions that we cover in Applied Ethics. We identify ethical questions of concern and attempt to go about answering them in systematic ways. We thus learn about the issues themselves and also about how best to think through the right answers to our ethical problems.
Given the applied nature of the course the topics surveyed vary year by year, but typically we ask questions such as: what is our duty to animals; whether it’s permissible to have children, (life may be a gift but it’s not a gift without downsides); what is it that’s bad about death?