After taking the course, students will be able to
- Distinguish between different ethical theories,
- Summarize and explain a number of prominent positions in the Western canon, and
- Apply different frameworks to analyse and evaluate current challenges.
In this course you will examine different doctrines of philosophical ethics or ‘practical reason’, by means of a thorough and critical reading of some of their proponents. It deals with fundamental ideas concerning the kinds of arguments and legitimations that establish moral standards, goals, and obligations. The primary sources it contains, represent different perspectives, like virtue ethics (Aristotle), stoicism (Epictetus), natural law (Aquinas), deontology (Kant), utilitarianism (Bentham, Mill), phenomenology (Levinas), etc. But these fashionable and impressive labels do not really matter; important are the basic ideas that they convey and the discussions they evoke.|
Basic questions are: “What is the moral element in human behaviour?”, “What are the preconditions and the limitations of human responsibility?”, “What is a virtue, and what is a moral duty?” “What is a moral law, and in what respect does it differ from natural and legal law?”
This course will take place in the second quartile of the second year. It will be given by Jan Hoogland, Michael Nagenborg and Nils Wagner. Every class on Wednesday is intended as a seminar for information, reading suggestions and study guidelines, and for discussion with the teacher. Classes on Monday (except the first one) are preparatory group sessions. An extensive study guide will be available at the beginning of the course.