3301 Syllabus Fall 2017.1.MDB.docx - Syllabus PHI 330101 Moral Philosophy Fall 2017 MWF 10:10-11:00 a.m 108 Morrison Hall of 8 page 1 PROFESSOR Michael

3301 Syllabus Fall 2017.1.MDB.docx - Syllabus PHI 330101...

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Syllabus PHI 3301–01 Moral Philosophy Fall 2017 / MWF 10:10-11:00 a.m. / 108 Morrison Hall page 1 of 8 P ROFESSOR : Michael Beaty Office: 217 Morrison Hall Phone: 710-4806 (office); 710-4237 (Dept. Office) Email: [email protected] Office Hours: Monday-Wednesday, 11:00-12:00 a.m. (and by appointment throughout the school week) T EACHING A SSISTANTS : Sarah Gutierrez: [email protected] Office Hours: Tuesday 12:45 to 1:45 p.m. and Wednesday 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. (and by appointment) Ryan Bond: [email protected] Office Hours: Monday 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. and Wednesday 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. (and by appointment) C OURSE O VERVIEW : In this course, we will compare the moral vocabularies, moral psychologies and normative ethical theories of five pivotal thinkers in the West—Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas, Immanuel Kant, Friedrich Nietzsche, and John Stuart Mill. Along the way, we will ask the following questions: What is morality? What is the relationship of morality to human happiness or to human flourishing? Is it an essential or inessential relationship? Is morality objective or merely subjective? How should we live and what sorts of characteristics (virtues) should we aspire to have, if we are to live morally well-formed lives? What sorts of characteristics (vices) should we deplore and avoid? (If any?) Are there moral rules or principles that are essential to a well-live life? If so, what are they? What is the role of reason in a morally well-formed life? What is the role of faith in a morally well- formed life? We will begin by identifying some important elements of our current cultural context, elements that provide the background for our survey of moral philosophy. Then we will discuss a trenchant critique of modern moral practices by Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900). After Nietzsche, we identify and discuss key features of the objective ethical theories of Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) and John Stuart Mill (1806-1873), each of whom articulates a compelling way to think systematically about moral dimensions of our lives, even in contemporary culture. Kant places the focus on rules and obligations and Mill on the consequences of our actions relative to the “greatest good,” which he thinks is pleasure. And both emphasize human freedom in a way that places God at arm’s length in the moral life. And this move raises an important question: What is the relationship of God to morality, if God exists. We will examine or explore a classical conception of the moral life, one in which eudaimonia or human happiness/flourishing, good and bad character (virtues and vices), friendship, and community life are central, essential features of a morally good life for human beings. The two main figures we will consider as representatives of the eudaimonistic tradition are Aristotle (384- 322 BC) and Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274 AD).
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