467: Contemporary Ethical theories
PHIL 467: Contemporary Ethical Theories
The Generic Catalog Description
The works of contemporary moral philosophers in the analytic or continental tradition are examine and compared.
PHIL 467: Contemporary Ethical Theories: Narrative and Values
Toward the end of the 20th century, many scholarly fields took a “narrative turn.” Philosophy numbered among them – especially in ethics, philosophy of the self and agency, and philosophy of law. This philosophical interest in narrative was sparked in part by feminists’ and critical race theorists’ concern that power was being used to silence the voices of women and people of color. In addition, post-structuralism’s skepticism about the unity, indeed the very existence, of an inner self contributed to this interest. This seminar surveys a broad range of views concerning how narrative encodes moral and political values and how narrative can serve as a tool of resistance to established norms and institutions. We will examine the nature of narrative, fiction as a vehicle for expressing moral value, narrative views of moral relations and law, relations between narrative and argument, and narrative articulations of demands for social or legal reform. Moral, personal, epistemic, and aesthetic values are implicated in these issues, and we will attend to the interplay between narrative and diverse kinds of value throughout this seminar.
PHIL 467: Contemporary Ethical Theories: God, Morality, and Evil
This class will focus on two of the central questions of philosophy. The first question is: "what difference does it make for morality if God exists or does not exist?" People hold very divergent views on this topic. Some think that God has everything to do with morality and hold that God's will or Gods' commands are the only possible basis for an objective morality. Others think that God is irrelevant to morality. Starting with Plato, the dominant view in Western philosophy is that basic moral standards are independent of God. We will examine the divine command theory and other theories that attempt to based morality on God and God's will. The second question concerns the problem of evil: "Is the existence of so much suffering and evil in the world consistent with the existence of a loving, morally good, and omnipotent God?"
Readings include Plato's Euthyphro, selections from medieval philosophers, Dostoevsky's Grand Inquisitor, Robert and Marilyn Adams, The Problem of Evil, and Robert Adams's Finite and Infinite Goods.