Current Debates in Ethics (PHIL*4340)
Code and section: PHIL*4340*01
Term: Fall 2019
Instructor: John Hacker-Wright
This course is crosslisted with PHIL*6230
PHIL 4340/6230 Current Debates in Ethics
This course will examine the relationship of ethics and politics in the Aristotelian tradition ancient, medieval, and contemporary. To that end, we will focus on the concepts of friendship and political association in the Aristotelian tradition. We will begin with a crash course on Aristotle’s worldview with passages from the Physics and On the Soul, then turn to the Nicomachean Ethics with a focus on the role of friendship in a flourishing human life. Informed with this understanding, we will then read some parts of the Politics for insight into the nature of political association. Next, we will turn to some parallel passages in Thomas Aquinas’ great Summa Theologiae, and conclude with some material by contemporary scholars including G.E.M. Anscombe, Alasdair MacIntyre, and Lisa Tessman, treating these same matters from a contemporary standpoint. The goal will be to understand the nature and purpose of political association from the standpoint of a philosophical perspective that takes the notion of human flourishing as central, and to apply the argumentative strategies we find there in critical assessment of current political arrangements.