Ethics A 3501-WISIP-ETA
After defining the fundamental ethical categories (value, norm, duty, good, virtue, moral sense, moral law, etc.), the course will present the principal normative systems of the past: classical theories of virtue, Christian ethics, ethical theories of the Enlightenment, especially Kantianism and David Hume’s moral philosophy, utilitarianism and moral phenomenology. We will then move on to the approaches of the 20th and 21 century: contemporary liberalism, virtue ethics, communitarianism and the theory of rights. An outline of the Polish ethical thought will also be presented.
Type of course
Having completed the course, the student knows and understands
- the role of philosophical reflection in cultural processes.
- the relations between the principal domains of philosophy, as well as the main currents within these domains.
- the methods of interpreting philosophical texts.
Having completed the course, the students is able to
- analyze philosophical arguments, identify their principal theses and premises and the relations between them.
- apply basic logical methods, as well as typical strategies of argumentation.
- identify and analyze the principal theses of a given philosophical text.
Having completed the course, the student is ready to
- accept new ideas and change his or her opinions in the light of new data and arguments.
- confront the ethical problems of taking responsibility for the quality of philosophical inquiry and debate.
Active participation in group discussions.
Written essay on a topic related to the program of the course.
Permissible number of absences: 2
Ethical Theory. Classic and Contemporary Readings, fourth edition, Louis P. Polman, (ed.), Wadsworth 2002.
B. Williams, „Socrates’ Question”, in: Ethics and the Limits of Philosophy, Fontana Press 1985.
E. O. Wilson, “Sociobiology and Ethics”, ET 644-647.
M. Ruse, Evolution and Ethics: The Sociobiological Approach, ET 647-662.
Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, book I, II and VII; many editions.
G. E. Moore, Principia Ethica, Cambridge, At the University Press, 1903, sections 1-10 (or “Non-
Naturalism”, ET 412-418).
D. Hume, A Treatise of Human Nature, Book III, Part I, Sections I-II, many editions.
A. MacIntyre, After Virtue, chapter 14 or ET 363-376.
W. Frankena, A Critique of Virtue-Based Ethics, ET 350-355.
Aquinas, “Objectivism: Natural Law”, ET 20-33.
R. Nozick, Experience Machine, ET 118-119.
F. Nietzsche, The Transvaluation of Values, ET 127-133.
D. Parfit, What Makes Someone’s Life Go Best”, ET 134-140.
T. Nagel, Value: The View from Nowhere, ET 141-149.
I. Kant, Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals, chapters I and II; many editions.
W.D. Ross, What Makes a Right Act Right?”, ET 275-283.
O. O’Neill, Kantian Formula of the End in Itself and World Hunger, ET 284-293.
D. Hume, An Inquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals, Chapter I & V, Appendix I, many
editions and A Treatise of Human Nature, Book III, Part I, Sections I-II, many editions.
J. S. Mill, Utilitarianism, many editions.
J.J.C Smart, “Extreme and restricted utilitarianism”, ET 177-182.
S. Scheffler, Agent-Centered Restrictions, Rationality, and the Virtues, ET 224-232.
T. Czeżowski, “Ethics as an Empirical Science” Philosophy and Phenomenological Research
14 (1953): 163-171.
T. Kotarbiński, Principles of the Autonomous Ethics (Zasady etyki niezależnej); tanslation will be
H. Elzenberg, The Ideal of Salvation in Pure Ethics (Ideał zbawienia na gruncie etyki czystej);
tanslation will be provided.
Additional information (registration calendar, class conductors, localization and schedules of classes), might be available in the USOSweb system: