History of Ethics to 1900

This is a course in the History of Philosophical Ethics, or Ethical Theory, and it has as its main aim thoroughly to familiarize the student with most of the main arguments and analyses concerning ethical issues advanced by Western moral philosophers up to 1900.

One might best approach this course as a "Great Books" or "Great Authors" study, where the primary task is to understand the ethical views of Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, Aquinas, Hobbes, Butler, Hume, Immanuel Kant, John Stuart Mill, and Henry Sidgwick, along with a number of lesser figures.

From the lecturer's point of view, the material of the course is viewed as a dialectical stream proceeding from Pre Socratic Greece to the England of 1900, in which the recurring antitheses are: "The Good" as something specifically human (Protagoras, Aristotle, Hobbes, Hume, Mill) and "The Good" as something transcendental to human nature (Plato, Clark, Price, Kant, and  in the early 20th Century  G. E. Moore).

Resources

USC Course Phil442

This is a course in the History of Philosophical Ethics, or Ethical Theory, and it has as its main aim thoroughly to familiarize the student with most of the main arguments and analyses concerning ethical issues advanced by Western moral philosophers up to 1900.

Because of the vast area to be covered, there will be a large amount of reading to be done, most of it in primary sources.  

The student might best approach this course as a "Great Books" or "Great Authors" study, where the primary task is to understand the ethical views of Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, Aquinas, Hobbes, Butler, Hume, Immanuel Kant, John Stuart Mill, and Henry Sidgwick, along with a number of lesser figures.

From the lecturer's point of view, the material of the course is viewed as a dialectical stream proceeding from Pre Socratic Greece to the England of 1900, in which the recurring antitheses are: "The Good" as something specifically human (Protagoras, Aristotle, Hobbes, Hume, Mill) and "The Good" as something transcendental to human nature (Plato, Clark, Price, Kant, and  in the early 20th Century  G. E. Moore). 

TEXTS:

  1. Melden, A. I., Ethical Theories
  2. Sidgwick, Henry, Outlines of the History of Ethics
  3. D. D. Raphael, British Moralists, two volumes
  4. Darwall, S., The British Moralist and the Internal 'Ought'
  5. Sidgwick, Methods of Ethics.
            & Numerous photocopy handouts.
  6. On reserve for student inspection and use: Frankena, Ethics, Selby Bigge, L. A., ed., British Moralist, two volumes (See especially the "Introduction" in vol. I); J. B. Schneewind, Moral Philosophy from Montaigne to Kant: An Anthology; and A. MacIntyre, A Short History of Ethics.

 

Click the "Download" link for the complete 67-page syllabus.

Assets

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