|SCIENTIFIC DISCIPLINARY SECTOR||M-FIL/03|
Contemporary Moral Theories is an advanced course in moral philosophy, which aims to offer an overview of the most recent ethical and metaethical discussion from both historical and theoretical perspectives, with particular reference to the Anglo-American debate. It integrates, therefore, foundational and normative issues, discussed through key currents and authors of contemporary debate.
The course aims to examine the main themes and currents in which contemporary ethical and metaethical reflection is articulated, with particular reference to the Anglo-American debate.
Upon completion of the teaching, the student will be expected to:
- know the main ethical currents in the contemporary Anglo-American debate and trace their historical and theoretical roots;
- master rival models of moral reasoning, knowing how to argue from them and discuss competing theses;
- analyze and recognize the different strategies of foundation of ethics and critically evaluate them;
- deal with and analyze specialized texts, acquiring an adequate technical language.
A previous basic knowledge of the main classic ethical theories and problems is required, as well as the knowledge of some essential readings.
Lessons will be given with the aid of ppt presentations. They have the form of seminars, rather than lectures, and are focused on discussion. In the second part of the course, students will be asked to give a presentation based on a reading list assigned by the teacher.
Lessons will be held in presence. Attendance, although not compulsory, is recommended. Only those who attend lessons in presence will be deemed attending students. The teacher, upon specific request by single students, could allow them to access the recordings of the lessons via Teams. However, students not attending in presence won't be eligible for the reduced reading list available to students regularly attending in presence.
This year's course is intended as an introduction to the fruitful debate on the nature of morality developed in the Oxford of the 1950s, and continued in the following decades, by great protagonists of twentieth-century ethics as A.J. Ayer, R.M. Hare, G.E.M. Anscombe, P. Foot, I. Murdoch and P. Geach (1st module, 3CFU).
In the second part of the course, attending students will select with the help of the lecturer a text that will be the subject of in-class presentation and written paper (2nd module, 3CFU).
Non-attending students are required to contact the lecturer in good time to agree on a personalized program.
Please note that international students can email Prof. Vaccarezza to agree upon a different reading list, if needed. In this case, they are supposed to do so in due time before the exam (min. 1 month), or else they won't be allowed to take the exam.
S. Kirchin, Metaethics, Palgrave McMillan 2012
One among the following:
- R.M. Hare, The Language of Morals, Clarendon, Oxford 1991.
- A.J. Ayer, Language, Truth and Logic, Dover Pubns; Reprint 1946.
- B. Lipscomb, The Women Are Up to Something. How Elizabeth Anscombe, Philippa Foot, Mary Midgley, and Iris Murdoch Revolutionized Ethics, Oxford University Press, New York 2021.
- I. Murdoch, The Sovereignty of Good, Routledge, London 2001.
- P. Foot, Virtues and Vices and Other Essays in Moral Philosophy, Clarendon, Oxford 2003.
NB: Students who will attend classes will be allowed to replace the study of the second text with a written essay (see exam description)
Office hours: Monday 3pm-5pm (by prior appointment)
Oct. 24, 2022
All class schedules are posted on the EasyAcademy portal.
For all students, the exam will be oral.
Students attending classes: 1/2 of the final evaluation will depend on the quality of the discussion and of the oral presentation in class. Study of the second text can be replaced by a written essay of 3000-4000 words, on a topic assigned by the lecturer during classes.
Students not attending classes: please, email Prof. Vaccarezza in due time to agree upon the reading list.
The oral exam will consist in an interview on the topics of the course.
The attainment of the main learning outcomes will be assessed and discussed.