Learning outcomes of the course unit
1- Knowledge and understanding
Goal of the first part: knowledge of the structure of the main moral theories.
Goal of the second part: knowledge of the development of ethical theories with regard to the relation between human beings and nature, both in the history of philosophy and in the contemporary debate.
2- Applying knowledge and understanding
Application of the theoretical basis acquired though the analysis of the contemporary debate on the extension of respect to the environment and to animals.
3-4-5 Making judgments, communication and learning skills
Acquiring the capacities of an autonomous judgment on themes pertinent to moral and civil life and of the capacity to reason on different positions. Capacity to formulate one’s own reflections in an argumentative and coherent manner.
Course contents summary
The course consists of two parts:
1- The first part presents structures and normative criteria that characterize the main moral theories (deontology, consequentialism, virtue ethics). The course begins with adiscussion of parts of Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics and will focus on the differences between virtue ethics and deontologic and utilitarian ethics by analysing some of the relevant texts.
2- Course on Ethics and Nature. Central themes discussed: the normativity of nature in ancient ethics and its decline in modernity; Hume’s law and the naturalistic fallacy; the comeback of teleology and naturalism in contemporary ethics: the nature as that which ought to be respected and preserved.
A-First part of the course
A. Da Re, Filosofia morale. Storia, teoria, argomenti, Bruno Mondadori, Milano 2008.
Aristotele, Etica Nicomachea, Bompiani, Milano 2000.
B- Second part
J.Stuart Mill, La natura, in Saggi sulla religione, Feltrinelli, Milano 1987.
H.Jonas, Il principio responsabilità. Un’etica per la civiltà tecnologica, Einaudi, Torino 1997.
H.Jonas, Frontiere della vita, frontiere della tecnica, Il Mulino, Bologna 2011.
Further readings: S.Pollo, La morale della natura, Laterza, Bari 2008.
L.Boella, Neuroetica. La morale prima della morale, Cortina, Milano 2008.
F.Botturi,R.Mordacci, (a cura di) Natura in etica, Vita e Pensiero, Milano 2009.
M.Reichlin, Etica della vita. Nuovi paradigmi morali, B.Mondadori, Milano 2008.
R.Spaemann, R. Löw, Fini naturali. Storia e riscoperta del pensiero teleologico, Ares, Milano 2013.
Reading and interpretation of texts
Oral presentation by students on selections that present relevant approaches on the relation between ethics, nature and life.
Assessment methods and criteria
At the end of the first part there will be a written exam that consists of a series of questions that aim to verify the comprehensions of the themes discussed and the student’s capacity to formulate their own reflections in clear and argumentative form. The exam will be evaluated with a grade (maximum: 30); the students will have personal feedback on their result.
The final exam will be oral. The final grade is the average of the first and the second exam. The oral exam will aim to verify in particular: 1- reading comprehension of philosophical texts; 2- capacity to use the technical terms appropriately; 3- capacity to describe and explain complex problems clearly.