Professor Gary Jason, PhD | Classics in Western Philosophy – Values and Morality

Classics in Western Philosophy – Values and Morality


Classics in Western Philosophy

Values and Morality

Teacher: Prof. Gary Jason

Office & Hours: AH-4146 MWF 11:00am and by appt.

Phone (Toll-free): 888-231-8183  FAX (Toll-free): 888-252-9256


Texts (required):

Plato, Republic, translated by Grube and Reeve, Hackett.

Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, translated by Thomson & Tredennick, Penguin Books.

Kant, Immanuel, Grounding for the Metaphysics of Morals, translated by James W. Ellington, Hackett.

Mill, John Stuart, Utilitarianism, edited by George Sher, Hackett.

Kaufman, Walter, Existentialism from Dostoevsky to Sartre, revised edition, Meridian Books.

Course Description: This course is intended for seniors not majoring in Philosophy to give them a rigorous introduction to moral philosophy/ethical theory. We will examine and compare the views about moral life given in a group of very influential classic texts.

Requirements: Besides regular attendance, the student will take two essay-format midterms and a final examination, and write a series of short essay papers along the way. Grading scale:

Midterm #1: 20%

Midterm #2: 20%

Short Papers (collectively): 40%

Final Exam: 20%

Schedule of  Topics and Readings:

Part I Introduction
Lect 1 Course introduction.
Lect 2 The nature of philosophy.
Lect 3 The nature of ethical theory.
Part II Morality as virtue: Plato and Transcendent Virtue
Lect 4 Plato, Republic, Book I.
Lect 5 Republic, BookII.
Lect 6 Same, Books III.412b-IV.
Lect 7 Same, Books IV continued.
Lect 8 Same, Book V.
Lect 9 Same, Book VI-VII.
Lect 10 Same, Book VII continued.
Lect 11 Same, Book IX.
Part II Morality as Virtue: Aristotle and Immanent Virtue
Lect 12 Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, Book I.
Lect 13 Same, Book I continued.
Lect 14 Same, Book II.
Lect 15 Same, Book III, i-v.
Lect 16 Same, Book V, v-viii.
Lect 17 Same, Book VI.
Lect 18 Same, Book X.
Lect 19 Same, Book X continued
Lect 20 In-class test
Part III Morality as Rule Governed Action: Kant’s Deontological Theory
Lect 21 Kant, Grounding for the Metaphysics of Morals, Preface.
Lect 22 Same, First Section.
Lect 23 Same, First Section continued.
Lect 24 Same, Second Section.
Lect 25 Same, Second Section continued.
Lect 26 Same, Second Section continued.
Lect 27 Kant, “On the Supposed Right to Tell a Lie.”
Lect 28 Second in-class exam.
Part III Morality as Rule-Governed Action: Mill’s Consequentialism
Lect 29 Mill, Utilitarianism, Chapter I.
Lect 30 Same, Chapter II.
Lect 31 Same, Chapter II continued.
Lect 32 Same, Chapter III.
Lect 33 Same, Chapter IV.
Lect 34 Same, Chapter V.
Lect 36 Same, Chapter v continued.
Part IV The Existentialist Approach: Morality as Subjectivity, Freedom, and Commitment.
Lect 37 Ortega, “Man Has No Nature” (Kaufmann, 152-157).
Lect 38 Nietzsche, Assorted Selections (Kaufmann, 121-133
Lect 39 Same, continued
Lect 40 Sartre, “Existentialism as a Humanism” (Kaufmann, 345-369)
Lect 41 Sartre, “Self-Deception” (Kaufmann, 299-309)
Lect 42 Same, (Kaufmann, 309-329)
Lect 43 Camus, “The Myth of Sisyphus” (Kaufmann, 375-378)
Lect 44 Conclusion