Ethics I-E2

Numbering Code U-LAS00 10030 LE34 Year/Term 2021 ・ Second semester
Number of Credits 2 Course Type Lecture
Target Year Mainly 1st & 2nd year students Target Student For all majors
Language English Day/Period Mon.2
Instructor name Not fixed
Outline and Purpose of the Course This course concerns the topic of practical necessity. Practical necessities are considerations that play a special role in shaping deliberation over what to do. Their most easily visible manifestation is in claims to the effect that one 'must' or 'cannot' do something. We deal with such limits all of the time, when, for instance we obey a sign which says 'private, no entry', or when we say that we cannot make it to an appointment on time, or when it is said that we must stand up for what we think is right. The distinctive features of practical necessity, supposing there to be such, may show us something about the nature of agency, as well as helping us to understand the relation of agents to the world around them.

Worries surrounding the concept of practical necessity came to a head in British philosophy immediately after the Second World War, when notions such as duty and obligation had been thrown into sharp relief. As such, the category provides a useful lens through which to examine the philosophical views of the philosophers of that time. In this course we will look at the ways in which this concept was utilised by the post-war British moral philosophers, paying particular attention to the following figures: GEM Anscombe, Philippa Foot, RM Hare, Iris Murdoch, Bernard Williams, and Peter Winch.
Course Goals ・To familiarise students with some of the aims, methods and problems of contemporary moral philosophy.
・To develop a deepened understanding of certain perennial questions concerning the nature of action, moral responsibility and goodness.
・To introduce the historical and intellectual context of post-war British moral philosophy through the lens of essays by the foremost philosophers of the time.
・To develop students' ability to reason critically, to construct and critique arguments and to write philosophical essays in English.
Schedule and Contents We will proceed through the course by considering each week a classic piece of writing by one of the figures from this tradition. Each week I will explain the paper and connect it up both to the author's overall philosophical position, as well as to debates over practical necessity.

1 Introduction: Theory and Practice
2 RM Hare: Moral Thinking
3 RM Hare: Freedom and Reason
4 Philippa Foot: Moral Arguments and Moral Beliefs
5 Philippa Foot: Morality as a System of Hypothetical Imperatives
6 GEM Anscombe: Modern Moral Philosophy
7 GEM Anscombe: Rules, Rights and Promises
8 Bernard Williams: Morality, the Peculiar Institution
9 Bernard Williams: Practical Necessity
10 Bernard Williams: Shame and Necessity
11 Peter Winch: The Universalizability of Moral Judgements
12 Peter Winch: Moral Integrity
13 Peter Winch: Eine Einstellung zur Seele
14 Iris Murdoch: Vision, Choice and Morality
15 Feedback class
Evaluation Methods and Policy Course attendance is mandatory (with a maximum of 2 absences).
There will be a very short mandatory but ungraded writing assignment each week. This is to encourage students to practice writing and to help guide the students in their reading outside of class.
Assessment will be conducted via a single essay, in English (up to 2500 words) to be submitted after the course ends. During the course I will explain in some detail, with examples, what constitutes a good philosophical essay.
Course Requirements A good level of English comprehension (listening, reading and writing) is necessary for this course. No previous knowledge of philosophy is presumed, though familiarity with the background concepts of the discipline will be an advantage.
Study outside of Class (preparation and review) Students will be expected to read the required text in preparation for the lecture. They will also be expected to complete a short piece of writing on the text (c.300 words) on a question set by the lecturer. Secondary literature will be made available for students who want to do extra reading. As the course develops students should also do preparatory work for their final term papers.
Textbooks Textbooks/References For each week there will be a primary text and a range of optional secondary texts. All texts will be made available to students in advance.