Philosophy 380 — Recent Kantian Ethics                              9:00-10:00 MWF,  MI 213

D. Vessey                   x2146                                                  Office Hours: 207 MI

vesseyd@beloit.edu                                                                MW  10:00-11:00, 2:00-3:00

                                                                                                Th  1:00-3:00

                                                                                                and by appointment

                                                                                   

Required Texts:

            Kant, Practical Philosophy

            Christina Korsgaard, Sources of Normativity

            Onora O’Neill, Constructions of Reason

            Barbara Herman, Morality and Practical Reason

            Additional photocopied readings

 

Course Content

Kant has seen a revival in the last twenty years as philosophers realize both that standard readings of Kant failed to appreciate the sophistication of his view, and that Kant had quite a bit to still contribute to contemporary philosophical debates.  In this course we will look at the way recent interpreters of Kant are reviving and revitalizing his views. We will focus on four areas: Kant’s moral methodology, the general interpretation of the Categorical Imperative, specific interpretations of various versions of the Categorical Imperative, Kant’s account of Autonomy, the connection between reason and morality, and the application of Kant’s view to particular problems (especially lying).

 

 

Class Format

As a seminar, the class will be dominated by presentations by the students and discussions of these presentations. Each student will select one of the six topics and make a formal presentation of the reading when assigned in class. There are a total of 9 presentations for each topic.  Part of the presentation will include addressing the motivated questions. Each night before class by 9:00 PM, every student (except the presenter) must send a motivated question to the class listserv: phil280-l@beloit.edu.  The motivated questions can range from questions of interpretation to criticism but either way they must be more than mere questions (e.g. “What does O’Neill mean by ‘volitional inconsistency’?”).  Instead they must show knowledge of the context and the importance of the question.  The presentations also must include a two-page handout summarizing the readings, stating the thesis of the readings, and defining all the relevant terminology.   Each person will write a 4,000 word paper on the topic of the presentations and these papers will be read and commented on by the class.  A revised version of the paper will be due at the time of the final exam.  This paper will be edited for the purpose of professional presentation and/or publication. The typo policy—one grade down for every four typos (grammatical errors, spelling errors, improper use of gendered pronouns, or improper referencing quotations)—will apply to presentation summaries reports, the presentation draft of the final paper and the final draft of the final paper.  There will be no exams.

 

Grading

Attendance/participation/MQs:                     40%

Presentations:                                                 30%

Final paper:                                                     30% (presentation draft 10%; final draft 20%)

                                                                                               

 

           

 

1. Tue Aug. 29                        Introductions

 

2. Wed, Aug. 30                      Schneewind, Introduction to Kantian Ethics

 

3. Fri, Sept. 1                          Schneewind (Handout) Methodology

 

 

4. Mon, Sept. 4                       Hill Dignity & Practical Reason Chp. 1 (Handout)                                                              General CI

 

5. Wed, Sept. 6                       Hill D & PR Chp. 2 (Handout) Specific CI

 

6. Fri, Sept. 8                          Hill D & PR Chp. 6 (Handout) Reason

 

 

 

7. Mon, Sept. 11                     Hill Autonomy & Self-Respect Chp. 3 (Handout)                                                                 Examples

 

8. Wed, Sept. 13                     Hill D & PR Chp. 3 (Handout) Specific CI

 

9. Fri, Sept. 15                        Hill D & PR Chp. 7 (Handout) Reason

 

 

 

10. Mon, Sept. 18                   Hill A & S-R Chp. 4 (Handout) Autonomy

 

11. Wed, Sept. 20                   O’Neill  Chp. 1  General CI

 

12. Fri, Sept. 22                      O’Neill Chp. 2 Reason


13. Mon, Sept. 25                   O’Neill Chp. 3 Autonomy

 

14. Wed, Sept. 27                   O’Neill Chp. 4 Autonomy

 

15. Fri, Sept. 29                      O’Neill Chp. 5 General CI

 

 

 

16. Mon, Oct. 2                      O’Neill  Chp. 6 General CI

 

17. Wed, Oct. 4                       O’Neill Chp. 7 Specific CI

 

18. Fri, Oct. 6                         NO CLASS

 

 

 

19. Mon, Oct. 9                      O’Neill Chp. 9 Examples

 

20. Wed, Oct. 11                     O’Neill Chp. 11 Methodology

 

21. Fri, Oct. 13                       Korsgaard Chp. 3 (Handout) Specific CI

 

 

********BREAK********BREAK********BREAK********BREAK********

 

 

22. Mon, Oct. 23                    Herman Chp. 2 Reason

 

23. Wed, Oct.  25                    Herman Chp. 3 General CI

 

24. Fri, Oct. 27                       Korsgaard Chp. 5 (Handout) Examples

 

 

 

25. Mon, Oct. 30                    Herman Chp. 4 Reason

 

26. Wed, Nov. 1                      Herman Chp. 9 Autonomy

 

27. Fri, Nov. 3                        Herman Chp. 10 Methodology       

 

 

 

28. Mon, Nov. 6                     Korsgaard Chp. 4 (Handout) Specific CI

 

29. Wed, Nov. 8                      Korsgaard Chp. 12 (Handout) Examples

 

30. Fri, Nov. 10                      Korsgaard Chp 6 (Handout) Autonomy

 

                                                                         

 

31. Mon, Nov. 13                   Rawls (Handout) Methodology

 

32. Wed, Nov. 15                    MacIntyre (Handout) Examples

 

33. Fri, Nov. 17                      NO CLASS

 

 

 

34. Mon, Nov. 20                   Korsgaard — Sources of Normativity

 

35. Wed, Nov. 22                    Korsgaard — Sources of Normativity       

 

 

THANKSGIVING BREAK

 

 

36. Mon, Nov. 27                   Korsgaard — Sources of Normativity       

 

37. Wed, Nov. 29                    KorsgaardSources of Normativity       

 

38. Fri, Dec. 1                        Papers Due

 

 

 

39. Mon, Dec. 4                      Presentations

 

40. Tue. Dec 5                         Presentations

 

41. Wed, Dec. 6                      Presentations

 

42. Fri, Dec. 8                         Presentations

 

 

43. Mon, Dec. 11                    Presentations

 

43. Tue Dec 12                       Presentations

 

45. Wed. Dec, 13                    Review and Evaluations

 

FINAL EXAM