Apollo and Dionysus
Full course description
This course aims to provide an overview of the different ethical traditions in the history of Western civilization. It focuses upon a number of influential world views and their moral implications ‒ from the tenets of Socrates and Plato to those of Nietzsche and Foucault ‒, and considers the ways in which such views were bound to clash with the reality of the human condition. Starting-point of the course is the continuous tension between very rational, philosophical-ethical systems, and some alternative, more comprehensive approaches to morality. Examples of the latter are Greek tragedy and other works of literature, which showcase the inadequacy of an exclusively rational approach, and indeed of any form of one-sidedness.
Knowledge and understanding of the origins of ethical views in modern Western civilization.
- Blackburn, Simon. (2001). Being Good. A short introduction to Ethics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
- Copleston, F.C. (1985). A History of Philosophy. Book One (which contains vols. I, II and III). New York: Doubleday.
- Nussbaum, Martha C. (1986). The Fragility of Goodness. Luck and ethics in Greek tragedy and philosophy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
- Waal, Frans de (2014). The Bonobo and the Atheist: In Search of Humanism Among the Primates. New York / London: Norton.