Apollo and Dionysus
Full course description
Course 1A ‘Apollo and Dionysus’ provides an overview of the development of thinking about norms and values 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. Starting point is the continuous tension between very rational, ‘Apollonian’, philosophical-ethical schools of thought on the one hand, and some alternative, ‘Dionysian’, more comprehensive approaches to morality on the other, as expressed in works of art. For example, in Greek tragedy the inadequacy of an exclusively rational approach – and indeed of any form of one-sidedness – is a major theme. This interdisciplinary course, then, not only introduces the main Western philosophical ethical traditions in their historical context, but also deals with more implicit images of ‘the good life’ as expressed in works of literature and art.
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.