The main theme of the course is 'Moral knowledge and 'Bildung': a genealogical-hermeneutical approach
The course is divided into 2 parts.
Part 1 is a reflection on three crucial styles of normative ethics that stand central in contemporary moral philosophy: the naturalism of David Hume, the ethics of autonomy of Kant and the consequentialism of Bentham / Mill. As a guide for this reflection we take: David Wiggins, Ethics: Twelve Lectures on the Philosophy of Morality. The questions we seek to answer are: what are the principles on which these types of moral theory are based? Which form of ethical reflection does each of these theories allow for or exclude? What is the value and meaning of each of the aforementioned traditions for moral reflection today and what do these models actually teach us about the nature of moral knowledge?
We evaluate the defense of David Wiggins of a genealogical-hermeneutical form of moral reflection that is clearly indebted to David Hume. We compare this approach with the genealogy of the morality of Friedrich Nietzsche. We also show why, according to Wiggins, our sense of humanity is interwoven with a certain form of moral 'knowledge' and ‘vision’ that can be fostered and enhanced through education and moral conversation. We investigate what the role of emotions and imagination is in the acquisition of moral knowledge and vision.
In Part 2 of the course, this conception of moral knowledge and vision is explored on the basis of texts by Iris Murdoch, Sabina Lovibond and Raimond Gaita. Special attention is paid to the role of emotions and imagination in moral knowledge and to the place that art, in particular literature, can play, in deepening the sense of humanity and moral vision interwoven with it.