Moral philosophy investigates the principles that either have guided or guide (or rather should guide) human actions in history, be they the acts of individuals or the choices of a whole society. Through the analysis of the most important stages in the history of ethics, students are expected to acquire a good degree of critical awareness about the main subjects of moral philosophy, thus enabling them to deal with the main moral issues of our time.
The moral question in Italy.
The course will focus on Italians’ seemingly hopeless lack of ethical ground. Italy has been experiencing a deep ethical crisis since the early 1990s, but Italians’ problems with ethics date back to the past of the country, and are rooted in a centuries-long tradition of distrust of the State. The present dire international situation forces Italians, disillusioned and weakened as they are, to undergo here and now a titanic effort of “citizenship rebuilding” on a great scale in order finally create a righteous, virtuous citizen constantly led by the idea of justice in his public behavior, someone who is capable of the difficult balancing act of exerting his individual freedom while always having public responsibility as his guiding light.
The views on ethics of some important authors of the past will be discussed in relation to the subject of the course.
1) Eugenio Lecaldano, Prima lezione di filosofia morale, Laterza, Roma-Bari 2011: chapter I; pp. 25-30 (Hume); pp. 116-122.
2) Gustavo Zagrebelsky, Imparare democrazia, Einaudi (the anthology is not compulsory);
3) Roberta De Monticelli, La questione morale, Cortina, Milano 2010;
4) Maurizio Viroli, La libertà dei servi, Laterza, Roma-Bari 2011;
Essays number 2, 3 and 4 must be studied entirely.
Students can also see: Ermanno Rea, La fabbrica dell’obbedienza. Il lato oscuro e complice degli italiani, Feltrinelli, Milano 2011.
The exam will consist of an oral examination.
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