Moral Philosophy (2016/2017)

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Course code
Name of lecturer
Carlo Chiurco
Carlo Chiurco
Number of ECTS credits allocated
Academic sector
Language of instruction
Sem. IIA dal Feb 27, 2017 al Apr 22, 2017.

Lesson timetable

Learning outcomes

The course aims at equipping students with the necessary basic knowledge about the main ethical author, subjects, and notions, as they developed within the context of Western civilization, both at the historical and the theoretical level.
By the end of the course, students are expected to possess sufficient ability enabling them to make autonomous judgements on ethical subjects, sufficient communication skills in order to master a conceptually correct philosophical language, and, finally, sufficient ability to apply knowledge and understanding of the general ethical notions to some of the main moral cases of our time.


The Italian philosophical debate on the meaning of caring
The course will consist of two parts. The first, more general, will deal with a short but comprehensive history of moral philosophy, presenting the ethical thinking of some of the greatest philosophers (Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, medieval ethics, modern ethics, Kant, Nietzsche, contemporary ethics) as well as the main ethical questions discussed by philosophers through the centuries, such as good, evil, happiness, must, and justice. In the second part we will analyze the notion of caring, an essential feature of present-day ethical thinking, with a special regard to its practical applications in the medical field and the current lively debate that this notion has sparked within the Italian philosophical context.

Students attending the classes will receive a) the basic theoretical and historical notions on the various forms in which the ethical reflection has been shaped within the context of Western civilization, and b) a comprehensive analysis of the notion of caring and its most important implications, most notably in the field of medicine. In order to achieve this, we will make use of the e-learning website of the university, of the vision and discussion of movies concerning the subject of caring, and of lectures provided on very specifically issues such as animalistic ethics. The audio files of the lessons may be found on the e-learning website of the university, and are an essential and compulsory part of the course bibliography.
Meeting hours for students are scheduled during the whole academic year: days and hours may be found at the personal webpage of the teacher, and are constantly updated. Fixing a personal appointment is not compulsory. Dates and hours of the single lessons as well as their topics are provided before the beginning of the course; any variation will be promptly communicated in the News section of the teacher’s personal webpage.
As for students who will not attend classes, they can either choose a more personal approach to the course (to be jointly decided with the teacher) or to read one of the following texts in addition to the general bibliography:
− Giorgio Bert, Medicina narrativa. Storie e parole nella relazione di cura, Il Pensiero Scientifico, Roma 2007.
− Marie de Hennezèl, Prendersi cura degli altri. Pazienti, medici, infermieri e la sfida della malattia, Lindau, Torino 2008.
The subjects and the contents of the books listed in the general bibliography, as well as the lessons and tests performed during the course, are coherent with the program. Further material may be uploaded on the e-learning website of the university.

Presumptive calendar of course lessons:
1 (28/02): course presentation and general introduction;
2 (01/03): a brief history of ethics: the Ancients; Socrates;
3 (7/3): Plato and Aristotle;
4 (8/3): medieval ethics; modern ethics; Kant; Nietzsche; contemporary ethics (particular and specialist ethics);
5 (21/3: animalist ethics 1;
6 (22/3): animalist ethics 2;
7 (23/3): introducing the notion of caring: "Wit", by Mike Nichols;
8 (28/3): medicine in the Age of Techniques: healing, curing, caring; the various conceptions of the body, human health, and well-being;
9 (29/3): caring as a philosophical problem;
10 (30/3): Linda Napolitano / 1;
11 (5/4): Linda Napolitano / 2;
12 (20/4): Moreno Montanari.

Reference books
Author Title Publisher Year ISBN Note
Moreno Montanari La filosofia come cura Mursia 2012
Linda M. Napolitano Valditara Pietra filosofale della salute. Filosofia antica e formazione in medicina QuiEdit 2011
Jan Rohls Storia dell'etica Il Mulino 1995

Assessment methods and criteria

In order to pass the exam, students will need to show that:
- they possess a sufficient knowledge of the main moments in the history of ethical thinking, as well as the more specific issues addressed during the course;
- they possess the capacity to make a critical reflection on ethical issues, by operating autonomously and using a sufficiently appropriate and precise philosophical language.
The competence of all students, either those who attended the course or those who didn’t, will be ascertained by means of an oral examination about the authors, the texts and the subjects discussed during the classes. The final score will be expressed in /30s.