Moral Philosophy (2017/2018)

Course partially running (all years except the first)

Course code
Name of lecturer
Carlo Chiurco
Carlo Chiurco
Number of ECTS credits allocated
Academic sector
Language of instruction
Sem. IA dal Sep 25, 2017 al Nov 11, 2017.

Lesson timetable

Go to lesson schedule

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 issues of our time.


Questions of philosophical ecology: caring about the creation - the animalist issue
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 two important questions of philosophical ecology: the religious notion of caring about the creation, and the secular question concerning animalism and animal welfare, with a special attention on Jeremy Rifkin's notion of ecocide.

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 two questions of philosophical ecology addressed by the course: caring about creation and animalist ethics, with a special attention about the issue of meat consumption. In order to achieve this, we will make use of an intermediate test immediately after the completion of the first part of the course, the e-learning website of the university, and of lectures provided on specific issues. 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 choose a more personal approach to the course (to be jointly decided with the teacher) by reading other texts in addition to the general bibliography.
All students must study the followng texts:
− Jeremy Rifkin, Ecocidio. Ascesa e caduta della cultura della carne, Mondadori, Milano Roma 2007.
− Leopoldo Sandonà, Ecologia umana, Edizioni del Messaggero, Padova 2015.
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.
A complete calendar of the lessons and their subjects will be provided as soon as possible.

Reference books
Author Title Publisher Year ISBN Note
Jeremy Rifkin Ecocidio. Ascesa e caduta della cultura della carne Mondadori 2007
Leopoldo Sandonà Ecologia umana Edizioni del Messaggero 2015

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 as follows:
- students attending the classes will be evaluated in an intermediate test concerning the first part of the course on the main moments of the history of Western ethical reflection and the main ethical notions; students non attending the classes will be evaluated on this part during the oral examination;
- all students must pass an oral examination about the specific authors, texts and subjects discussed during the classes. The final score will be expressed in /30s.