TOPIC OF THE COURSE: Present Moral Philosophy – Important Approaches and Prioritarianism.
CONTENTS: The first half of the course will provide an introduction at an elevated level to, mostly, criteriological or normative ethics, i.e. that part of ethics which seeks to elaborate moral principles and to, to a minor degree, metaethics, i.e. that part of ethics dedicated first of all to the methodological problems of criteriological ethics. The second part of the course instead will deepen the acquaintance with a particular approach in criteriological ethics: viz. prioritarianism – which is a way of moral valuing which gives more weight ("priority") to improvements for those who are worse off. In the criteriological / normative part the following systems of moral principles will be discussed: consequentialism – in particular utilitarianism and effective altruism –, justice as fairness (Rawls), ideal contractualism and empathetic altruism. The second part of the course is dedicated to prioritarianism. Prioritarianism is a rather recently developed approach which introduces in welfare ethics – which on its part seeks to raise the well-being of all beings interested – elements of distributive justice: Increases of well-being of the worse off matter more, and they matter more the worse off these people are – however in a moderate vein: Even improvements for the best off count; and the improvements for those worst off do not count infinitely much more than improvements for persons with higher well-being. – In the course, among others, texts of the following authors will be discussed: Adler, Brandt, Broome, Crisp, de Lazari-Radek & Singer, Fleurbaey, Holtug, MacAskill, Otsuka & Voorhoeve, Parfit, Rabinowicz, Rawls, Ricard, Scanlon e Sidgwick.