TOPIC OF THE COURSE: Present Moral Philosophy – Important Approaches and Collective Responsibility.
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. collective responsibility: if an event or a state is the effect of collective action (in the sense that the actions of several subjects have contributed causally), who is morally responsible and to what extent: the various subjects e.g. to the extent of their causal contribution or already as a member of a group or the group as such, in particular if it is a corporation? In the criteriological / normative part the following systems of moral principles will be discussed: consequentialism – in particular utilitarianism, prioritarianism and effective altruism –, justice as fairness (Rawls), liberalism and particularism. The second part of the module is dedicated to the discussion of collective responsibility or, more specifically, to the following questions: Is there a (retrospective) responsibility of collectives as such? Does the (retrospective) responsibility for events caused by a group (e.g. climate change) or a collective (a war of aggression) spread over individuals and, if so, how? For events caused by a collective (e.g. the holocaust or genocide), in particular by a corporation, is there a retrospective responsibility of all members of the corporation? – In the course, among others, texts of the following authors will be discussed: 1. criteriological ethics: Dancy, de Lazari-Radek & Singer, MacAskill, Narveson, Parfit, Rawls e Sidgwick; 2. collective responsibility: Feinberg, French, Jaspers, Kutz, H. D. Lewis, List & Pettit, Narveson, Reiff e Vernon.