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Confucianism and Virtue Ethics
PHIL 341
Spring 2012
Section: 01  
Crosslisting: EAST 341

In recent Western moral philosophy, virtue ethics has been undergoing a renaissance; many philosophers have been attracted to this approach to ethics that emphasizes a person's character and cultivated dispositions rather than a rule-centured approach to right and wrong. Since the virtue ethics approach was more popular prior to the 20th century, philosophers have looked back to a variety of historical thinkers for inspiration, including Aristotle, Hume, and Nietzsche. In this course, we will explore the merits of drawing on thinkers from the Confucian tradition to develop virtue ethics. In what ways do Confucian thinkers lend themselves to being understood as virtue ethicists? What new stimulae might Confucianism offer to contemporary philosophers who so far have only drawn on Western sources? Is it fruitful to talk about a contemporary version of Confucianism that can enter into dialogue with both contemporary Western virtue ethicists and their critics?

Essential Capabilities: Ethical Reasoning, Intercultural Literacy
Essential Capabilities:
Intercultural Literacy: This course will engage "intercultural literacy" in two ways. First, students will be directly involved in the potential dialogue between two different cultures' philosophical traditions, and making efforts to see how one tradition raises challenges for, or stimulae for, the other. Second, we will reflect on the opportunities raised by such cross-cultural philosophizing, as well as the obstacles that exist to its success.
Ethical Reasoning: This course focuses on one of the main theoretical approaches to understanding ethics, namely "virtue ethics." We will seek to understand both the strengths and weaknesses of virtue ethics as a "theory," as well as its practical or concrete implications for people's lives.
Credit: 1 Gen Ed Area Dept: HA PHIL
Course Format: SeminarGrading Mode: Graded
Level: UGRD Prerequisites: ANY TWO PHILOSOPHY COURSES
Fulfills a Major Requirement for: (CEAS)(CEAS-Phil/Reli)(PHIL)(SISP-Phil Ethic)
Past Enrollment Probability: 90% or above

Last Updated on APR-17-2014
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