Haverford College
Syllabus Update

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Semester/Topic Description::

Course Description:

This course examines efforts over the last century to engage the ethical without recourse to formal systems or foundational principles. How, these approaches ask, can we talk about good and evil, morality and immorality, while believing “truth” to be historically, linguistically, and culturally contingent? In the process of drafting possible answers, we shall think deeply about concepts such as violence, justice, and social responsibility.



Additional information/Expanded description:

Philosophy 257: Critical Approaches to Ethical Theory





Instructor: Jerry Miller



Course Description:

This course examines efforts over the last century to engage the ethical without recourse to formal systems or foundational principles. How, these approaches ask, can we talk about good and evil, morality and immorality, while believing “truth” to be historically, linguistically, and culturally contingent? In the process of drafting possible answers, we shall think deeply about concepts such as violence, justice, and social responsibility.



Required Texts: (partial list)

Jacques Derrida, Of Hospitality

Sigmund Freud, The Future of an Illusion

Jean-François Lyotard and Jean-Loup Thébaud, Just Gaming

Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil

Richard Rorty, Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity





Weekly Class Assignments



Week 1 Introduction



Weeks 2-3 Freud, The Future of an Illusion



Weeks 4-5 Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil



Weeks 6-7 Rorty, Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity



Weeks 8-9 Derrida, Of Hospitality



Weeks 10-11 Lyotard and Thébaud, Just Gaming



Weeks 12-14 Various Critical Essays TBA





Course Requirements:

One-page weekly response pieces, two 4-5 page essays, final exam



Prerequisite: One 100-level course in Philosophy or permission of instructor