PHIL 7662 Moral Intentionality
John J. Drummond
Tuesdays, 2:00–4:00 pm
By moral intentionality, I mean the directedness of mind to moral phenomena, including our apprehension of what is morally salient in particular situations, our identification of moral goods, our moral appraisals of possible courses of action, our moral judgments regarding actions and agents, and our experience of obligation. The approach taken in the course will be phenomenological in character. We shall investigate the structures both of our moral experiences and of things and situations taken in their moral significance. In particular, we shall investigate the nature of both evaluative and volitional experience, and we shall examine what it is for an object, state of affairs, action, or agent to be experienced as morally good or bad. While the course will be primarily concerned with developing a phenomenological account of moral intentionality, we shall also investigate the historical background against which this account was developed and the contemporary theories to which this account might be fruitfully compared.
In developing this account, we shall focus our attention on those views that emphasize the role of feelings and emotions in the disclosure of what is morally salient in states of affairs and of what (and who) is morally good. Such a view has connection to eudaimonistic, axiological, and virtue approaches to ethics. We shall explore these some of these connections, but we shall also briefly take note of some critiques of these views, especially those that arise out of the view that the notion of the obligatory is prior to that of the good.
The tentative readings for the course include:
Aristotle, selections from Metaphysics, On Generation and Corruption, On the Soul, On the Movement of Animals, Nicomachean Ethics, Eudemian Ethics, and Rhetoric (any editions)
Brentano, selections from The Origin of Our Knowledge of Right and Wrong and The Foundation and Construction of Ethics (both on reserve)
Drummond, “Moral Objectivity: Husserl’s Sentiments of the Understanding”; “Agency, Agents, and (Sometimes) Patients”; “Moral Encounters”; “Aristotelianism and Phenomenology”; “‘Cognitive Impenetrability’ and the Complex Intentionality of the Emotions”; “Respect as a Moral Emotion”; “Self, Other, and Moral Obligation”; “Value-Predicates and Value-Attributes”; and “Moral Phenomenology and Moral Intentionality” (all on reserve).
Hume, selections from A Treatise of Human Nature and Enquiry Concerning the Principle of Morals (any editions)
Husserl, selections from Vorlesungen über Ethik und Wertlehre (1908–1914) and the Kaizo-articles (very rough translations will be provided; it is a plus, but not a requirement, to read German) as well as “Fichte’s Ideal of Humanity (Three Lectures)” (English translation on reserve).
Kant, selections from Grounding for the Metaphysics of Morals, Critique of Pure Practical Reason, and Metaphysics of Morals (any editions)
Levinas, selections from Totality and Infinity (Pittsburgh: Duquesne University Press, 1969, ISBN: 0820702455)
Mandelbaum, selections from The Phenomenology of Moral Experience (on reserve)
Scheler, selections from Formalism in Ethics and Non-Formal Theories of Values: A New Attempt toward the Foundation of an Ethical Personalism (Evanston, Ill.: Northwestern University Press, 1973, ISBN: 0810106205)
Note on the texts: the Brentano and Mandelbaum texts are difficult to obtain, and I will put copies of the relevant readings on reserve. I am doing the same with my articles. I assume that most will have (or have easy access to) the Aristotle, Hume, and Kant texts. The Husserl texts will be on reserve and rough translations will be provided of the essential ones. That leaves Levinas and Scheler. Some of you might also have one or the other of these, but in case you do not, I have provided the ISBN numbers. Many of the contemporary texts will be available in electronic form or they will be put on reserve. I have not ordered books, since you can buy them more cheaply from amazon.com or barnesandnoble.com. (You’ll get at least one extra meal from bookstore savings that way!)