Fordham University            The Jesuit University of New York
 


Moral Intentionality


PHGA 7662 Moral Intentionality
Professor John J. Drummond
Spring 2006
Thursday, 4:30–6:30 PM

By moral intentionality, I mean the directedness of consciousness to moral phenomena, including our apprehension of what is morally salient in particular circumstances, our moral appraisals of possible courses of action, our identification of moral goods, our moral judgments regarding actions and agents, and deliberation and the justification of actions.

The approach taken in the course will be phenomenological in character. We shall investigate the structures both of our moral experience and of things taken in their moral significance. In particular, we shall investigate the nature of both evaluative and volitional experience and examine what it is for an object, state of affairs, action, or agent to be disclosed 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 such theories were developed.

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 what is morally good. Such a view, of course, has connections to the tradition of virtue ethics and to the axiological tradition. We shall, however, also examine critiques of this view, specifically those critiques that are grounded in the view that the notion of the obligatory is morally prior to that of the good.

The readings for the course will include:
Aristotle, brief selections from De Anima, De Motu Animalium, and the Nicomachean Ethics (any edition of these works will be fine).

Hume, brief selections from A Treatise of Human Nature and An Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals (any editions)

Kant, selections from Grounding for the Metaphysics of Morals, Critique of Practical Reason, and the Metaphysics of Morals (any editions)

Husserl, selections from his various lecture courses on ethics and from the Kaizo-articles (rough translations will be provided; it is a plus, but not a requirement, to read German)

Scheler, Formalism in Ethics and Non-Formal Ethics of Values: A New Attempt toward the Foundation of an Ethical Personalism (Evanston, Ill.: Northwestern University Press, 1973, ISBN: 0-8101-0620-5)

Levinas, selections from Totality and Infinity (Pittsburgh: Duquesne University Press, 1969, ISBN: 0820702455).
Requirements: Participation in class discussions and a 20–25 page research paper.

N.B. I assume that most students have the Aristotle, Hume, and Kant texts in order to prepare for comprehensives. Some will have one or another of the other texts as well. Hence, I shall leave it to each of you to acquire those you do not already have. I have listed the ISBN numbers for the Scheler and Levinas to make it easier to order the books from, say, Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

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