History of Western Ethics and Social Philosophy

STH TS 961

This seminar focuses on the ways Greek philosophy (Plato, Aristotle, Stoics) influenced Christian theology and ethics (Augustine and Aquinas), and how that Christian theological and ethical tradition influenced Luther, Calvin and other Reformers. There will also be a look at the key figures in philosophy (Hume, Kant, Grotius, and others) who shaped modern Western ethics. Emphasis will also be placed on the development of Western social and political philosophy which led to the modern democratic state (Locke, Bentham, J.S. Mill, A. Smith), utilitarianism and cost-benefit analysis, as well as the works of revolutionary thinkers (Nietzsche and Marx) and also the seminal feminist thinkers (C. DePizan, M. Wollstonecraft, H. Taylor). In addition, there will be efforts to explore the social and philosophical roots of the movements that led to the abolition of slavery as well as to the promotion of gender equality. Consideration will be given to the social/political/economic context that influenced the thinking of the writers, as well as a look at some of the readings from a feminist and multicultural standpoint. Particular emphasis will be placed on the relevance of these thinkers in our society. We should be aware of their shortcomings (class, cultural, racial and gender biases), but also be appreciative of their contributions to modern thinking.

Note that this information may change at any time. Please visit the Student Link for the most up-to-date course information.