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PHIL 313W: Goodness Ancient and Modern

In this course, we shall examine conceptions of goodness both ancient and modern. Things can be good or bad for people, for dogs, for trees, and so on. This is relational goodness. (Can things be good or bad for artifacts, e.g., books and paintings?) There can be good teachers and bad teachers, good poets and bad poets, good and bad oak trees and cats. This is attributive goodness. But is there also a kind of goodness that's a simple and intrinsic property of things? This would be absolute goodness. We shall read, among others, Plato, Aristotle, Kant, G.E. Moore, and Judith Jarvis Thomson. We shall examine questions including the following. What basic kinds of goodness are there (e.g. relational, attributive, absolute) and what are the relations among them? Is moral or ethical goodness a distinct kind of goodness? Are any kinds of goodness objective? Do non-moral or non-ethical goods benefit the unvirtuous as Plato denies and Aristotle (at least sometimes) accepts? Is Kant right that the only thing good without qualification is a good will? Graduate seminar. 2 unit option only for Phil PhDs beyond the second year.
Terms: Win | Units: 2-4
Instructors: Bobonich, C. (PI)
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