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Ethics in Focus: Religion in/for Ethics?

$189 Limited inc GST / $¤,170
Ethics in Focus: Religion in/for Ethics?

<p>We tend to think that we no longer need religion to think about ethical issues. But is it really true? It is often said that Immanuel Kant secularised ethics. But could he really get rid of

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We tend to think that we no longer need religion to think about ethical issues. But is it really true? It is often said that Immanuel Kant secularised ethics. But could he really get rid of religion to think about ethical issues? Is the ethics of our age really secular? This course is not just about learning philosophy, but about philosophising for yourself.


SUGGESTED READING

  • Baumgarten, A. G.: Ethica philosophica [Philosophical Ethics], 3rd Ed. (Halle, 1763) [As there is no translation of this work into a modern language, the tutor will provide their own]
  • Kant, I.: Metaphysics of Morals. (Cambridge University Press, 1996)
  • Kant, I.: ‘The Only Possible Argument in Support of a Demonstration of the Existence of God’ in Religion and Rational Theology. (Cambridge University Press, 1996)
  • Kant, I.: Critique of Practical Reason. (Cambridge University Press, 1997)
  • Kant, I.: Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals. (Cambridge University Press, 1997)
  • Kant, I.: Lectures on Ethics. (Cambridge University Press, 1997)
  • Kant, I.: Critique of Pure Reason. (Cambridge University Press, 1998)
  • Kant, I.: Religion within the Boundaries of Mere Reason. (Cambridge University Press, 1998)


COURSE OUTLINE

  • Share your own views on religion in/for ethics. Do you think religion plays any role in/for the ethics of our age? If so, what is its role? If not, what do you think are the criteria for guiding our actions?
  • The Early Modern conception of religion in/for ethics. It sounds absurd to say you need to worship God to become a better person. But some Early Modern philosophers argue for this view. What is their argument and is it worth reflecting on it even today?
  • Religion as philosophy. Some Early Modern philosophers argue that religion is part of philosophy and it grounds ethics. What is their argument and why can we not skip religion to think about ethical issues?
  • The concept of perfection for ethics. We are often advised to improve ourselves to become a better person. But how do we know we are on the right tack to become a better person?
  • The concept of reason for ethics. Kant argues we can act morally if we follow what ‘practical reason’ dictates us to do. What is this ‘practical reason’, and how is it different from ‘theoretical reason’? As we apparently do not use logical reasoning to judge what is a good or bad thing to do, it is plausible to think that we use a different kind of reasoning to make our moral judgements. Is there any ‘belief’ involved in this practical reasoning? If so, how can we identify this belief outside religion?
  • Reflect on your views on religion in/for ethics. Have you changed your views since the beginning of the course? Why or why not?


PLANNED LEARNING OUTCOMES
By the end of this course, students should be able to:

  1. Understand some of the major theories and debates in philosophical accounts of religion in/for ethics.
  2. Understand and analyse arguments in the relevant literatures.
  3. Evaluate these theories and arguments critically.
  4. Develop their own views and arguments through consideration and analysis of the views and arguments presented in the course.
  5. Engage constructively and respectfully with the views and arguments of others, even if you disagree with them.