PHIL 490: VIRTUE ETHICS                   NICK GIER, INSTRUCTOR                                                SPRING, 2001

Texts: Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics; French, et al., Midwest Studies in Philosophy, Vol. 13; McKinnon, Character, Virtue Theories, and the Vices; Bellantoni, Moral Progress: A Process Critique of MacIntyre (optional); Alasdair MacIntyre, After Virtue (2nd ed.);  Crisp and Slote, eds., Virtue Ethics.

Department Reserve. The following texts and articles will be on reserve in the philosophy seminar room. If you do not find the book itself, master copies of articles and chapters are just in front of the secretary's desk. They may not leave the fourth floor. Copies can be made on the department copier. Hooke, Virtuous Persons, Vicious Deeds; Haydon, Values, Virtues, and Violence; Keown, The Nature of Buddhist Ethics; Simon, Moral Virtue; MacIntyre, Three Rival Versions of Moral Enquiry; Farley, In Praise of Virtue; Kruschwitz and Roberts, The Virtues; Kupperman, Character; Darling-Smith, Can Virtue Be Taught?; Yearly, Mencius & Aquinas; Taylor, Ethics, Faith, and Reason; Porter, The Recovery of Virtue; Kekes, Moral Wisdom and Good Lives; Hauerwas, Character and the Christian Life; Gert, Morality:Its Nature and Justification; Fieser, Moral Philosophy through the Ages; Glendon & Blankenhorn, Seedbeds of Virtue; Casey, Pagan Virtue.

1/16&18  INTRODUCTION.  Which came first? The virtues or moral laws? What is a virtue? What is a vice? How does one define virtue ethics? MacIntyre, chap. 14; MacKinnon, chap. 2; Carr (Hooke), 179-185; Haydon, chap. 5; Simon, chap. 5; ; for a very good introduction to virtue ethics see Fieser, chap. 3.

1/18 FIRST PAPER DUEKupperman, chap. 1; MacKinnon, chap. 3; Taylor, chaps. 3 & 4: Haydon, chaps. 8 & 9. Click here for paper topics.  The papers should be 2-3 pages long and should follow this style sheet.

1/23&25  PLATO AND THE VIRTUES. Read selections from the dialogues under paper topics.   Taylor, 33-58; Kekes, chap.2;

1/25   PAPER #2 DUE.

1/30-2/8  ARISTOTLE'S VIRTUE ETHICS.  Nicomachean Ethics, Books 1-4, 6, 10; MacKinnon, chap. 1; Kekes, chap. 1; MacIntyre, chap. 12; Fieser, chap. 3; Nussbaum (French, et al.), 32-53; Taylor, chaps. 10, 15, 16; Casey, chap. 4.

2/1 & 2/8:  PAPERS #3 AND #4 DUE.

2/13&15   BUDDHIST VIRTUE ETHICS.   Smart (Darling-Smith), 125-36; Kaluphana, chap. 10.

2/15    NO PAPER ON BUDDHISM.  But you must do a posting on Virtue Talk before class on Feb 15.


2/22   PAPER #5 DUE.

2/27&3/1   JUDEO-CHRISTIAN VIRTUE ETHICS. For Tuesday concentrate on the short articles on pride, humility, etc. on DR. MacIntyre, chap. 13; Porter, chap. 4 & 6.

3/1  NO PAPER THIS WEEK, but you must post something on the reading by Thursday AM.

3/6  GANDHI AND THE VIRTUE OF NON-VIOLENCE.  Two Types of Virtues, Roberts (Kruschwitz & Roberts), 121-136;  web reading.

3/8   No paper this week, but you must post something on Gandhi or on MacIntyre critique by Thursday morning.

3/8&13    MACINTYRE AND HIS CRITICS.    Bellantoni and Susan Okin (Sterba).  MacIntyre, chap. 19.  Other reading in seminar room file.

3/15   PAPER #6 DUE

3/13&29 SPECIFIC VIRTUES AND VICES. Generosity readings on DR; honor, integrity, constancy (McKinnon, p. 38; MacIntyre, end of Chap. 14); existentialism and authenticity (Gert, 262). Curiosity, vice or virtue? Hooke, #29. Casey, passim.  Gert, 292-300. (Old DR file in seminar room.) Hooke, #20, chaps. 4, 5, ##52-56, ##58-59, #67, #82.  Crisp & Slote, chap. 8. G. Taylor in Midwest Studies; Sommers & Sommers, chap. 4

3/27 SAINTS.  Mother Theresa article.  Does the saint sacrifice her own self-realization by serving others? (Duncan, 50).  Crisp & Slote, chap. 4.   Sommers & Sommers, 463-474.  Urmson, "Saints and Heroes" Melden, ed. (U. of Wash. Press, 1958): 198-216.

3/29   PAPER #7 DUE

4/3&5   VIRTUE ETHICS AND CONSTRUCTIVE POSTMODERNISM"Synthetic Reason and Aesthetic Order"; "Premodernism, Modernism, and Postmodernism"; Bellantoni, 32-91; and Nussbaum's Midwest Studies article again. Optional reading "Whitehead, Confucius, and the Aesthetics of Virtue."

4/5    PAPER #8 DUE

4/10&12  CIVIC VIRTUE AND POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY.   Political Philosophy Primer; Glendon & Blankenhorn, Seedbeds of Virtue, 17-34 (Wilson), 35-60 (Galston); Hauerwas, 201-220 (DR); Davis' article in Midwest Studies, 352-366; Macedo, "Liberal Virtues" (DR); Gert on tolerance, 263-266 (DR); Hollenbach in Hooke, 690-98.

4/12   PAPER #9 DUE.

4/17&19   Free Choice Week.  We will read articles from the Midwest Studies, McKinnon, and Crispin and Slote volumes (except the ones critical of virtue ethics) and you will choose one for your paper.

4/19  PAPER #10 DUE.

4/24&26  CRITIQUES OF VIRTUE ETHICS.  Read the articles in Crisp & Slote, Hooke, and Sommers & Sommers that are critical of virtue theory. Choose what you think is the most promising line of criticism and writing your paper on that.

4/26   PAPER #11 DUE

5/1  THESES ON VIRTUE ETHICS.  Your instructor will attempt to defend at least a half dozen theses regarding virtue ethics.  He will e-mail the theses out beforehand so student will have a chance to articulate their best arguments.

5/3-14:  PAPER PRESENTATIONS. Rough draft due on one week before presentation and final draft due on May 8.

Class Attendance.  A successful seminar depends on the participation of all of its members, so attendance is required.  If you have to be absent, you must notify the instructor by phone or e-mail.

Weekly Papers. 11 weekly papers worth 20 pts. each. They must be two pages minimum/three pages maximum, typed, double- spaced, one inch margins all around, and printed in a 12-point font. Ten papers will be counted for a total of 200 points. A good faith effort must be made on all paper assignments.

Research Paper.  A well-argued and researched philosophical essay of 20 pages on a topic of your choice cleared with the instructor.  The paper is worth 200 pts.  Papers without a rough draft will not be accepted.  A style sheet must be attached.

VirtueTalk Postings. Twelve postings are required, each one weekly paper topic that you did not choose.  Six are due before spring break; the other six are due before May 1. Three complete paragraphs are required for your postings and you should include items of class discussion (only if the topic was discussed of course).   In addition every student will be required to respond to each student paper (a total of eight postings). These responses must be at least three paragraphs with substantial philosophical content. Postings are worth 10 pts. each, and total points on this assignment will be 200.   Total points for course is 600.

Office Hours: MTWTh 2:30-3:15; 885-6284; 883-3360(home); e-mail: