The Role of Reason in Ethics
Jul 10, 2004
In this course we will examine, chronologically, a range of ethical theories in the Western tradition: Platonism, Aristotelianism, Kantianism, Pragmatism and Objectivism. With respect to each, we will ask: What does this theory say about the nature of reason and its role in the good life? The presentation of each theory will start by analyzing selected passages from primary texts; this will lead us to each school’s essentialized answer to our question. In order to gain an integrated, grounded understanding, we will also compare and contrast the various approaches, including their application to real moral problems as they arise in daily life. The result will be a deeper understanding of the history of ethics, and of the unique value of Ayn Rand’s approach.