Deliberative Excellences in Aristotle
Syllabus, Master's level, 5FT189
- Education cycle
- Second cycle
- Main field(s) of study and in-depth level
- Theoretical Philosophy A1N
- Grading system
- Fail (U), Pass (G), Pass with distinction (VG)
- Finalised by
- The Department Board, 4 September 2023
- Responsible department
- Department of Philosophy
120 credits, including 60 credits in philosophy, aesthetics, musicology, literature or art history. Proficiency in English equivalent to the Swedish upper secondary course English 6.
Upon successful completion of the course, students should be able to:
- explain Aristotle's accounts of deliberation and deliberative excellences and their place in Aristotelian ethics
- evaluate different accounts of how and why Aristotle thinks that different social groups are in different positions with respect to deliberation
- compare joint and solitary practical deliberation and evaluate the significance of the distinction for understanding Aristotle.
Phronesis or practical wisdom is for Aristotle a deliberative excellence: a state of the soul in virtue of which its possessors deliberate well. But what is it to deliberate, and to do it well? And is phronesis the only deliberative excellence, or are there others? In this course we'll plunge into controversies surrounding both questions, with the dual aim of getting a deeper grip on Aristotelian ethics and better appreciating the role that joint deliberation plays in it. In particular, we'll talk about how to make sense of Aristotle's noxious claims that some people can't deliberate well, whether only those with the character virtues can deliberate well, and how differences between joint and solitary deliberation matter - e.g. (with an eye to Nicomachean Ethics 6.10-11 and the particularly noxious claim in Politics 1.13 that women's deliberative faculties are not authoritative) whether there are different virtues for different roles to be played in joint deliberation.
The readings will be primary texts from Aristotle's Ethics (esp. Nicomachean Ethics 6), Politics, and Rhetoric, supplemented with secondary literature on these passages, some modest background reading, and some contemporary literature on joint deliberation.
Seminars structured around the readings.
A final essay of 3500 words. Students will be expected to present the proposed topic of the essay and their initial thoughts about it during class.
If there are special reasons for doing so, an examiner may make an exception from the method of assessment indicated and allow a student to be assessed by another method. An example of special reasons might be a certificate regarding special pedagogical support from the University's disability coordinator.
The course may run jointly with the first cycle course 5FT191.