PHI524 Systematic Ethics: Themes from Railton, Raz, and Scanlon
Fall 2007
Michael Smith
Course Materials

The seminar will devote four weeks each to studying the work of three contemporary philosophers: Peter Railton (Michigan), Joseph Raz (Oxford/Columbia), and Thomas M. Scanlon (Harvard). In the first three weeks we will study a selection of their previously or soon-to-be published work. In the fourth week they will visit, give a presentation, and answer questions. During their visit we will also have an opportunity to discuss their work with them more informally over lunch and dinner. The reading, which must be done prior to each seminar, will be downloadable by clicking on the names of the papers that will eventually be posted below. In the case of Peter Railton, I encourage you to buy a copy of his Facts, Values, and Norms (CUP, 2003), as the reading is all contained there-in.

1. Peter Railton
I Consequentialism and its discontents

Wednesday 19 September 11:00am-1:50pm
"Alienation, Consequentialism, and the Demands of Morality"
"How Thinking about the Character of Utilitarianism Might Lead Us to Rethink the Character of Utilitarianism"

2. Peter Railton
II The reality of value and the foundations of ethics

Wednesday 26 September 11:00am-1:50pm
"Moral Realism"
"Aesthetic Value, Moral Value, and the Ambitions of Naturalism"

3. Peter Railton
III Normative authority?

Wednesday 3 October 11:00am-1:50pm
"On the Hypothetical and Non-Hypothetical in Reasoning about Belief and Action"
"Normative Force and Normative Freedom: Hume and Kant, but not Hume versus Kant"
"Naturalism and Prescriptivity" (background)

4. Peter Railton visits the seminar
Wednesday 10 October 11:00am-1:50pm

5. Jospeh Raz
I Instrumental Rationality

Wednesday 17 October 11:00am-1:50pm
"The Myth of Instrumental Rationality"
"Instrumental Rationality: A Reprise"

6. Jospeh Raz
II Agency, action, and reasons

Wednesday 24 October 11:00am-1:50pm
"Reasons: Explanatory and Normative"
"Reason, Reasons, and Normativity"

Mid-term break

7. Jospeh Raz
III The Nature of Normativity

Wednesday 7 November 11:00am-1:50pm
"Reasons: Practical and Adaptive"
"Explaining Normativity: On Rationality and the Justification of Reason"

8. Jospeh Raz visits the seminar
Wednesday 14 November 11:00am-1:50pm

9. Thomas M. Scanlon
Moral Dimensions: Permissibility, Meaning, Blame I

Wednesday 21 November 11:00am-1:50pm
Introduction and Chapter One

10. Thomas M. Scanlon
Moral Dimensions: Permissibility, Meaning, Blame II

Wednesday 28 November 11:00am-1:50pm
Chapters Two and Three. If you haven't already downloaded these, please download the revised version of Chapter Two and the revised version of Chapter Three.

11. Thomas M. Scanlon
Moral Dimensions: Permissibility, Meaning, Blame III

Wednesday 5 December 11:00am-1:50pm
Chapter Four

12. Thomas M. Scanlon visits the seminar
Wednesday 12 December 11:00am-1:50pm

Last updated Wednesday 26 November 2007