Diploma : Ethics
Access: There are no prerequisites for these short courses. The course material is university level.
Length of Studies: Students have 24 months from the date of enrolment in which to validate the diploma.
Validation: Each of the five courses is assessed by a 5 page written assignment. The diploma is worth 15 ECTS.
Diploma : Ethics
Professing the Catholic Faith is about far more than an application of ethical principles. Nonetheless, within any life in the Spirit aiming to build up the Kingdom of God on earth; Catholics are continuously faced with ethical choices. The following set of courses offer the opportunity to explore ethics in the widest sense of the word and ultimately aims to help students to open their eyes to the key issues and teaching behind everyday decisions.
Fundamental Moral Theology
Foundation of Ethics
Catholic Social Teaching
Social Political philosophy
Aquinas’ Notion of Friendship
List of Courses
Catholic Social Teaching (also known as Catholic Social Doctrine) sums up the teachings of the Church on social justice issues. It promotes a vision of a just society that is grounded in the Sacred Scriptures and in the wisdom gathered from experience by the Christian community as it has responded to social, economic, and political issues throughout history.
Ethics, like philosophy, is in search of principles and universals. Ethics reflects on a particular human experience, namely, the experience of the good or of being good, and sets it in the context of the whole. One could also say that ethics reflects on what is the good and how our lives are oriented towards it
This course intends to familiarize the students with the debates and contributions of the main philosophical scholars and theories which have developed through history from the time of Greek Sophists through the XX century. Based on the Aristotelian assumption that man is a by nature a political animal, the course intends to give ultimate answers to questions such as how material goods should be distributed; on what basis people should possess property; what are the justified reasons why some people have more properties than others; why political power has to exist; what kinds of governments are acceptable; what does it determine the correct balance between authority and autonomy; what is the right balance between private and common good; what are the justified limits to my/your freedom.
There are many different definitions of Social Political Philosophy (SPP): the political can be defined as social decision making; philosophy is the most general form of inquiry that is the attempt to say what it is true and why. It is a normative discipline: SPP tries to establish norms, rules and ideal standards, how the social and political life should be. Different from Political science, which is the art of governing people, the discipline and the practice of assuring the “common good” of a certain society. Different from Social Sciences, which are descriptive disciplines which try to know the social facts and to find connections between them.
Part I: Historical contributions on social political thought
The Sophists: philosophy goes public; Plato’s Republic; Aristotle’s Politics; Cicero: Ius Gentium; Patristic era, St. Augustine: “De Civitate Dei”; St. Thomas on Natural law; Marsilio: “Defensor Pacis”; Machiavelli: The Prince; The Protestant reformation, Luther & Calvin political thought; Hobbes, Locke on Social Contract; Rousseau: Human nature and society; Montesquieu: Separation of powers; Tocqueville: Democracy in America; Adam Smith: The Wealth of nations; John Stuart Mill: On Liberty; Marx’s Critique of capitalism; Freud: Civilization and its discontents; Dostoyevsky’s Grand inquisitor; Hitler’s Nazism & Mussolini’s Fascism; Gandhi use of Power
Part II: Contemporary social political issues
Theories of Justice & distribution of property; Rights & Freedom; Natural law and social political philosophy; Justifications of the State, forms of Government ; Environment, Individualism, Multiculturalism, Feminism, Civil movements in a globalized world.
Leo Strauss, History of Political Philosophy, The University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1990
W.L. Mc Bride, Social and Political Philosophy, Paragon House, New York, 1994
Wolff, An Introduction to Political Philosophy, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1996
Santoni, & J. Sommerville, Social and Political Philosophy, Anchor Books, NY, 1963
Aquinas'notion of friendship and its relevance to eternal happiness. What is happiness? What is its nature and character both here and in the hereafter? Is it attainable? What is the nature and character of friendship? Is it possible? Why is it so integral to happiness, the goal of man, in such a way as to say no one can be called happy who is without friends?
This course will take students through ethical discourse from the time of Plato to Aristotle, then to Kant and utilitarians. The principal aim of this course is to make students aware of the different traditions or approaches to ethics. Students can then be able to compare some of the most influential ethical theorists in human history.