OUDCE: Being Good
OverviewThis course helps you think more clearly and rationally about what sort of person to be and how to live your life. It explains fundamental philosophical ideas that enable you to improve your relationships and make better decisions in your everyday life.
You, like everyone else, are faced with difficult choices regarding what sort of person to be, how to live your life, and how to go about making decisions in practice. This course helps you make those choices as well as possible.
The first half of the course is devoted to explaining fundamental ideas and arguments in ethics. The second half shows how they can be employed in practice. Issues explored include: how to better relate to your friends and partner; how to deal with difficult people; to what extent to help strangers; obligations to future generations; career and business ethics; weakness of will; and how best to go about improving yourself.
No prior knowledge of philosophy is needed for participation in this course, only a willingness to question, think rationally and learn, coupled with experience of living a life!
1. To teach participants some key philosophical ideas, arguments and distinctions connected with the question of what sort of person to be, how to live your life and how to go about your decision-making.
2. To help participants understand how these ideas, arguments and distinctions can be employed in practice.
3. To help participants to think clearly and rigorously about the issues in question, and to back up their claims with arguments.
Week 1: Introduction to philosophical reasoning. An exploration of the importance of deepening self-understanding, and trying to learn with regard to all aspects of decision-making.
Week 2: Is selfishness justified? Or should you rather have an equal concern for others? If so, which others: your family, your friends, your fellow countrymen, everyone...? An exploration of Kants idea that you should always treat every person as an end, never as a mere means or object.
Week 3: What is truly best for a person? How do we go beyond mere opinion, intuition & observation in order to establish a firmly grounded understanding? An explanation of the distinction between competitive goods (e.g. money, power, desire gratification) and shared goods (e.g. love, friendship, cooperation, shared goals, truth, beauty).
Week 4: The distinction between higher and lower pleasures and emotions. The role of empathy, creativity and the aesthetic. How to get better at grasping and dealing constructively with complex situations, particularly social situations. Which goals should you have?
Week 5: What is the true nature of friendship, love, sex & marriage? How can you improve your relationships? How can you reduce conflict and argument? Why is fidelity important?
Week 6: How can you combine being ethical with success in career, business and public life? How best to deal with competition and rivalry? What is your responsibility to community, country & strangers? Strategies for dealing with difficult people - whether family members, work colleagues or others.
1. Be able to understand and express a variety of key ideas and arguments in Ethics.
2. Have improved their skills in analysing and evaluating ideas and arguments.
3. Be able to think clearly and rationally about issues dealt with in the course, especially where these connect with their own views, how they live their life, and how they make their decisions.
The following books have been suggested by the tutor for background reading:
Plato- 'Gorgias'. Kant- 'Groundwork for the metaphysics of morals'. Gaita,R- 'Good and Evil: An Absolute'. Thompson, Michael- 'Life and Action'. Parfit, Derek- 'On What Matters'. Scruton, Roger- 'Beauty'. T.H.Green- 'Prolegomena to Ethics, Edited by David BrinK. Richard Holton- 'Willing, Waiting, Waiting OUP 2009. Onora O'Neill- 'Towards Justice and Virtue', CUP1996. Lafollette, H- 'The Oxford Handbook of Practical Ethics'.
This course is led by Dan Dennis, BSc MA. Dan Dennis has a degree in Engineering, an MA in Philosophy and will shortly complete his PhD in Philosophy. He has written widely on Ethics, Political Philosophy, Philosophy of Religion and Aesthetics. He has taught for OUDCE for over five years.
ProgressionLearners can progress onto any number of other Philosophy workshops/ courses. The tutor will be able to give advice on the correct path of progression for the individual.
AssessmentThere will be a friendly co-operative approach to the issues with which this course confronts us. Students will be presented with ideas, arguments, thought experiments and examples, which they will be encouraged to question, discuss, reflect on and write about.
Entry RequirementsNo prior knowledge of philosophy is needed for participation in this course, only a willingness to question, think rationally and learn, coupled with experience of living a life!
QualificationsThis course does not lead to a formal qualification.
Home StudyStudents write either four assignments of 250 words each, or a 1000 word essay. They receive friendly, sympathetic, helpful and constructive feedback.
Work PlacementLearners do not need to be in relevant work to undertake this course.
Additional CostsThere are no formal additional costs associated with this course, however learners may choose to purchase 1 or more of the suggested books for background reading.
|Code||Location||Start||End||Times||Day||Duration||Cost (Year 1)|
|99852 121301||Newbury College||13/02/2013||27/03/2013||18:30 to 21:00||Wednesday||6 Weeks||£127.50|