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In the Ancient Greek world (the world of Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle, often regarded as the birthplace of philosophy) a “symposium” was a banquet held after a meal, an “after party” of sorts that usually included drinking, dancing, recitals and engaging conversations on the topics of the day.
For our purposes in this course, the Symposium discussions will not involve dancing, recitals or a banquet, but they will provide food for thought on current ethical issues and direct application of the ethical theory discussed in each of these weeks.
It is almost impossible these days to turn on the news or log onto social media without encountering a controversy that cries out for ethical discussion. For these Symposium discussions, your instructor will choose a topic of current ethical interest and a resource associated with it for you to read or watch. Your task is to consider how the ethical theory of the week might be used to examine, understand or evaluate the issue.
This week, you will consider how virtue ethics applies to a controversy, dilemma, event, or scenario selected by your instructor. It is a chance for you to discuss together the ethical issues and questions that it raises, your own response to those, and whether that aligns with or does not align with a virtue ethics approach. The aim is not to simply assert your own view or to denigrate other views, but to identify, evaluate, and discuss the moral reasoning involved in addressing the chosen issue.
Your posts should remain focused on the ethical considerations, and at some point in your contribution you must specifically address the way a virtue ethicist would approach this issue by explaining and evaluating that approach.
If you have a position, you should strive to provide reasons in defense of that position.
This is our final symposium, and our final video is a tour de force. I would LOVE for all of you to watch this video all the way through, but that is a lot to ask, I know, so watch AT LEAST a 30 minute segment, or jump around and watch segments that together add up to about 30 minutes. There is an amazing amount of information to discuss here. I am a member of the Heterodox Academy that Haidt founded. I would LOVE to hear your views on this material. Professor Haidt is joined here by the acclaimed and controversial clinical psychologist, Jordan Peterson. Their interaction is quite wide-ranging and exciting. Let’s see what we can make of this material in light of all that we have been discussing in our class so far!
Link to video-