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 deontology 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 deontological 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 someone with a deontological view 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.
When responding to peers, you should strive to first understand the reasons they are offering before challenging or critiquing those reasons. One good way of doing this is by summarizing their argument before offering a critique or evaluation.
You must post on at least two separate days, must include at least one substantial reply to a peer or to your instructor, and your posts should add up to at least 400 words.
Your instructor may include additional requirements, so be sure to pay attention to the prompt.
This discussion will be assessed on a 10-point scale and is worth 3% of your final grade.
Week 3 Symposium
Please read the description above and/or watch the video explaining the symposium and its requirements. If you are still unsure about how to proceed with the discussion, please contact your instructor.
This week, we will consider how deontology applies to rights.
Please read “What We Owe to Others: Simone Weil’s Radical Reminder
(Links to an external site.)
” by Robert Zaretsky
(If you have difficulty accessing the link, go through the Ashford Library.)
Use these questions to guide your reflection:
What is the difference between the “personal” and the “impersonal,” according to Weil?
Can you see elements of the Categorical Imperative in Weil’s way of thinking of rights?