Course: Contemporary ethics

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Course title Contemporary ethics
Course code KFHS/B381
Organizational form of instruction Lecture + Seminary
Level of course Bachelor
Year of study not specified
Semester Winter
Number of ECTS credits 3
Language of instruction Czech
Status of course Compulsory-optional
Form of instruction Face-to-face
Work placements This is not an internship
Recommended optional programme components None
  • Fišerová Michaela, doc. Mgr. Ph.D.
Course content
1) Introduction to the ethics of the contemporary world. The trauma of the Holocaust and totalitarianism of the 20th century. A justification for demanding a skeptical starting point for contemporary ethics.Revision of human rights and human nature. Criticism of hegemony, racism, sexism, homphobia. Environmental crisis. Acomprehensive appeal for the transformation of human behavior. 2) Ethics of guilt. Karl Jaspers and the question of collective guilt. Hannah Arendt and the banality off evil. Ethical assumptions of violence from the point of view of the asymmetrical relational model. Emphasizing the aspect of guilt and its absolutization as a possible prevention against being subjected to violence. 3) Ethics of free choice. Jean-Paul Sartre and existentialism. Tzvetan Todorov and the possibilities of action in a borderline situation. Heroism, self-sacrifice, suicide. THe difference between egoism and altruism against the background of the priorities of value ethics.The double limit of axiology:value relativism and ethical absolutsim. 4) Ethics of responsibility. Hans Jonas.The future dimension of responsibility and its comparison with traditional approaches to thinking about responsibility. Bernard Stiegler. A critique of technology and its relationship to the planetary dimension ofresponsibility. 5) The ethics of the other. Emmanuel Levinas. Influences of the Jewish tradition of thought on the criticism of Western civilization. The other?s face. Totality and infinity. The limits of Lévinas? humanity. 6) The ethics of respectful dialogue. Jean-Francois Lyotard. Alterity and plurality. Over and against: relational symmetry and asymmetry in the ethics of dialogue.Multiculturalism asamutual discussion overcoming racism and colonialism.HomiBhabha. Inclusion and mimicry: justification of the crituque of civilizational conditions. Anthropological assumptions of the ethics of dialogue asacondition for thinking about the correction of social bonds. 7) Bioethics and biopower. Georges Canguilhem. Normal and pathological. Michel Foucault. Discourse, disposition, supervision. Discursive regulation of populationin terms of birth, health and disease, sexualtiy, death. The question of the nuclear family prescription. The right to abortion, gay marriage and parenthood. 8) Ethics of subersion. Simone de Beauvoir and feminism. Judith Butler and the LGBT+ movement. Normative prejudices towards gender and queer issues. Xenophobia. Uninsured lvies and their protection. Consideration and discursive acceptance of otherness as a way out of the social crisis. 9) Ethics of gift and forgiveness. Jacques Derrida. Deconstructing the power of law. The Holocaust, Terrorism and Forwiving the Unforgivable. Gift of Death: Sacrifice, Euthanasia, Capital Punishment. Francesco Vitale. Pragmatic paradox and practical ethics. 10) Ethics of human-animal attraction. Jacques Derrida. Deconstruction of human sovereignty in relation to animality. An animal as a beast, an evil and inferior being? The question of animal "rights", vegetarianism and veganism. Donna Harraway. Pets and the "humanization" of selected animal species. An analogy between a zoo and a prison. 11) Environmental ethics. Gilles Deleuze. A critique of global capitalism and rational intellectualism. Becoming different. Plural "I" instead of subject. Alliances and symbioses of the living. Florence Burgat. The importance of intuition,emotional intelligence and empathy in te relationship with living geings. 12) Summarizing colloquium.

Learning activities and teaching methods
unspecified, unspecified, unspecified
Learning outcomes
The subject introduces the defining problems and trends of ethics in the 20th and 21st centuries. It emphasizes the reaction of ethical thinkers to the trauma of the Holocaust and the totalitarianisms of the 20th century, which is connected with a fundamental reassessment of the issues of free choice, action in borderline situations, the face of the other, collective guilt, the banality of evil, etc. The subject also draws attention to the fact that the ethics of the second half of the 20th century is shaped by the need to respond to the problems of a changing globalized multicultural world, in which questions are asked about possible solutions to the traumas caused by the violence of colonialism and hegemony, but also racism, chauvinism, sexism, ageism and prejudices related to the normative idea of gender and sexual orientation. The subject also touches on issues of social regulation of the possibility of life and death, the environmental crisis and the human relationship to nature in general and to animals in particular.
Knowledge - defining problems and directions of ethics of the 20th and 21st centuries - the reaction of ethically oriented thinkers to the trauma of the Holocaust and the totalitarianisms of the 20th century - problems of the changing globalized multicultural world Skills - orientation in the problems of the changing globalized world - critical orentation in issues of social regulation of the possibility of life and death, environmental crisis and humant relationship to nature in general and to animals in particular

Assessment methods and criteria
Seminar work Active participation in seminars
Recommended literature
  • Arendt, H. Krize kultury. Praha: Mladá fronta, 2002.
  • Burgatová, F. Svoboda a neklid zvířecího života. Praha: Karolinum, 2018.
  • Butler, J. Rámce války. Za které životy netruchlíme?. Praha, 2021.
  • Derrida, J. The Animal that Therefore I Am. Fordham University Press, 2008.
  • Foucault. Dějiny sexuality. Praha, 1999.
  • Jaspers Karl. Otázka viny. Praha: Mladá fronta, 1969.
  • Jonas, H. Princip odpovědnosti. Praha, 1997. ISBN 80-86005-06-2.
  • Lévinas, E. Totalita a nekonečno. Praha: Oikoymenh, 2020.
  • Lyotard, J-F. Rozepře. Praha, 1998.
  • Todorov, T. V mezní situaci. Praha: Mladá fronta, 2000.

Study plans that include the course
Faculty Study plan (Version) Category of Branch/Specialization Recommended year of study Recommended semester