21/2 – Good and Evil

Module Leader:
Eszter Szép
2021-2022 Autumn
Arts and Humanities

From the very first moment of this course we will be exploring our gut moral intuitions, our almost instinctive understanding of what is good and what is evil, what is right and what is wrong. Our aim is to make strange what has been familiar – to look at these intuitions in new ways. With the help of comics, films, a novel, psychological experiments, and philosophical texts, we will find new ways of seeing, thinking, and talking about moral questions.

The first part of the course focuses on decisions and consequences, and we will also familiarize ourselves with ways of moral reasoning. Then the course turns to the relationship between the individual and society, and we will see if / how institutions and authority complicate the questions of good and evil. Finally, we make excursions into the fields of contemporary feminist ethics and environmental ethics with the help of a Margaret Atwood novel.

Each week, students submit a short essay before class to demonstrate that they have thought about the questions asked by the given text/film/comic assigned for that week.

At the end of the course, students submit one of the following:

a longer final argumentative essay (1500 words without bibliography) on a topic related to those discussed in class. There will be a set of questions and topics for the students to choose from.
a piece of creative writing (short story, poem, dramatized scene) (2000 words) related to one of the topics and questions discussed in class.

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