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Instructor: Gerald Postema. This course meets Mondays and Wednesdays from 11:00AM – 12:15PM in Peabody 216.

PHIL 58: From Revenge to Reconciliation: Moral Responses to Evil

Revenge, resentment, retribution; prosecution, punishment, pardon; justice, mercy, forgiveness; reparation, public truth-telling, reconciliation–these are some of the ways people respond personally and politically to grave wrongs done to themselves and others. Through them we seek pay back, justice, personal relief, or social reconciliation. Our investigation will explore moral issues raised by these responses, considering them not only in the most intimate personal relationships but also in the ational and international contexts. In all these contexts certain fundamental moral concepts shape our responses–responsibility, rights, justice, forgiveness, mercy, reconciliation. We will explore the relationships that exist among these concepts and the moral practices to which they give structure and meaning.

Materials that will stimulate our reflection will be drawn from film, fiction, and philosophy. Class meetings will be conducted as seminars-that is, each will be strongly oriented toward discussion in which each participant is expected to teach as well as learn. The course will involve lots of discussion and lots of writing.. In addition to preparing the class presentation, students will be assigned two formal papers of 5-7 pages(graded), several informal papers (commented upon but ungraded), and a written final exam.

This course satisfies the PH general education requirement.

Gerald Postema’s webpage