Introduction to Ethics: A Primer for the Western Tradition

Author(s): Frank Scalambrino

Edition: 1

Copyright: 2016

Details: eBook w/KHPContent Access | 180 days |

Introduction to Ethics: A Primer for the Western Tradition is designed for Introduction to Ethics courses which survey the history of ideas in the Western philosophical tradition. Introducing students to essential normative and meta-ethical distinctions both in regard to perennial primary sources and in abstract form, this book has been deliberately constructed in a style geared toward learning and remembering core material, while facilitating the comparison of ideas across the history of the Western tradition. Though this book may be used as a standalone resource, optimally, this book should be used alongside primary source readings.

While respecting the depth of the standard historical divisions in Western philosophy, Introduction to Ethics: A Primer for the Western Tradition emphasizes the traditional metaethical concerns of philosophers to provide a philosophically robust understanding of: Goodness, Freedom, Friendship, Integrity, Happiness, and Human Excellence. This book also aims to present, with sufficient commensurability, normative ethical theories for students to consider as so many strategies for engaging in ethical decision-making and for performing ethically-minded actions. Philosophers discussed include, but are not limited to: Plato, Aristotle, Epicurus, Epictetus, Augustine, Hobbes, Hume, Kant, Bentham, J.S. Mill, and Nietzsche.

Introduction to Ethics: A Primer for the Western Tradition is designed to facilitate discussion and critical thinking in ethics by, for example, concisely presenting the central grounds for justification, such as, consequences, duties, and virtues and the central themes of contextualization, such as, cultural relativism, divine command theory, and nihilism, informing the Western philosophical tradition. Other notions discussed, central to moral psychology, moral social development, and ethics, in the Western tradition include: the relation between Reason and Passion, Emotion, Pleasure, Intuition, Attitude, Fate, Conscience, Personhood, Natural Law, the “State of Nature,” Responsibility, Rights, Justice, and Good Will.


§1 Chapter Overview
Introduction: Categories, Distinctions, and Abstract Notions
§2 Historical Periods: Fourfold & Ninefold Models
§3 Division of Ethics: Historical & Analytic
§4 The Terms “Ethics” and “Morality”
§5 Spheres of Justice
§6 Traditional Political Interpretations of Justice
§7 State of Nature: Optimistic & Pessimistic
§8 Contributions from Contemporary Psychology: Development & Characterology
§9 Absolutism, Relativism, Nihilism: Cultural Relativism & Incommensurability
§10 Ownership: Realty & Personality Property Rights
§11 Divine Command Theory: What to do with Revelation?
§12 Freedom & the Role of Judgment in Action: Self-Mastery
§13 Theodicy: The Future and Freedom
§14 The Structural Model: Species-Specific Organic Conditions of Experience }
§15 Happiness: More than a Feeling "
§16 Supervenience: Harmonic Manifestation
Normative Ethics
§17 Virtue, Duty, Utility: The Good & The Right

Chapter 1 Plato: Amidst Divine Presence
§1 Chapter Overview
Moral Psychology
§2 The Cave Allegory: Turning to the Absolute Good
§3 The Charioteer Allegory: The Tri-Partite Soul
§4 Platonic Love: The Scala Amoris to the Beautiful Itself
§5 The Virtues: Philosophy as Caring for Souls
Original Nature
§6 The State of Nature: Celestial Being
§7 Anamnēsis & Appropriate Logos: The Target Analogy
§8 Natural Law: The Rational Ordering of Nature
Happiness: The Good Life & The Good Death
§9 Eudaimonism: Perfection & the Practice of Dying 31
§10 The Noble Lie vs. The Myth of Er: Initiation Into Mysteries
§11 Persephone’s Flower: Fate, the Future, and the Daimon

Chapter 2 Aristotle: The Master of Those Who Know
§1 Chapter Overview
Original Nature
§2 Four Causes
§3 Potentiality & Actuality
§4 Types of Life & Types of Love
§5 State of Nature: Family
§6 Justice: Natural Law & Rule of Law
Moral Psychology
§7 Divisions of the Soul
§8 Two Inclinations toward the Good: Inclination & Interest
§9 Nature, Function & Excellence
§10 Pre-Requisites for Virtuous Action: Habit, Choice, and Knowledge
§11 Choice: Freedom of Will & Intention
§12 Character Types: The Spectrum of Self-Mastery
§13 Moral & Intellectual Virtues: The Doctrine of the Mean
§14 Self-Realization: Panoramic Wisdom
§15 Pleasure: The Supervening Indication of Completion
Happiness: The Good Life & The Good Death
§16 Self-Love: The Great-Souled Person
§17 Friendship: Different Types & the Virtue of Trust
§18 Teleological Eudaimonia: Happiness as Human Destiny

Chapter 3 Ancient Greek “Socratic” Wisdom Schools: Cynicism, Hedonism, Skepticism, Stoicism
§1 Chapter Overview
§2 Nature over Convention: Askēsis & Cosmopolitanism
§3 Freedom: Autarkeia, Eleutheria, Parrhēsia
§4 Types of Hedonism: Cyrenaic & Epicurean
§5 Ataraxia: Positivism, Individualism & Contractarian-Justice
§6 The Dynamics of Pleasure & Types of Desires: Food, Sex & Fame
§7 Types of Skepticism: Academic & Pyrrhonian
§8 Ataraxia: Swaying in the Clearing of Aporia
§9 Skeptic Askēsis: Modes for Suspending Judgment and Sustaining Tranquility
§10 Stoicism: Corporealism, Determinism & Spirit
§11 Natural Law: Pantheism & Katalepsis
§12 Stoic Askēsis & Relation to Desire: Apatheia & Ataraxia of the Sage

Chapter 4 The Catholic Revolution: Augustine, Aquinas, Bonaventure, and Duns Scotus
§1 Chapter Overview
§2 Theological Virtues
§3 From the Transcendentals to the Trinity
§4 Providence, Predestination, and Grace
§5 The State of Nature: Introducing Sin & Evil
§6 Natural Law & Justice: From the Garden of Eden to Just War
§7 From the Daimon to Agent Intellect to Conscience as Divine Illumination
§8 From Eudaimonia to the Super-Natural Happiness of Beatitude: Angelic Subsistence
Augustine: Intentionalism
§9 The Fall & Roman Law: From Family Innocence to the Guilty City
§10 Theodicy: Providence & Predetermination in Harmony with Free Will & Intention
Aquinas: Dominican Intellectualism
§11 Intellectualism: Synderesis
§12 Theodicy & Providence: On the Relationship between God and Hell as Punishment
Bonaventure & Duns Scotus: Franciscan Voluntarism
§13 Voluntarism: Miracles & the Will of God
§14 Theodicy & Beatitude: Future Contingents

Chapter 5 The Protestant Reformation of the Catholic Revolution I: Machiavelli & Hobbes
§1 Chapter Overview
Machiavelli: Kingdom Making is the Art of War
§2 The Masculinity of Virtue & The Necessary Relation between Justice and Violence
§3 Necessity & Virtue: Fate, Providence, Fortune & Autonomy and Prudence
§4 Dirty Hands & Clean Gloves: Authority & Dissimulation
Hobbes: Leviathan as an Immortal Clockwork Kingdom of Man
§5 Voluntarism Conceives Natural Law as Positive Law
§6 The State of Nature: Meat Machines at War
§7 Natural Right & The Social Contract: The Innocence of Existence in the Chaos of Freedom
§8 The Separation of Church and State: The Distinction between Submission and Subjection

Chapter 6 The Protestant Reformation of the Catholic Revolution II: Hume & Utilitarianism
§1 Chapter Overview
Hume: Influencing Motives of the Will
§2 The Role of Judgment in Action: The Path to Nihilism
§3 Dynamic Tension of the Passions: The Will Unmotivated by Reason
§4 The Relation between Is and Ought: The Tension between Right and Good?
§5 A Naturalistic Account of Virtue: Sympathy & the Virtue of Natural Sentiments
§6 Convention vs. Contract & Public Interest
§7 Relations of Ideas: Conventionalism & Nihilism
Utilitarianism in General Principles of Happiness
§8 Principle of Utilitarianism in General: Justice as Utility
§9 Structural Model: The “Jeffersonian Democratic” Reading
§10 Act vs. Rule Utilitarianism
Bentham’s Utilitarianism
§11 Principles Specific to Bentham: Positivism & Egoism
§12 Hedonic Calculus
J.S. Mill’s Utilitarianism
§13 Mill’s Critique of Bentham: “Better to be Socrates dissatisfied than a pig satisfied.”
§14 Principles Specific to Mill’s Utilitarianism: Liberty & Harm
Criticisms of Utilitarianism
§15 Non-Casuistical; Yet Navigating Blindly?
§16 Criticisms: Human Sacrifice & The Utility of Promises

Chapter 7 The Kantian Revolution & The Return to the Greeks of German Idealism
§1 Chapter Overview
Moral Psychology
§2 The Kantian Copernican Revolution
§3 Concerning the Original Predisposition to Good in Human Nature
§4 Types of Self-Love: In terms of Animality, Humanity, and Personality
Original Nature
§5 The Propensity to Evil in Human Nature & the Distinction between Propensity and Predisposition
§6 Types of Imperatives: What is Natural Law?
§7 The Natural Human Obligation to be Morally Excellent: Virtues as Duty-Based
§8 The Categorical Imperative: The Supreme Principle of Morality in the Analogy of the City and the Soul
Happiness: Good Will, Goodness in the Heart, & The Kingdom of Ends
§9 Freedom/Autonomy of the Will: What is a Good Will?
§10 Difference Between a Person of Good Morals and a Morally Good Person
§11 The Kingdom of Ends: The Starry Heavens Above & the Moral Law Within
Hegel: The Phenomenology of Spirit & The Philosophy of Right
§12 Return to an Optimistic-Trinitarian Reading of Spirit
​Schopenhauer: The World as Will & Representation
§13 Return to a Pessimistic-Skeptical Reading of the Stoic Craftsman-like Fire

Appendix I
§1 Ancient Greek “Socratic” Wisdom School Charts

Appendix II
19th-Century Existentialism: The Solitude of Existence & The Mystery of Life
​Kierkegaard: Purity of Heart is to Will One Thing
§1 Stages Along Life’s Way: Life is not a Problem to be Solved; it is a Mystery to be Lived
§2 Mysterium Coniunctionis: The Hierosgamos of Piety
Nietzsche: Will-to-Power & Original Nature
§3 On Schopenhauer: From Will to Will-to-Power
§4 The State of Nature: The Homeric Contest
§5 On the Genealogy of Morals: Autonomy and the Great-Souled Person
Amor Fati: Nietzsche’s Return to the Myth of Er
§6 On Truth & Lies in a Non-moral Sense: From the Ubiquity of Interpretation to Daimonic Self-Love
§7 Amor Fati: “Then I will be one who makes things beautiful…”
Nietzsche’s Cheerful Science: The Secret to Happiness is Overcoming Yourself Again and Again and …
§8 Freedom, Destiny, & Self-Realization: Becoming Who You Are
§9 Full Throttle Heart: The Craftsman-like Spirit-Fire Dances through Me




Frank Scalambrino

Frank Scalambrino, Ph.D. has been teaching university-level courses since January, 2004, including philosophy and psychology graduate-level courses. He has received recognition for his teaching in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Illinois, and Texas.

Before age 27 he founded a Community Mental Health Suicide Prevention Respite Unit and Clinical Intervention Center, and has worked in various direct service provision capacities in psychiatric emergency rooms and trauma settings, such as Mercy Medical Center (Canton, OH), the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC Braddock), and the Tuscarawas County Health Department. He was inducted into Chi Sigma Iota, the National Counseling Honor Society in 2003.

His work has appeared in The Review of Metaphysics, Philosophical Psychology, Phenomenology and Mind, Topos, Reason Papers, Philosophy in Review, Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective, and the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. His recent publications include: Full Throttle Heart (2015), Social Epistemology and Technology (2015), Meditations on Orpheus (2016), and a chapter contributed to the edited volume Philosophy and Breaking Bad (2016).

Related ISBN's: 9781524953287

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ISBN 9781524953287

Details eBook w/KHPContent Access 180 days