PHIL 235
Morality and Partiality: Loyalty, Friendship, Patriotism Spring 2022
Division II Writing Skills

Class Details

The aim of this tutorial is to critically examine the nature, importance, and ethical value of personal attachments and loyalties. Loyalty is frequently expected by family, friends and lovers, and demanded by institutions, religious, political and ethnic communities, as well as by the state. A person incapable of loyalty is often characterized as fickle, cold, self-serving and sometimes even pathological. However, the status of loyalty as a virtue has always been suspect: it has been argued that it is incompatible with impartiality, fairness and equality, and claimed that it is always exclusionary. So, some relationships with other people–such as friendships, familial ties, love, patriotism–seem to be ethically desirable, central to the quality of our lives, and yet prima facie in tension with the widely held belief that morality requires impartiality and equal treatment of all human beings. Are we ever justified in having more concern, and doing more, for our friends, family, community or nation? Does morality require that we always subordinate our personal relationships to universal principles? Is patriotism incompatible with cosmopolitanism, and if so, which of the two should we value? If loyalty is a virtue, what are the proper limits of its cultivation and expression?
The Class: Format: tutorial; tutorial pairs will meet with the instructor for one hour a week, and on their own for another hour.
Limit: 10
Expected: 10
Class#: 3558
Grading: no pass/fail option, no fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: tutorial attendance and participation; bi-weekly tutorial papers, each about 5 pages long (totaling 6 per student); bi-weekly oral responses to the paper of the tutorial partner
Prerequisites: none; open to first year students
Enrollment Preferences: Philosophy majors
Distributions: Division II Writing Skills
WS Notes: Students will get regular and detailed feedback on their writing skills, from word choice and sentence structure to overall structure of the paper.
Attributes: PHIL Contemporary Value Theory Courses

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