Ethics Fundamentals


The Summer School for Mexican Students 2012 is a continuation of the School initiated in 2011.

The objective of the course lies in presenting and discussing the main issues of  ethics and morality, both in the individual and social planes. Firstly, the basic ethical concepts are introduced, alongside their philosophical interpretation and discourse, including such notions as the good and evil, value, happiness, freedom, moral obligations and standards. Secondly, the social and political implications of ethics are analysed in the context of globalisation, ethnicity, postmodern culture and economy (in the view of current sociological theories). The course aims at the development of students’ self-awareness and understanding of contemporary moral issues, as well as the encouragement to their active participation in the processes of building up the ethical dimension of social life.

The course consists of lectures, classes, presentations, and discussions/debates.

The following basic issues are included in the course syllabus:

Part One: The Philosophical Foundations of Morality

1. Introduction to ethics. Philosophical foundations of moral theories. Basic notions of ethics (moral absolutism and relativism, the concepts of the good and evil, virtue, the role of logos, “the golden mean”, various theories of happiness, hedonism; moral princiles)  (2 hours) (Dr Anna Małecka)

2. Ancient sources of basic ethical notions - the Sophists, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Epicurus, the Stoics (2 hours) (Dr Anna Małecka)

3. Christian ethics (St. Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas, John Paul II) (2 hours) (Dr Anna Małecka)

4. The problem of freedom in ethics; the question of  “the gene for crime”- presentation of the documentary The Original Sin; followed by discussion.(2 hours) (Dr Anna Małecka)

5. Categorical moral imperative and utilitarian ethics (Immanuel Kant’s critical philosophy and rigorist ethics; the  principle of utility,  the “greatest happiness principle”, altruism, libertyJeremy Bentham, John Stuart Mill)  (2 hours) (Dr Anna Małecka)

6. Relativism in ethics – Friedrich Nietzsche (the will to power, master and slave morality, criticism of Christian morality, revaluation of all morals). (2 hours) (Dr Anna Małecka)

7. The fundamental distinction between the being/existence and ethical obligations. Introduction to the contemporary concept of existence in relation to ethical values (2 hours) (Prof. Piotr Mróz)

8.  The situation of the human being (freedom) in term of moral/ethical
choices (Sartre, Camus) (2 hours) (Prof. Piotr Mróz)

9. Authentic versus inauthentic existence in terms of morality and ethics
(Heidegger, Tillich) (2 hours) (Prof. Piotr Mróz)

10. Courage to talk - contemporary ethics and the problem of our situation
- the postmodern vision of values. Ethics as the unified project and blueprint of humankind (Fromm and Horney) (2 hours) (Prof. Piotr Mróz)

Part Two: The Social and Political Implications of Ethics

11. Moral aspects of ethnicity. Selected issues (6 hours)

(Global nature of ethnic relations - race and ethnic relations, racism (2 hours)

Ethnic stratification: dominant groups and minorities, stratification systems and their moral dimensions, ethnicity and power, ethnic subordination and minority responses to it – violent and non-violent (2 hours)

Mechanisms of ethnic dominance: prejudices and discrimination (2 hours)

(Prof. Janusz Mucha)

12. Ethical consequences (and side effects) of social change (the impact of technological innovations, new media, environment, biotechnology, the concept of risk society(2 hours) (Radosław Tyrała, M.A.)

13. Ethnical problems of modern and postmodern capitalism

( the “moral way of doing business”,cross-cultural aspects of globalization,

ethical problems in intercultural management, intercultural communication, the effect of specific-diffuse orientation on business, culture and environment: internal and external control, universalist versus particularist orientations in different cultures)  (6 hours) (Dr Maria Nawojczyk)

14. Understanding contemporary global society: sociological theories and their ethical dimensions

(1. inequalities: different models of inequality; social stratification, social structure, 2. social exclusion: deprived communities, minority groups; discrimination and social stigma in contemporary societies, 3. Poverty: underclass category, types of poverty – relative, absolute, subjective, objective. (2 hours) (Dr Katarzyna Leszczyńska)

16. The city and (in)justice

((in)justice and urban realm, ethics of political solidarity against domination and repression, the spatial dialectics of injustice, the right to the city and the right to difference. Heidegger, Soja, Habermas, Jürgen, Harvey, Lefebvre) (2 hours) (Dr Jacek Gądecki)

18.The Big Brother's policy (surveillance tactics and technologies, CCTV technology, antisocial behaviour as policy, culture of control, private and public space (2 hours) (Dr Jacek Gądecki)