Is Goodness Good? A Selected History of Virtue and Morality

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On January 12, Brian Julian will give the fifth talk in the series “It’s Complicated: The Histories Behind What We Think We Know.”

Talking about ethics in contemporary society can be confusing. People say things like “I don’t care about morality” or “Virtue is constricting.” This can sound shocking, especially to someone from a Christian background. Are these people malevolently evil villains? While this sort of language can be used to justify what is wrong, it could also be that the person means something different by the words ‘morality’ and ‘virtue’ than the hearer understands. This class will explore a few meanings attached to these terms from the history of philosophy, in order to help clarify contemporary ethical discourse. While some of the views examined ultimately clash with Christianity, the class will also consider whether they have aspects that are true, wondering along with them whether it is always good to be good.

Brian Julian joined the faculty of Gutenberg College in Fall 2021, having taught philosophy and writing for several years at colleges in the Boston area. He specializes in the history of philosophy and has published research on Aristotle. He writes (and cartoons) for Thinking in the Light, a website where he aims to make philosophical ideas accessible to a general audience.

Due to heightened concern over the omicron variant and because there was recently a positive COVID test among the Gutenberg students, remote attendance will be free for the January 12th Community Class, and no registration is required. You are also welcome to attend in person at Gutenberg.

January 12th Zoom Link (registration not required)
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