Philosophy 407 F

Honours Seminar – Virtue Theory

Fall 2006



Sidney Smith 2101                                                                                           Professor Gopal Sreenivasan

Thurs 12-3:00                                                                                                  215 Huron Street, Room 921

                        (416) 978-2824



Reading Schedule


Subject to change.

CS = Crisp and Slote (eds.) Virtue Ethics (1997)



September 21               Foot, “Virtues and Vices” [CS, ch. 8]


S 28                             MacIntyre, “The Nature of the Virtues,” from After Virtue (1981) [CS, ch. 6]


October 5                    Driver, “The Virtues and Human Nature” in Crisp (ed.) How Should One Live? (1996)


O 12                            McDowell, “Virtue and Reason” [CS, ch. 7]


O 19                            Williams, “Justice as a Virtue,” in his Moral Luck (1981), ch. 6.


O 26                            Pears, “Courage as a Mean,” in A. Rorty (ed.) Essays on Aristotle’s Ethics (1980)


November 2                 Slote, “Agent-Based Virtue Ethics” [CS, ch. 12]


N 9                              Hursthouse, On Virtue Ethics (1999), ch. 1


N 16                            Hursthouse, chh. 2-3


N 23                            Hursthouse, ch. 6


N 30                            Hursthouse, ch. 7


December 7                 Hursthouse, ch. 8


End of lectures.





Simple version:  You will submit a 600 word essay weekly; and your top 5 grades on these essays will count 20% each toward your final grade.  There is no final exam.


More precise version:  You will submit a 600 word essay every week in the seminar, beginning in the second week.  However, I will only grade 5 of these essays.  The selection of particular essays to be graded will be up to me; and will be more or less random.  (So, of any essay you submit, you should expect it may be graded).


This policy is subject to the following adjustments:


            (a) you have one free pass, to be used at your discretion.  (In 11 weeks, you need only submit 10 essays);

            (b) in week two, all the essays will be ‘graded,’ but the grade will not count.  It will serve to give you an

                        idea of what grades will be like.  (If you use your free pass in this week, you will lose this opportunity,

                        i.e. your next grade will count for real);

            (c) at the end of term, you may re-submit for grading the best (in your opinion) of your essays that I did not

                        grade.  I will grade the essay, but not write comments on it.  If the grade is higher than your lowest grade

                        (from the essays I already graded), I will substitute the higher grade for the lower.


The essay topics will be given out each week in seminar for the next week.  The essays must be submitted online through (see below).  They are due before the start of the relevant week’s seminar.



Late penalties


Essays submitted after the start of seminar will be penalised one increment of a grade (e.g., from B to B-).  Essays submitted after Sunday will be penalised a further increment. Essays submitted after Wednesday will count as F.


Office hours


Tuesdays 1-3.  Room 921, 215 Huron Street.  I will also hold office hours by appointment.





Plagiarism is a serious academic offence.  It comes in various forms, all of which carry grave penalties.  If in doubt about what constitutes plagiarism, ask.  You should consult the Philosophy Department’s statement on plagiarism.


Students agree that by taking this course all required papers may be subject to submission for textual similarity review to for the detection of plagiarism. All submitted papers will be included as source documents in the reference database solely for the purpose of detecting plagiarism of such papers. The terms that apply to the University’s use of the service are described on the web site.



Writing help


Help in writing is available from the Philosophy Department’s essay clinic.  You are also encouraged to consult the Department’s guide to writing a philosophy essay.






14 September, 2006