2023-2024 / PHIL0092-1

Issues in ancient and contemporary ethics


30h Th

Number of credits

 Master in philosophy (120 ECTS)5 crédits 
 Master in philosophy (60 ECTS)5 crédits 


Florence Caeymaex, Marc-Antoine Gavray

Language(s) of instruction

French language

Organisation and examination

Teaching in the second semester


Schedule online

Units courses prerequisite and corequisite

Prerequisite or corequisite units are presented within each program

Learning unit contents

Our starting point will be the idea, suggested by Michel Foucault in his last lectures at the Collège de France and in Histoire de la sexualité, II & III, that ethics constitutes a practice of shaping ethos, understood as an attitude, a way of living, i.e. a way of relating to oneself, to others and to the world.

We will explore the way in which numerous works, in the field of contemporary philosophy but also in forms of expression that extend beyond the field of scholarly culture, critically question the ethos inherited from Eurocentric modernity, in order to liberate other forms of relationship to oneself, to the world and to others, in a context marked by current social and environmental movements and struggles.

From a perspective that links ethics and politics, we will look at the ethical significance of the notions of care, attention, responsibility, reparation, relationality, plurality, standpoint, and "buen vivir", and their links to the contestations and transformations of power relationships and domination inherited from Eurocentric modernity (class, race, sex/gender and domination of nature). We will explore the way in which these notions transform and profoundly renew the meaning of the ideals of justice, solidarity, responsibility and universality.

We will draw on feminist, queer, environmental and decolonial studies - as well as some of the more classic works of 19th and 20th century philosophy - such as : William James, Henri Bergson, Hannah Arendt, Emmanuel Lévinas, Michel Foucault, Enrique Dussel, Patricia Hill Collins and other figures of Black Feminism, Edouard Glissant, Enrique Dussel, Walter Mignolo, Gloria Anzaldua, Carol Gilligan, Joan Tronto, Pascale Molinier, Donna Haraway, Isabelle Stengers, Maria Puig Della Bellacasa, Maria Grace Salamanca Gonzalez, and others.

Learning outcomes of the learning unit

The course aims to :

- introduce students to a vast continent of contemporary textual resources - philosophical and extra-philosophical - which bear witness to the current renewal of the field of ethics;
- provide reference points for modern and contemporary moral theories and their critics;
- take a critical and constructive look at the concepts of ethics, morality and politics;
- work on a series of key concepts (care, attention, concern, reparation-regeneration, responsibility, relationality, plurality, standpoint) which contribute to the renewal of ethics and our moral theories;
- work on students' discursive and argumentative skills, on the basis of readings, but also of each student's personal knowledge and experience

Prerequisite knowledge and skills


Planned learning activities and teaching methods

Learning activities will take place in the classroom. They will involve :

- reading at home in preparation for the sessions
- oral presentations of the readings in class
- active participation in discussions
- time-limited presentations by the teacher

Mode of delivery (face to face, distance learning, hybrid learning)

Face-to-face course

Additional information:

Face-to-face course. Attendance is strongly recommended.

Recommended or required readings

La bibliographie et les listes de lecture seront communiquées en temps utile. Il n'y aura pas de notes de cours rédigées par l'enseignante.

Exam(s) in session

Any session

- In-person

oral exam

Written work / report

Additional information:

The assessment methods will be discussed and decided with the students (personal written work, personal oral presentation or traditional oral examination based on the course content).

Work placement(s)

Organisational remarks and main changes to the course

The course takes place in the 2nd term, on Tuesdays, from 2pm to 4pm, at PHILO I (Philosophy Department). Date of first course to be confirmed in January.


Florence Caeymaex (F.Caeymaex@uliege.be)

To contact us, please indicate the course code (PHIL0092) and the subject of your request in the Subject line.


+32 4 366 56 00 ou 04 366 55 99 (secretariat)

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