Internationale Akademie für Philosophie an der Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile

Common Seminar 2011-2, Thursdays 17.00-18.20 h

Those participants who live outside Chile should call at 16.55 h the Skype address ‘iap-puc1’.

Ética / Ethics

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What kind of course is this?

This course is a seminar in which participants are required to give talks giving and defending an answer to a philosophical question. Another participant gives a response. An improved written version of the paper is to be submitted by the end of the seminar. Papers can be in Spanish or English.

See official course description (PDF)


See official course description (PDF)

Examination method: 2 oral presentations, and 2 papers (one major paper on the topic of oral presentation, of 2000 to 4000 words, one short response paper).


Choose a topic that can be formulated as a question, for example "What is the moral good?" Do not just present 'reflections' on some topic. At the beginning of your presentation, state that question clearly!

The speaker must present and defend what, after searching the truth, he believes to be true. Do not present other peoples' views. Do not mention any names, although reading many texts is necessary as a preparation. Do not approach the issue as if you were the first to think about it. If you find a claim in a text which you want to endorse do not just say who said what but put the claim forward as your claim. Do not say ‘Saint Thomas said that X’, but say: ‘X’. State it not in Aquinas' words but in your own words, understandable to the audience. Answer the question, analyse, and describe the things you are investigating, the ‘things in themselves’. Say how things are. If you find an argument in a text which you think is sound and you want to use it, do not just say who proposed which argument but use the argument yourself. Put it forward in defense of your view.

This means that the structure of your talk and text is determined by the logic of your claims and arguments. Do not structure your text with ‘Author A says first L, then M, author B says N ...’. Begin your talk with presenting the question or the object of your investigation. Then answer the question or analyse and describe the object of your investigation. Bring in the arguments which you find in the texts not in the order in which you find them in the authors, but use these arguments in your text when you need them in order to defend what you believe to be true.

One possible structure is:

In your oral presentation in our meeting you may have to omit or shorten some of these parts. Concentrate on explaining and defending what you believe to be true. The written version which you submit should be more complete.

State the question clearly!
State your answer to the question and your main claims clearly and write them on a handout!
Mention no names!

Notes on the sessions

4.8.2011: Profesor Josef Seifert

11.8.2011: Profesor Carlos Casanova

18.8.2011: Profesor Daniel von Wachter: Does Goodness Depend on God?


See official course description (PDF).

Bibliography on moral realism, the belief-desire theory etc. at

Bibliography on relativism etc. at