Schedule of Classes Course Description

John Jay College of Criminal Justice
Course Prefix: LIT                                     Course Number: 311                                    
Course Title: Literature and Ethics
Subject: Literature
Minimum Credits: 3.0                                     Maximum Credits: 3.0                                     Hours per semester per credit: 3.0


This course will focus on the ways in which a literary text can become a laboratory for ethical inquiry ? a place where abstract issues and complex questions about the ?right,? the ?good? and the ?just? come to life. We will also consider how, by creating specific conditions of time, place, character, and action, literary texts provoke readers to question their own personal, but perhaps unexamined positions and judgments regarding ethical issues. Topics may include the ethical dimensions of responsibility, loyalty, obligation, equity, honesty, and secrecy. We will examine how cultural and societal norms, the rule-of-law, and ?higher? or divine laws make competing demands on characters, how characters negotiate those demands, and how others respond. In our analysis we will apply and compare philosophical principles, including rule-based, situational, and utilitarian and other consequentialist arguments concerning the ?right? thing to do. Selected readings from primary texts in ethics will provide a background for the analysis of literary texts.

Prerequisite: ENG 201; and any 200-level LIT course or HJS 250 or AFR 140
Start Date:    06/30/2013                         End Date: