Crash Course: Metaethics

Crash Course: Metaethics


Natalia Cecire, a lecturer at in English and American literature at Sussex, has embarked upon an interesting project called “Crash Courses for the Desperate”:

Lately I’ve been thinking about what to do with students who suddenly need to get up to speed in a field, and don’t have time to take a course or immerse themselves in it for a year. I’m especially thinking of MA students or students writing an undergrad senior thesis, who need some purchase on the field and can’t just coast on glib summaries anymore, especially if they’re thinking about going on to do further graduate work.

So far what I’ve come up with are some little one-week self-education programs for a few different areas, recognizing that what I’d recommend isn’t necessarily what other people would recommend, and that these might date quickly.

I think this is a great idea. You can see her attempts—in queer theory, modernism, and history of science—here (via Matt McAdam). Cecire’s crash course “syllabi” are fairly spare and each fits on a single page. They include reading suggested works and devising questions about them for the reader to ask him or herself, as well as some further tasks.

Crash courses for the desperate in various philosophical areas could be quite helpful in getting existing students with less comprehensive academic backgrounds up to speed. What I’ll be trying here over the next couple of weeks at DN is taking up different specific areas and inviting readers to submit suggested works to read, central questions to ask, and anything else they might think of as helpful.

Today’s area for discussion is metaethics. What are your suggestions for a “one-week self-education  program” in metaethics?

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