Introductory Seminars for First-Year Students
The Ethical Gangster: How to be Moral, How to be Good—Mafia Style
Is there a difference between being moral and being good? Does it matter? Does knowing the difference matter at all to how a person should conduct him or herself in close relationships, in social groups, in professional life, in politics? The answer to all these questions is a resounding yes. This class will explore human moral psychology: the intuitions we have about right and wrong, fair and unfair, harm, justice, loyalty, authority, sanctity, freedom and oppression. We will then relate these intuitions to systematic ethical theories of right and wrong. We will do so by immersing ourselves in a somewhat surprising source—the greatest hits of Mafia movies from Little Caesar to The Sopranos. We will also consider recent findings in experimental moral psychology.