Issues in Ethics


1. High level of understanding of the meaning and specificity of Ethics and of its articulation with other branches of philosophy and other scientific subjects;
2. High level of knowledge of the various approaches that have been taken in trying to provide an answer to ethical questions;
3. High level of knowledge of the most important concepts involved in the studying of Ethics;
4. High ability to analyse, compare, criticise and use these concepts, and also to independently interpret and discuss concepts or propositions in the Ethics area;
5. Detailed knowledge of the fundamental texts in the Ethics area, with a mastering of past interpretations, of the current state of research and of all the relevant bibliography;
6. Carrying out research work under supervision in the Ethics area, that demonstrates original explanations and adheres to scientific quality standards;
7. Acquire the skills necessary for carrying out research independently in the Ethics area.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Mário Jorge Pereira de Almeida Carvalho


Weekly - 3

Total - 280

Teaching language



Not applicable



W. H. THOMPSON (ed.), The Gorgias of Plato. George Bell & Sons, 1905

E. R. DODDS (ed.), Plato Gorgias. A Revised Text with Introduction and Commentary. Clarendon Press, 1959, reed. 2002

G. REALE (ed.), Platone Gorgia. La scuola, 1966, 2001

T. IRWIN (ed.) Plato Gorgias. Oxford University Press, 1979, Clarendon Press, 2004

J. DALFEN (ed.), Platon Gorgias. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2004

C. W. J. CRON/J. DEUSCHLE (ed.), Platons-Gorgias. Teubner,1859, 1876

R. SERRANO CANTARÍN/M. D. C. DÍEZ (ed.), Platón Gorgias. Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, 2000

A. CROISET (ed.), Platon Oeuvres complètes 3.2 Gorgias Ménon. Paris. Belles Lettres, 1923, 1968

G. STALLBAUM (ed.), Platonis opera omnia II.1 continens Gorgiam. Hennings, 1861

R. B. HIRSCHG (ed.), Platonis Gorgias syllogismo Socratico, Kemink, 1873

W. C. GREEN (ed.), Scholia Platonica. Societas Philologica Americana, 1938

M. CARBONARA NADDEI (ed.), Gli scoli greci al Gorgia di Platone. Pàtron, 1976



Teaching method

This curricular unit has a theoretical-practical character.

Seminar-oriented classes.

Reading and interpretation of and commentary on the relevant philosophical texts and related philosophical questions and concepts.

The teaching methodology combines: a) a thorough interpretation of the texts in question (of their various components and of their connection with other texts) b) a theoretical analysis of philosophical problems, and c) a discussion of alternative views, objections, counter-examples, etc. 

Evaluation method

Appraisal: Individual appraisal. Each student will have to present a research paper on a topic individually agreed upon with the Lecturer and then discuss this paper with the latter. This counts for 3/4 of final marks. Class participation (participation in the discussion) counts for 1/4 of final marks.

Subject matter

Plato’s Gorgias: labyrinth and thread(s)

Though it may seem to deal with questions concerning rhetoric, Plato’s Gorgias turns out to be about human life, and what is at stake in it. This apparent change of subject has to do with the fact that the Gorgias is very much like a labyrinth: puzzling, intricate, made of meandering paths in which one can easily get lost, full of entrances that seem to be dead ends and of dizzying turns that distort all sense of direction. What is more, the maze we tread through when reading the Gorgias is not only due to the complex structure of this dialogue. It turns out that it stands for the labyrinth of views about life that are part and parcel of life itself. For human life is constituted in such a way that it understands itself. But this essential component of life has the structure of a labyrinth (a confusing place of wandering). This – and also the question of whether there is thread for this labyrinth – is what the Gorgias is all about.