Accessibility statement

Further Topics in Ethics - PHI00121H

« Back to module search

  • Department: Philosophy
  • Module co-ordinator: Prof. Ap Thomas
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: H
  • Academic year of delivery: 2021-22

Module summary

In this module there will be discussion of further topics in meta-ethics/normative ethics. Topics covered: the possibility of altruism, internal reasons, moral realism, error theory, expressivism, consequentialism, deontology, consequentialism, hybrid ethical theory, particularism, demandingness of morality, saving the one or the many.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Autumn Term 2021-22

Module aims

The aim of the module is to explore key themes about our ordinary notion of a reason for action, how that relates to the idea of right action, and how rightness is related to the idea of the value of an outcome. Specifically, in this module we will be reading, discussing and writing about:

  • Key themes in meta-ethics about reasons and the objectivity of morality;

  • Theories of the nature of moral language;

  • The main positions in normative ethics and how they are shaped by prior meta-ethical commitments.

Module learning outcomes

By the end of this module, students should be able to engage in independent research on advanced topics in ethics informed by their knowledge of the strengths and weaknesses of the key views in both meta-ethics and normative ethics.

Students will be able to read and critically engage with cutting edge research in these fields and further to have developed their skills in philosophical discussion and writing.

Module content

This module builds on previous ethics modules to develop an advanced understanding of key themes in meta-ethics and normative ethics and their systematic interconnection. Themes such as the nature of reasons, agent-relativity and agent-neutrality about reasons in meta-ethics will be used to structure the different positions assessed in normative ethics – consequentialism, virtue ethics and hybrid ethical theory. An underlying theme is the connection between our ordinary notion of a reason and theoretical accounts of rightness, and the connection between whatever makes an action right and the idea of the intrinsic value of an outcome.

 

Assessment

Task Length % of module mark
Essay/coursework
Summative essay
N/A 100

Special assessment rules

None

Additional assessment information

Formative work: either 1,500-word essay or one side of A4 essay plan to be submitted on Wednesday, Week 6, Autumn Term.

Summative work: 4,000-word essay to be submitted on Monday, Week 2, Spring Term.

Reassessment

Task Length % of module mark
Essay/coursework
Summative essay
N/A 100

Module feedback

Students will receive feedback on formative work 2 weeks after submission.

Students will receive feedback on summative work 4 weeks after submission. 

Indicative reading

Christine Korsgaard, The Sources of Normativity (Cambridge University Press, 1996);

Thomas Nagel, The Possibility of Altruism (Oxford University Press, 1979);

Christian Seidel (ed.) Consequentialism: New Directions New Problems (Oxford University Press, 2019);

Judith Jarvis Thomson, Normativity, (Open Court, 2008);

Bernard Williams, Ethics and the Limits of Philosophy, (Fontana, 1985).

 



The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.