PHI202: Moral Philosophy
|Accredited towards||Bachelor of Arts in the Liberal Arts|
|Unit type||Core unit|
|Indicative contact hours||3 hours per week|
|Offered in||Semester 2|
|Tuition fee||Learn more|
This unit deals with the various approaches that have been developed in the effort to come to philosophical grips with the ethical and moral realm – an effort that has always been central to the discipline. A wide variety of approaches will be studied, including theories that fall under the rubrics of ‘natural law ethics’, ‘virtue ethics’, ‘Kantianism’, and ‘utilitarianism’. Both normative and meta-ethical issues will be addressed. Figures discussed will include Aristotle, St. Thomas Aquinas, Kant, Hume, and Mill, as well as such contemporary or near-contemporary philosophers as Alasdair MacIntyre, Bernard Williams and John Finnis. The subject also addresses meta-ethical questions (in relation to, e.g., Ayer and Geach). An important goal will be to develop a clear understanding of such relevant concepts and distinctions as virtue, duty and inclination, the right and the good, consequentialism, deontology, natural law, normative ethics and meta-ethics, factualism and non-factualism, naturalism, moral sentiments, categorical and hypothetical imperatives, autonomy and heteronomy, intention, internal and external motivations and moral luck, to mention just a few.
The unit learning outcomes develop in students an awareness of the value and relevance of the study strand. On completion of this unit of study, students will be able to:
- understanding the distinction between normative ethics and meta-ethics.
- understand the debates between various sorts of cognitivists/factualists and non-cognitivists/non-factualists in meta-ethics, and understand where relativists fit into this debate.
- understand the debates between consequentialists, Kantian deontologists, virtue ethicists, and natural-law theorists in normative ethics.
In relation to more general academic skills, the unit aims to lead the student
- to develop an ability to apply knowledge of standard philosophical concepts and theories, in the course of engaging in research on, critical reading of, reflection on, and analysis of presented texts.
- to exercise and develop further the ability to summarise information and communicate in a persuasive, logical and coherent manner.
- to competently exhibit in written work clarity of expression, logical essay structure and appropriate use of referencing and bibliography according to the conventions of academic writing.
- to exercise and develop the ability to apply knowledge of standard philosophical concepts and theories in verbal discussion.
Interested in other Philosophy units?
PHI101: Introduction to Philosophy
PHI201: Medieval Philosophy
PHI202: Moral Philosophy
PHI301: Modern Philosophy
PHI302: Social and Political Philosophy
PHI303: Philosophy of Language
PHI304: Twentieth Century Analytic Philosophy
PHI305: Intensive Study of a Text in Classical Philosophy
PHI306: Intensive Study of a Text in Modern Philosophy