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PHIL103 Ethical Issues

Theories about the status of moral claims (relativism, subjectivism, egoism, utilitarianism, etc.). The rights and wrongs of specific issues (abortion, the environment, pacifism, etc.).

This paper surveys different ethical theories and applies them to practical problems. We shall learn to make defensible arguments about what is good and what is right in a wide variety of contexts and to criticise such arguments both internally and externally. Theories covered include Kantian ethics, consequentialism, contractarianism and rights theories, among others. Using these philosophical perspectives, we shall construct arguments about ethical health policy, environmental management, military action, social policy, property rights and other moral matters.

Paper title Ethical Issues
Paper code PHIL103
Subject Philosophy
EFTS 0.1500
Points 18 points
Teaching period Second Semester
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $851.85
International Tuition Fees (NZD) $3,585.00

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Schedule C
Arts and Music
Eligibility
This paper is open to all students.
Contact
lisa.ellis@otago.ac.nz
Teaching staff
Convener and Lecturer: Associate Professor Lisa Ellis
Paper Structure
We proceed through theories and applications together, revisiting practical topics as we gain new theoretical perspectives. In most weeks, the first lecture will be devoted primarily to new theoretical material (for example, the basics of utilitarian ethics), while the second lecture will be devoted primarily to an ethical issues (for example, moral interactions with non-human animals). In tutorials, students will practise constructing defensible moral arguments, applying them to challenging ethical issues and criticising them from a variety of perspectives.

Assessment:
  • Two 1,500-word essays 20%
  • One 3-hour examination 60%
Textbooks
Required weekly readings will be distributed via Blackboard.

Recommended readings will be on reserve in the Central Library or available electronically.
Teaching Arrangements
There will be two 50-minute lectures and one tutorial session per week. Lectures include material not covered in the readings. Readings include canonical and contemporary works of ethical philosophy, carefully selected to provide access to the most important and challenging ideas in the short format appropriate to a 100-level paper. This means that mastering each reading is essential to success in the paper. Tutorials sometimes focus on essay writing, but usually include exercises meant to illuminate the readings and provide practice in constructing ethical arguments.
Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Global perspective, Interdisciplinary perspective, Lifelong learning, Scholarship, Communication, Critical thinking, Cultural understanding, Ethics, Self-motivation.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes
Students who successfully complete the paper can be expected to
  • Have an overview of the history of thinking about ethics from ancient times to the present day
  • Know how to construct defensible ethical arguments both formally and informally
  • Identify the main schools of thought in ethics
  • Apply different ethical arguments to a wide range of ethical issues
  • Think critically about ethical arguments

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Timetable

Second Semester

Location
Dunedin
Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system
Blackboard

Lecture

Stream Days Times Weeks
Attend
L1 Tuesday 12:00-12:50 28-34, 36-41
Friday 12:00-12:50 28-34, 36-41

Tutorial

Stream Days Times Weeks
Attend one stream from
T1 Tuesday 14:00-14:50 29-34, 36-41
T2 Tuesday 15:00-15:50 29-34, 36-41
T4 Thursday 11:00-11:50 29-34, 36-41
T5 Thursday 13:00-13:50 29-34, 36-41
T6 Thursday 14:00-14:50 29-34, 36-41
T7 Thursday 16:00-16:50 29-34, 36-41

Theories about the status of moral claims (relativism, subjectivism, egoism, utilitarianism, etc.). The rights and wrongs of specific issues (abortion, the environment, pacifism, etc.).

We cannot avoid causing deaths. We can only save some lives. We want to respect rights, but what if doing so requires us to harm some people? This course presents pressing moral issues, such as euthanasia, abortion, animal welfare, marriage rights, racial equality, the rights of states to punish, free speech, poverty, and drug use. We attempt to understand influential arguments on the issues, to discuss them productively, and to improve them.

Paper title Ethical Issues
Paper code PHIL103
Subject Philosophy
EFTS 0.1500
Points 18 points
Teaching period Second Semester
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $868.95
International Tuition Fees (NZD) $3,656.70

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Schedule C
Arts and Music
Eligibility
This paper is open to all students.
Contact
michael.lebuffe@otago.ac.nz
Teaching staff
Convener and Lecturer: Professor Michael Lebuffe
Paper Structure
The course begins with questions of life, death, and health. We then proceed to social issues. Lectures introduce influential arguments and philosophical resources for evaluating issues. Tutorials emphasise student argument, with the aim of understanding course readings of improving upon them through analysis and criticism.

Assessment:
  • Two 1,500-word essays 15%
  • Tutorial exercises 10%
  • One 3-hour examination 60%
Teaching Arrangements
There will be two 50-minute lectures and one tutorial session per week. Lectures include material not covered in the readings as well as substantive discussion. Tutorials focus on student argument and include exercises meant to illuminate the readings.
Textbooks
Required weekly readings will be distributed via Blackboard.

Recommended readings will be on reserve in the Central Library or available electronically.
Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Global perspective, Interdisciplinary perspective, Lifelong learning, Scholarship, Communication, Critical thinking, Cultural understanding, Ethics, Self-motivation.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes
Students who successfully complete the paper can be expected to
  • Know how to construct defensible ethical arguments
  • Identify the main schools of thought in ethics
  • Apply different ethical arguments to a wide range of ethical issues
  • Disagree productively and congenially about sensitive subjects

^ Top of page

Timetable

Second Semester

Location
Dunedin
Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system
Blackboard

Lecture

Stream Days Times Weeks
Attend
L1 Tuesday 12:00-12:50 28-34, 36-41
Friday 12:00-12:50 28-34, 36-41

Tutorial

Stream Days Times Weeks
Attend one stream from
T1 Tuesday 14:00-14:50 29-34, 36-41
T2 Tuesday 15:00-15:50 29-34, 36-41
T3 Wednesday 15:00-15:50 29-34, 36-41
T4 Thursday 11:00-11:50 29-34, 36-41
T5 Thursday 13:00-13:50 29-34, 36-41
T6 Thursday 14:00-14:50 29-34, 36-41
T7 Thursday 16:00-16:50 29-34, 36-41
T8 Friday 11:00-11:50 29-34, 36-41