Accessibility Skip to Global Navigation Skip to Local Navigation Skip to Content Skip to Search Skip to Site Map Menu

PHIL228 Ethics

Contemporary moral theory, including utilitarianism, Kantianism, and virtue theory.

In this paper you will answer two questions. First, what does it take for our lives to have meaning, and do our lives actually have what it takes? Second, what makes for a good society, and do our societies achieve this?

Paper title Ethics
Paper code PHIL228
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

^ Top of page

One PHIL paper or POLS 101 or 72 points
PHIL 328, PHIL 211
Schedule C
Arts and Music
Course outline
Available on Blackboard.
Teaching staff
Associate Professor Andrew Moore
Paper Structure
We start with life's meaning. We look at how best to understand the question itself; then we look examine and assess the leading answers to the question of life's meaning. The lecturer leads the first half of the 'meaning of life' classes; then chairs the second half of these classes, in which half the students give brief presentations that each of them later also develops into an essay.
The second half of the paper seeks to answer the question of what it takes to have a good society. This half of the paper proceeds through the same sort of process as for the 'meaning of life' half of the paper.
Teaching Arrangements
One 1-hour class and one 2-hour class per week. Typically, these classes are interactive seminars rather than lectures.
There is no text that covers the whole paper, but all students receive a free PHIL 228 Coursebook that identifies specific readings for each topic. Further resources are also available through Blackboard for the paper.
Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Lifelong learning, Scholarship, Communication, Critical thinking, Ethics, Research, Self-motivation.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes
The goals of the paper are:
  1. Student understanding of basic questions about life's meaning and about the good society;
  2. Student understanding of, and critical engagement with, at least one promising answer to each of these basic questions - demonstrated through one verbal presentation, and two research essays - one on meaning of life, and the other on the good society.
  3. Capability to present and engage verbally with ideas about either life's meaning or the good society - demonstrated through a student short presentation and discussion, chaired and helped by the lecturer.

^ Top of page


Second Semester

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system


Stream Days Times Weeks
L1 Tuesday 13:00-14:50 28-34, 36-41
Wednesday 16:00-16:50 28-34, 36-41