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? We look at a range of theories that attempt to account for right and wrong action, including Utilitarianism, Kantianism, and Virtue Ethics. In the second half we examine some particular, pressing moral issues, such as euthanasia, abortion, animal welfare, 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|
|Teaching period(s)||Second Semester, Summer School|
|Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD)||$913.95|
|International Tuition Fees (NZD)||$4,073.40|
- Schedule C
- Arts and Music
- This paper is open to all students.
- More information link
- Teaching staff
Paper coordinator: Associate Professor Andrew Moore
- Paper Structure
In the first half of the course we survey a range of theories of morality, exploring their implications by way of examples, and assessing their advantages and disadvantages. In the second half of the course we turn to an examination of a range of real and pressing ethical issues. Lectures introduce influential arguments and philosophical resources for evaluating issues. Tutorials emphasise student argument and participation.
Semester Two Assessment:
- One in-class test 15%
- One 1,500-word essay 15%
- Tutorial exercises 10%
- One 3-hour examination 60%
Please note Summer School assessment will be similar to that of semester two, but not necessarily exactly the same. More information will be provided in the first class and via Blackboard.
- Teaching Arrangements
Summer School: There is a mix between lecture and tutorial-style discussion throughout the week. Lectures include material not covered in the readings, and all classes feature substantive discussion. More information as to topics covered will be described in the PHIL103 Summer School Course Outline, distributed via Blackboard and in your first week of classes.
Semester Two: 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.
Christopher Bennett, What Is This Thing Called Ethics? Second Edition, Routledge.
Supplementary readings will be made available via Blackboard.
- 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