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PHIL413 Ethical Theory

What is well-being? What is its significance in personal life, ethics, and public policy? We seek the best philosophical answers to these questions.

In this paper, you will learn a lot about individual well-being. In particular, you will work out the best answer you can give to questions such as: What is the the good life for an individual? What is the basis or underpinning of such a life? Are there many sorts of good lives, or is there only one? For instance, is the good life for an individual just what feels good inside to that individual, or are connections to others and to our wider world also essential?

Paper title Ethical Theory
Paper code PHIL413
Subject Philosophy
EFTS 0.1667
Points 20 points
Teaching period Semester 2 (On campus)
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $1,206.91
International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.

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36 PHIL points at 200-level or above
PHIL 311, PHIL 338
Teaching staff

Convenor and Lecturer: Associate Professor Andrew Moore

Paper Structure

We first clarify the core question the paper will seek to answer, then consider several different ways of understanding the range of promising answers. Through a range of methods, and drawing on both philosophical work and related work from the sciences and other modes of inquiry, we then pursue in-depth, critical examination of some leading answers to the question of what it is for one's life to go well.

Teaching Arrangements

Three one-hour classes per week, which are typically interactive seminars rather than lectures.


All students will receive a free PHIL 413 Coursebook.

Guy Fletcher, The Philosophy of Well-Being: an introduction (Routledge, 2016).
Guy Fletcher (ed.), Routledge Handbook of the Philosophy of Well-Being (Routledge, 2016).
Ben Bradley, Well-being (Polity Press).

Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Lifelong learning, Scholarship, Communication, Critical thinking, Ethics, Research, Self-motivation.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes

Students who successfully complete the paper will develop:

  • Understanding of the main issues and views in the philosophy of well-being, demonstrated in a short essay
  • Understanding and skill in philosophical assessment of a major theory of well-being (or another agreed well-being topic), demonstrated in a research essay
  • Skill in generating, presenting and responding to philosophical ideas about well-being, demonstrated in a presentation to the class

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Semester 2

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Tuesday 14:00-14:50 28-34, 36-41
Wednesday 16:00-16:50 28-34, 36-41
Thursday 16:00-16:50 28-34, 36-41