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||Semester 2 (On campus)|
|Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD)||$955.05|
|International Tuition Fees||Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.|
- Schedule C
- Arts and Music
- This paper is open to all students.
- More information link
View more information on the Philosophy programme's website.
- Teaching staff
Professor Michael LeBuffe and Associate Professor Heather Dyke
- 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.
- One in-class test 15%
- One 1,500-word essay 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. When PHIL 103 is offered at Summer School, the assessment weightings and teaching sessions alter to suit that format.
Piers Benn, 'Ethics' (Routledge, 1998).
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