Show/hide main menu

Level 5

5AANB006 Ethics II: Contemporary Ethical Philosophy

THIS MODULE IS RUNNING IN 2019-20

Credit value: 15
Module tutor: Professor David Owens
Assessment:

2019-20

  • Summative assessment: 1 x 2,500 word essay (100%) 
  • Formative assessment: 1 x 2,000 word essay

2018-19

  • Summative assessment: 2 x 2,000 word essays (50% each) 
  • Formative assessment: 1 x 2,000 word essay

Students are reassessed in the failed elements of assessment and by the same methods as the first attempt.

Teaching pattern: one one-hour weekly lecture and one one-hour weekly seminar over ten weeks.
Pre-requisites
: none

The module will focus on some basic notions that are widely used in contemporary normative ethics, notions like impartiality, benevolence, respect and equality. Ethical theories differ both in regard to which of these notions they employ and in regard to how they interpret the notion in question. The ethical theories we shall examine will include Kantianism, Consequentialism and Contractualism.

Indicative list of topics:

In what sense are all human beings of equal value?

Are all human beings worth more than any non-human animal?

Is partiality towards family and friends morally acceptable?

Does benevolence sometimes require us to sacrifice the interests of the few to serve the interests of the many?

Is suicide consistent with respecting one’s self?

Further information

Module aims

Students will be introduced to various areas of moral philosophy, and will examine some of the core ideas that have shaped contemporary debates.

Learning outcomes

Through the study of this module, students will acquire:

  • An advanced understanding of the central claims, arguments, problems and solutions to be found in contemporary discussions of these topics.
  • In addition, the module will help students to develop their abilities to interpret, synthesise and criticise complex texts and positions;
  • Present and critically assess ideas in a clear and rigorous way;
  • Undertake, with appropriate guidance, independent work, including identifying and using appropriate resources.

Past syllabi

Please note that module syllabus and topics covered may vary from year to year.

Core reading

  • Christine Korsgaard – Fellow Creatures (Oxford: Oxford University Press).

    Susan Wolf – ‘Morality and Partiality’ Philosophical Perspectives 6 (1992) 243-59.

    D. Velleman – ‘A Right to Self-Termination?’ Ethics109 (April 1999) 606-28.

    John Taurek – ‘Should the Numbers Count?’ Philosophy and Public Affairs Vol. 6/4 1977 pp. 293-316.

Indicative reading list:

Christine Korsgaard – Fellow Creatures (Oxford University Press 2018).

Susan Wolf – ‘Morality and Partiality’ Philosophical Perspectives 6 (1992) 243-59.

David Velleman – ‘A Right to Self-Termination?’ Ethics109 (April 1999) 606-28.

John Taurek – ‘Should the Numbers Count?’ Philosophy and Public Affairs Vol. 6/4 1977 pp. 293-316.

  

The modules run in each academic year are subject to change in line with staff availability and student demand so there is no guarantee every module will run. Module descriptions and information may vary between years.

Sitemap Site help Terms and conditions  Privacy policy  Accessibility  Modern slavery statement  Contact us

© 2019 King's College London | Strand | London WC2R 2LS | England | United Kingdom | Tel +44 (0)20 7836 5454