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Level 5

5AAT2501 Applied Ethics


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

Credit value: 15
Module tutor: 2017-18: Dr Ben Ware 2018-19: Dr Tony Milligan
Assessment: One 2,000-word essay (40%) and one 2,500-word essay (60%)

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

Teaching pattern: One two-hour weekly class over ten weeks.
Pre-requisites: none

The educational aim of the module consists in providing students with a critical understanding of the way ethics is applied in various areas of life. The approach will be a problem- and skill-oriented approach working with key areas where ethics is applied. Through lectures, students will be introduced to the key debates in contemporary applied ethics. The relations between applied ethics and general moral thinking will be explored, and a critical debate between different positions will be developed. Students will be provided with handouts that will help them to follow the key debates. They will also be directed in reading assignments. Some time will be assigned to discussion in class. The interactive nature of this method of teaching will require a flexible approach to the amount of material covered in any single lecture.

Sample topics
  • The concept of Applied Ethics: working with case studies
  • Applied Ethics and the Tradition of Moral Philosophy: providing a map
  • business ethics
  • leadership ethics and institutional ethics
  • ethics of public life and ethics of the media
  • ethics of work
  • ethics of sports
  • issues of medical ethics
  • issues of environmental ethics
  • personal ethics
  • “Ethical skills”: decision making

Preliminary reading

  • Helen Aford, Michael Naughton, Managing as if faith mattered. Notre Dame, In: University of Notre Dame Press 2001
  • Brenda Almond, ed., Introducing Applied Ethics. Oxford: Blackwell 1999
  • R.G. Frey, C.H. Wellen, eds., A Companion to Applied Ethics. Malden, MA: Blackwell 2003
  • Robin Gill, A Textbook of Christian Ethics. Edinburgh: T&T Clark. Revised Ed. 1995
  • Simon Lee, Uneasy Ethics. London: Pimlico 2003
  • David S. Oderberg, Applied Ethics. A non-consequentialist approach. Oxford: Blackwell 2000

Further information

Module aims

The aim of this course is to offer an introduction to classical and current discussions in applied ethics. In doing so, the course aims to provide:

  • an introduction to the nature of applied ethics;
  • an introduction to the tradition of applied ethics;
  • an introduction to contemporary approaches and debates;
  • some understanding of, and reflection on, the relationship between applied ethics and ethics in general including social ethics.
Learning outcomes

Generic skills

  • Ability to analyse texts and arguments
  • Ability to summarise and present arguments
  • Ability to research, plan and present essays to specified deadlines

Module specific skills

  • acquire knowledge of ethical theories and different fields of applied ethics,
  • develop ability to identify, analyse and critically examine ethical problems and
  • develop capacity to argue for a chosen position in discussions on ethics and applied ethics and to formulate a strategy for handling ethical dilemmas in different kinds of social practices.
Past syllabi
Previous syllabus document available here for academic year 2015-16.

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




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