Continuing Moral Philosophy
Level 1 (CQFW Level 4), 10 Credits.
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Can consequentialism survive its critics? Can Kantians successfully defend ethical rationalism? Or must morality be grounded in human sentiment? This course explores in greater depth themes introduced in Introducing Moral Philosophy, enabling students to consolidate, extend and deepen their understanding. The course focuses primarily on ethical theory in the western analytic tradition but may include complementary topics from moral psychology, metaethics and applied ethics. Students ideally should have taken Introducing Moral Philosophy or equivalent but no other knowledge of philosophy is assumed.
The module focuses on normative ethics and topics may include:
- ethical relativism
- moral character and right action
- major ethical theories:
- deontological/Kantian ethics
- virtue ethics
- feminist ethics
Additional subjects might include complementary topics in:
- moral psychology, e.g. the situationist challenge to virtue ethics
- metaethics, e.g. ethical realism, anti-realism and quasi-realism
- applied ethics, e.g. the treatment of non-rational or non-autonomous beings such as children and penguins, or of rational beings who lack “moral sense”
The course may draw on case studies and examples from fiction and non-fiction to illustrate the theoretical positions discussed and students are encouraged to draw further examples from their own experience.
Who is this course for?
Anyone with an interest in the topic. Ethical theory can inform our understanding of moral issues and relationships. This course explores in greater depth themes introduced in Introducing Moral Philosophy, enabling students to consolidate, extend and deepen their understanding. The course focuses primarily on ethical theory in the western analytic tradition but may include complementary topics from moral psychology, metaethics and applied ethics.
Learning and Teaching
There will be a mixture of short lectures and discussion, the precise proportion to be determined by the needs of the students enrolled. Also we will discuss examples and case studies. This will encourage the development of knowledge and understanding of the ideas and concepts discussed in the course. Intellectual skills will be encouraged through participation in class discussion, reading and coursework.
Coursework and Assessment
Essays or other equivalent written assignments to a total of 1500 words demonstrating an understanding of core elements of the course material
For us, the most important element of assessment is that it should enhance your learning. Our methods are designed to increase your confidence and we try very hard to devise ways of assessing you that are enjoyable and suitable for adults with busy lives.
To award credits we need to have evidence of the knowledge and skills you have gained or improved. Some of this has to be in a form that can be shown to external examiners so that we can be absolutely sure that standards are met across all courses and subjects.
You will not have formal examinations but you may have class tests. You may be asked to write assignments, keep a course journal or put together a portfolio. Our assessments are flexible to suit the course and the student.
- Aristotle. 2002. Nicomachean ethics. Translated, with a historical introduction, by Christopher Rowe. Philosophical introduction and commentary by Sarah Broadie. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press. isbn: 0198752717.
- Crisp, Roger, and Michael A. Slote, eds. 1997. Virtue ethics. Oxford Readings in Philosophy. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press. isbn: 0198751885.
- Hill, Thomas E., Jr. 1991. Autonomy and self-respect. New York: Cambridge University Press. isbn: 0521397723.
- Kant, Immanuel. 1999. Practical philosophy. Ed. and trans. Mary J. Gregor. With an intro. by Allen W. Wood. The Cambridge Edition of the Works of Immanuel Kant in Translation. Cambridge University Press. isbn: 0521654084/9780521654081.
- Kant, Immanuel. 1977. Lectures on ethics. Trans. Louis Infield. Indianapolis/Cambridge: Hackett. isbn: 0915144263.
- Pojman, Louis P., ed. 2004. The moral life: an introductory reader in ethics and literature. 2nd ed. New York and London: Oxford University Press. isbn: 0195166086.
- Scheffler, Samuel, ed. 1988. Consequentialism and its critics. Oxford Readings in Philosophy. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press. isbn: 0198750730.
- Smullyan, Raymond M. 1977. The Tao is silent. New York: HarperCollins/HarperSanFransisco. isbn: 0060674695.
- Calhoun, Cheshire, ed. 2004. Setting the moral compass. Studies in Feminist Philosophy. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press. isbn: 0195154754.
- DesAutels, Peggy, and Margaret Urban Walker, eds. 2004. Moral psychology: feminist ethics and social theory. Feminist Constructions. Lanham, Boulder et al.: Rowman & Littlefield. isbn: 0742534804.
- Foot, Philippa. 2002. Virtues and vices and other essays in moral philosophy. Oxford: Oxford University Press/Clarendon. isbn: 0199252866.
- Hursthouse, Rosalind. 1999. On virtue ethics. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press. isbn: 0198238185.
- Milgram, Stanley. 2009. Obedience to authority: an experimental view. With an intro. by Philip G. Zimbardo. New York: HarperCollins/Harper Perennial Modern Thought. (Orig. pub. 1974.) isbn: 006176521X/9780061765216.
- Mill, John Stuart. 1861. Utilitarianism. Ed. George Sher. Repr. Indianapolis and Cambridge: Hackett, 1979. isbn: 0915144417.
- Nagel, Thomas. 1979. Mortal questions. Canto. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press. isbn: 0521406765/9780521406765.
- Sidgwick, Henry. 1907, 1981. The methods of ethics. 7th ed. Originally published by Macmillan. With a forward by Rawls, John. Indianapolis/Cambridge: Hackett. isbn: 0914145286.
- ———. 1983. 5000 B.C. and other philosophical fantasies. New York: St. Martin’s. isbn: 0312295170.
- Smart, JCC and Bernard Williams 1973. Utilitarianism: for and against. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. isbn: 052109822X.
- Williams, Bernard. 1981. Moral luck: philosophical papers 1973–1980. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press. isbn: 0521286913.
- ———. 1985. Ethics and the limits of philosophy. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press. isbn: 067426858X.
- Wolf, Susan. 1982. Moral saints. Journal of Philosophy 79, no. 8 (): 419–439. Reprinted in Crisp and Slote (1997, 79–98),bit.ly/KsOrXN.
- ———. 2000/2001. The moral of moral luck. Philosophic Exchange 31. Reprinted in Calhoun (2004, 113–127).
Library and Computing Facilities
As a student on this course you are entitled to join and use the University library and computing facilities. You can find out more about these facilities on our website www.cardiff.ac.uk/learn under Student Information, or by ringing the Centre on
(029) 2087 0000.
Accessibility of Courses
Our aim is access for all. We aim to provide a confidential advice and support service for any student with a long term medical condition, disability or specific learning difficulty. We are able to offer one-to-one advice about disability, pre-enrolment visits, liaison with tutors and co-ordinating lecturers, material in alternative formats, arrangements for accessible courses, assessment arrangements, loan equipment and Dyslexia screening. Please contact the Centre on (029) 2087 0000 for an information leaflet.
A range of further information can be found on our web site www.cardiff.ac.uk/learn or in Choices. This includes the times and dates of courses and an explanation of accreditation and credit levels.