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Introducing Moral Philosophy

Level 1 (CQFW Level 4), 10 Credits.


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COURSE DESCRIPTION

What makes an action right? How should one live? What kind of person should one be? How are individual morality and social justice connected? Ethical theory can inform our understanding of moral issues and relationships.

This course introduces students to a variety of topics in both theoretical and applied ethics, focusing primarily on ideas from the Western analytic tradition. No previous knowledge of philosophy is assumed.

Topics may include:

— consequentialism/utilitarianism
— deontological/Kantian ethics
— virtue ethics

Who is this course for?

Anyone with an interest in the topic. The course draws on examples from fiction and non-fiction to illustrate the theoretical positions discussed and students are encouraged to draw further examples from their own experience. No previous knowledge of philosophy is assumed.

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.

Reading Suggestions

Davis, Thomas D., ed. 1993. Philosophy: An introduction through original fiction, discussion and readings. 5rd ed. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Glover, Jonathan. 1977. Causing death and saving lives. Harmondsworth: Penguin.

Nagel, Thomas. 1987. What does it all mean? A very short introduction to philosophy. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Pojman, Louis P., ed. 2004. The moral life: An introductory reader in ethics and literature. 4nd ed. New York and London: Oxford University Press.

Rachels, James. 1999. The elements of moral philosophy. 5rd ed. New York: McGraw-Hill.

The Pojman is the most useful single text for an overview of the sort of material to be discussed in the course. Students with no prior experience of philosophy might wish to start with the Nagel. Chapter 7, ‘Right and Wrong’, and chapter 8, ‘Justice’, are most relevant. Two short pieces of fiction, ‘The Land of Certus’ and ‘Those Who Help Themselves’, from Davis’s book may also be of interest. Rachels includes some helpful material, especially on psychological egoism and ethical relativism, although his exposition of Kant’s view is not recommended. Glover provides an accessible introduction to various questions in applied ethics.

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.

Further Information

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.