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The Moral of the Story

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Does the parable of the Good Samaritan illustrate the care we owe to strangers? What can the adventures of Bilbo Baggins teach us about the nature of goodness and the roots of evil?

Whether created as tools of moral education, challenges to established morality or simply ripping good yarns, stories are an important focus for ethical reflection and moral imagination.

This module will use stories as starting points for explorations of key questions in moral philosophy.

No previous knowledge of philosophy will be assumed.

This course is for anyone with an interest in philosophy and the enthusiasm to take that interest further.

It operates as part of the Inside Narratives pathway, and will equip you with the knowledge, understanding and skills that will help you to study other courses in the pathway.

Learning and teaching

This course consists of nine units divided into themes. Each unit comprises a two hour face-to-face session.

These sessions will include lectures, class discussions and group-work, source analysis activities and exercises to develop your academic skills.

There will also be an opportunity for learning outside of the classroom, facilitated by the university's Virtual learning Environment, Learning Central.

Coursework and assessment

Students will be expected to complete two pieces of assessed work amounting to about 1500 words.

Advice and support will be provided for both assignments and you will receive detailed feedback relating to strengths and areas for improvement on both pieces of work.

Reading suggestions

Reading and resources will vary according to the specific topics covered in the module. Students considering the module may find the following resources helpful:

  • 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.

Students may also like to explore related online resources.

Library and computing facilities

As a student on this course you are entitled to join and use the University’s library and computing facilities. Find out more about using these facilities.


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.