PHILO309-23B (HAM)

Experiments in Ethics

15 Points

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The University of Waikato
Academic Divisions
Division of Arts Law Psychology & Social Sciences
School of Social Sciences Office
Philosophy

Staff

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Convenor(s)

Lecturer(s)

Administrator(s)

: monique.mulder@waikato.ac.nz

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: em.pooley@waikato.ac.nz

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What this paper is about

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In this paper we focus on recent developments in Ethics. We examine three ethical theories: Consequentialism, Deontology, and Virtue Ethics, and apply these theories to moral dilemmas (e.g. abortion, euthanasia, organ donation, immunisation, and self-driving cars, as well as more everyday moral questions).

Specific questions that are considered include:

  • Are there any absolute moral principles?
  • Is morality ultimately about producing good consequences (e.g. happiness or satisfaction)?
  • Does morality alienate us from our personal commitments and projects?
  • Is there a relevant moral difference between actions and omissions (e.g. killing and letting die)?
  • Are intentions relevant when assessing an action?
  • Is it rational to be moral ? Does morality require sacrificing one's own best interests?
  • Is morality entirely subjective? Is it relative to culture? Are moral values discovered or created?
  • Can we discuss ethical issues without referring to duties, principles, obligations, and moral rules?
  • Is morality immune from luck?

In the last part of the paper we study two important questions in meta-ethics:

  • Is morality immune from luck?
  • Is morality relative to culture? Are there objective moral values (or is it all a matter of convention)?
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How this paper will be taught

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The paper is taught on campus. There is a 2-hour lecture on Mondays and a 1-hour discussion on Wednesdays. Lecture notes, readings, and other supporting material are available on Moodle.
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Required Readings

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The Reading List is available on Moodle and through the Reading List portal via the University of Waikato Library.

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Learning Outcomes

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Students who successfully complete the course should be able to:

  • come up with original arguments or philosophical positions, new criticisms of arguments and positions in the recent literature
    Linked to the following assessments:
  • Discuss and write analytically about these issues
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  • Understand central philosophical issues in contemporary normative theory and meta-ethics
    Linked to the following assessments:
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Assessments

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How you will be assessed

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The internal assessment/exam ratio (as stated in the University Calendar) is 100:0. There is no final exam. The final exam makes up 0% of the overall mark.

The internal assessment/exam ratio (as stated in the University Calendar) is 100:0 or 0:0, whichever is more favourable for the student. The final exam makes up either 0% or 0% of the overall mark.

Component DescriptionDue Date TimePercentage of overall markSubmission MethodCompulsory
1. Essay 1
28 Aug 2023
No set time
30
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
2. Essay 2
23 Oct 2023
No set time
30
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
3. Participation/Forum discussion
20
  • Other:
4. Quizzes
20
Assessment Total:     100    
Failing to complete a compulsory assessment component of a paper will result in an IC grade
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