Global Opportunities

PHI1011 : Introduction to Moral Philosophy

Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0


To introduce students to the disciplines of moral philosophy, ethics and history of ideas and the study of the intellectual foundations of Western thought.

Students will be introduced to and encouraged to reflect upon some of the key ideas and conceptual systems from the history of European thought, from the pre-Socratics to the dawn of the Enlightenment. The lectures will discuss the contrast between the Ancient and Modern scientific worldviews, study the relationship between philosophical concepts and the historical and material conditions of society which gave birth to them, look at the origin of modern scientific method and also interrogate the theories of knowledge, metaphysics and methodology of prominent thinkers from the Western tradition.

Outline Of Syllabus

1. Consequentialism
2. Aristotle’s virtue ethics
3. Deontology
4. Natural law and rights
5. Moral scepticism and emotivism
6. Applied Ethics

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion120:0020:00Essay preparation and completion
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials101:0010:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading150:0050:00Review lecture material, prepare for small group teaching and assessment.
Structured Guided LearningStructured research and reading activities101:0010:00Specific research or reading activities developed and directed by academic staff.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching101:0010:00Tutorials
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures convey the underlying philosophical, cultural and socio-political thoughts and practices characteristic of the European tradition as a foundation for further future consideration of the Enlightenment project. The content of the course will be supported by extracts from original texts, illustrations, examples, historical knowledge and slides in lectures and by structured discussion sessions where students will reinforce knowledge and develop dialogue and communication skills.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written exercise2A90Choice of 2000 words 100% OR: individual essay 70% and joint report 30%.
Prof skill assessmnt1A10Seminar attendance is given a mark
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The student chooses a title from a choice of up to four questions. These questions encourage independent research using the lecture content as a foundation and makes it possible to assess knowledge acquisition, interpretive skill and theoretical understanding as well as the analytical, creative and critical potential of students. The essay tests the ability to think creatively, self-critically and independently as well as managing one’s own work to set time limits.

Should students pick the second assessment option, they will be able to work collaboratively for a proportion of their grade. Such opportunities are in keeping with the university's skills framework and are not offered in many other PHI modules.
The collaborative commentary, produced in groups of three or four, will thematically link a set of essays on a similar philosophical theory or applied ethical issue. Such commentaries are common in academic work (such as journals or edited collections) and offer students the chance to engage with such practices as undergraduates.
It also allows students to engage with a smaller topic in more depth in their individual essays, and pushes them to engage with contemporary scholarship on the thematic theory or issue.

Reading Lists