Module Catalogue 2024/25

PHI1011 : Introduction to Moral Philosophy

PHI1011 : Introduction to Moral Philosophy

  • Offered for Year: 2024/25
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Stephen Overy
  • Owning School: School X
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus

Your programme is made up of credits, the total differs on programme to programme.

Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0
European Credit Transfer System

Modules you must have done previously to study this module

Pre Requisite Comment



Modules you need to take at the same time

Co Requisite Comment



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

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

By the end of the course, students will be:

- acquainted with key moments in European thought and with the foundations of the Enlightenment project;
- able to identify the basic positions, ideas of and problems with at least two thinkers or schools of thought;
- able to articulate the relationship between philosophical ideas and the cultural and material conditions of society; familiar with the central problems of moral philosophy and ethics;
- acquainted with the origin and nature of ethical method.

Intended Skill Outcomes

By the end of the course, students will:

- be able to independently read and comprehend texts from the history of ideas;
- orally and verbally express and discuss philosophical ideas and concepts;
- have acquired basic orientation and communication skills enabling them at a basic level to separate and assess different systems of thought originating in the periods covered by this course.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion120:0020:00Essay preparation and completion
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture81:008:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading152:0052:00Review 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 teaching81:008:00Tutorials
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops21:002:00N/A
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.

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written exercise2A100Choice of 2000 words 100% OR: individual essay 70% and joint report 30%.
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.


Past Exam Papers

General Notes


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The information contained within the Module Catalogue relates to the 2024 academic year.

In accordance with University Terms and Conditions, the University makes all reasonable efforts to deliver the modules as described.

Modules may be amended on an annual basis to take account of changing staff expertise, developments in the discipline, the requirements of external bodies and partners, and student feedback. Module information for the 2025/26 entry will be published here in early-April 2025. Queries about information in the Module Catalogue should in the first instance be addressed to your School Office.