PHIL309-17B (HAM)

Ethical Theory

20 Points

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Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Te Kura Kete Aronui
School of Social Sciences
Dept of Philosophy

Staff

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Convenor(s)

Lecturer(s)

Administrator(s)

: paula.maynard@waikato.ac.nz
: janice.smith@waikato.ac.nz

Placement Coordinator(s)

Tutor(s)

Student Representative(s)

Lab Technician(s)

Librarian(s)

: heather.morrell@waikato.ac.nz

You can contact staff by:

  • Calling +64 7 838 4466 select option 1, then enter the extension.
  • Extensions starting with 4, 5 or 9 can also be direct dialled:
    • For extensions starting with 4: dial +64 7 838 extension.
    • For extensions starting with 5: dial +64 7 858 extension.
    • For extensions starting with 9: dial +64 7 837 extension.
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Paper Description

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This paper is an exploration of debates in a subdiscipline of philosophy: ethical theory, the philosophic study of right and wrong conduct. The first six weeks of the paper will address problems in metaethics. We will begin with an overview of what metaethics is, what questions it seeks to address, and how philosophers of the twentieth century have attempted to resolve these debates. Our focus will be on Moorean Non-Naturalism and the Open Question Argument, Emotivism, Prescriptivism, and two forms of Subjectivism: Error Theory and Sensibility Theories. Discussion of these topics will be led by Joe Ulatowski.

The second six weeks of the paper will examine recent developments in normative theory, focusing on consequentialist, deontological and virtue-ethical responses to the question: What makes an action right? The question is considered by using throught experiments and by looking at particular issues in applied ethics, such as the morality of abortion, famine relief, and euthanasia. Discussion of these topics will be led by Liezl van Zyl.

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Paper Structure

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The paper has been timetabled as two two-hour lectures per week. Both classes will be a mix of lecture and discussion. Students should come to class prepared to engage in discussion with one another and with the instructor.

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Learning Outcomes

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Students who successfully complete the course should be able to:

  • understand central philosophical issues in contemporary normative theory and meta-ethics,
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  • discuss and write analytically about these issues, and
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  • come up with original arguments or philosophical positions, new criticisms of arguments and positions in the recent literature
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Assessment

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Essay topic: Ethical Egoism

Critically discuss one objection to universal ethical egoism. Answer with reference to Brian Medlin and Jesse Kalin.

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Assessment Components

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The internal assessment/exam ratio (as stated in the University Calendar) is 1:0. 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 1:0 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. Test 1
26 Jul 2017
11:00 AM
20
  • Hand-in: In Lecture
2. Essay 1
25
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
3. Test 2
20 Sep 2017
11:00 AM
20
4. Essay 2
16 Oct 2017
5:00 PM
25
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
5. Participation
10
Assessment Total:     100    
Failing to complete a compulsory assessment component of a paper will result in an IC grade
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Required and Recommended Readings

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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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Recommended Readings

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If and when there are recommended readings to supplement the week's required reading, they will be made available in the paper's Talis Aspire reading list or through the Moodle online portal.
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Other Resources

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If and when there are other resources available to supplement the week's required reading, they will be publicised using the paper's online Moodle portal.
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Online Support

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Lecture notes are available on Moodle.
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Workload

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Expect to spend about 150 hours in total on this paper. This includes preparing for and attending lectures, preparing for tests and writing the essay.
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Linkages to Other Papers

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Philosophy is the very crucible from which all other disciplines evolved, so this paper links with every other paper in the offing at university.
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Prerequisite(s)

at least one of PHIL106, PHIL215, PHIL217 or PHIL218

Corequisite(s)

Equivalent(s)

Restriction(s)

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