PHILO309-21B (HAM)

Experiments in Ethics

15 Points

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Division of Arts Law Psychology & Social Sciences
School of Social Sciences
Philosophy

Staff

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Convenor(s)

Lecturer(s)

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: monique.mulder@waikato.ac.nz

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: anne.ferrier-watson@waikato.ac.nz

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Paper Description

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In this paper we focus on recent developments in Normative Ethics. We make use of thought experiments and case studies to test or evaluate Consequentialist, Deontological, and Virtue Ethical perspectives on the question: What makes an action right? (or: Which conditions have to be met in order for an action to be morally justified?).

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 there a link between being good and being happy?
  • 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?
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Paper Structure

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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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Learning Outcomes

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Students who successfully complete the paper 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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Assessment Components

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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
30
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
2. Essay 2
22 Oct 2021
No set time
30
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
3. Participation
20
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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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 112 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)

Prerequisite papers: Students must have completed at least one philosophy paper at the 100 or 200 level.

Corequisite(s)

Equivalent(s)

Restriction(s)

Restricted papers: PHIL309

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