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DEGREE REGULATIONS & PROGRAMMES OF STUDY 2016/2017

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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences : Philosophy

Undergraduate Course: Meta-Ethics (PHIL10019)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryIf ethics is the general investigation of what is right/wrong, good/bad, what one may/ought to do, etc. then metaethics is the investigation of the nature of ethical judgments and facts. This involves questions about: (i) the objectivity and psychology of ethical judgment, (ii) the existence, nature and knowability of ethical facts, and (iii) the meaning of ethical terms and the sentences in which they figure. This course will introduce students this area of philosophy, which is an interesting arena for the interaction of moral theory, metaphysics, ontology, moral psychology, and the philosophy of language. We consider a wide range of metaethical theories which may include non-naturalism, emotivism, error-theory, naturalism, expressivism, and fictionalism. Through this, students will gain an overview of twentieth century meta-ethics and exposure to some recent developments. In addition to students interested in ethical theory, this course will be relevant to those interested in metaphysics, epistemology, and the theory of meaning.
Course description The philosophical study of ethics can be divided into three main areas: normative ethics, practical ethics, and metaethics. Normative ethics seeks general accounts of right/wrong and good/bad; practical ethics seeks to answer specific practical questions from an ethical point of view. By contrast, metaethics prescinds from these first-order questions to ask second-order questions about the ┐status of morality┐. Core issues in metaethics arise in each of the following areas as applied to morality: (a) metaphysics, (b) epistemology, (c) the philosophy of language, and (d) the philosophy of mind. In this course, we consider several traditional metaethical theories, including nonnaturalism, the error-theory, fictionalism, expressivism, and naturalism. We will also consider more contemporary theories that don┐t fit well into the more traditional categories. These include so-called ┐hybrid theories,┐ constructivist theories, and pragmatist theories.
The goal of this course is not to make you a metaethicist or even for you to develop a full understanding of all of the main metaethical theories. Rather, the primary goal of this course is to develop your critical and analytical thinking skills. You will also develop these skills through in-class discussion and by arguing in your written work for the ideas you find most persuasive and challenging ideas you think are incorrect. Excelling in the course will demonstrate your growing precision in thought, an ability to interpret a text charitably and reconstruct the arguments found in that text and critically engage with those arguments, the capacity to develop your own convincing arguments for theses you find plausible, and anticipate the most powerful objections to your arguments and counter them, among other core philosophical skills. The course should be especially useful in honing your ability to think comparatively about the relative costs and benefits of various theories competing for roughly the same logical space.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed: Mind, Matter and Language (PHIL08014) AND Knowledge and Reality (PHIL08017)
Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesVisiting students should have at least 3 Philosophy courses at grade B or above (or be predicted to obtain this). We will only consider University/College level courses.
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2016/17, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  0
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 22, Summative Assessment Hours 2, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 172 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) 1. Mid-term essay of 1,500 words (40%)
2. End-of-semester take-home examination (60%)



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Academic year 2016/17, Part-year visiting students only (VV1) Quota:  6
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 22, Feedback/Feedforward Hours 7, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 167 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) 1. Mid-term essay of 1,500 words (40%)
2. End-of-semester take-home examination (60%)



Feedback Not entered
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
A thorough understanding of the most important positions in contemporary meta-ethics, some of which students will have encountered in less depth in previous courses, others of which will be new to students; an enhancement of philosophical skills, through pursuing contemporary questions at an advanced level; a furthering of communications skills, through presentations and constructive argument in a seminar setting.
Reading List
For an indication of topics and content please see Chrisman, M 'What Is This Thing Called Metaethics┐ 2016. For the full reading list please see the Learn site.
Additional Information
Course URL http://www.philosophy.ed.ac.uk/ug_study/ug_index.html
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsNot entered
Contacts
Course organiserDr Deborah Roberts
Tel: (0131 6)51 5171
Email: D.Roberts@ed.ac.uk
Course secretaryMiss Samantha Bell
Tel: (0131 6)50 3602
Email: sam.bell@ed.ac.uk
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