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DRPS : Course Catalogue : Centre for Open Learning : Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences

Undergraduate Course: Virtue Ethics (LLLI07010)

Course Outline
SchoolCentre for Open Learning CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 7 (Year 1 Undergraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits10 ECTS Credits5
SummaryThis is a for-credit course offered by the Office of Lifelong Learning (OLL); only students registered with OLL should be enrolled. Virtue ethics is a modern philosophical approach, which uses ideas of the good life and virtues such as courage and moderation to explore complex moral questions. In this course, we will examine both various theoretical approaches to virtue ethics and issues such as euthanasia and our treatment of the environment.
Course description Content of course
1. Introduction. A background to the development of modern virtue ethics based upon the analyses in Elizabeth Anscombe┐s paper ┐Modern Moral Philosophy┐ and Alasdair MacIntyre┐s After Virtue.
2. The ancient basis for virtue ethics. An account of Greek eudaimonistic ethics as found Plato, Aristotle and the Stoics.
3. Hume, Kant, Mill and Nietzsche. A consideration of accounts of human nature and their ethical implications found in four modern authors.
4. Varieties of modern virtue ethics I. A consideration of three strands in modern virtue ethics: neo-Aristotelianism (Rosalind Hursthouse); Platonism (Iris Murdoch); tradition (Alasdair MacIntyre).
5. Varieties of modern virtue ethics II. A continuation of week 4.
6. Criticisms of modern virtue ethics. A discussion of theoretical problems concerning the modern virtue ethics approach.
7. Applying virtue ethics: relationships. A discussion of the application of virtue ethics to human relationships.
8. Applying virtue ethics: life and death. A discussion of the application of virtue ethics to moral questions concerning life and death such as abortion and euthanasia.
9. Applying virtue ethics: the environment. A discussion of the implications of virtue ethics for our treatment of the environment.
10. Final discussion. An opportunity to consider the course as a whole and to return to specific issues in the light of that overview.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
By the end of the course, students should be able to:
┐ Understand and describe the key features of modern virtue ethics;
┐ Assess a range of moral claims using virtue ethics;
┐ Construct a well-reasoned case in support of an ethical conclusion.
Reading List
Crisp, R. and Slote, M., eds., 1997. Virtue Ethics. Oxford: OUP.
Hursthouse, R., 2001. On Virtue Ethics. Oxford: OUP. (Also available from Oxford Scholarship on line via library.)
Van Hooft, S., 2005. Understanding Virtue Ethics. Chesham: Acumen Publishing.
Web sources
Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy
Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
Class handouts
Weekly handouts giving the key points of each discussion and suggestions for further study will be provided.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserMr James Mooney
Tel: (0131 6)50 3077
Course secretaryMs Marie Craft
Tel: (0131 6)50 3943
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