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

Postgraduate Course: Meta-Ethics (MSc) (PHIL11043)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThe 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.

Shared with undergraduate course Meta-Ethics PHIL10019.

For courses co-taught with undergraduate students and with no remaining undergraduate spaces left, a maximum of 8 MSc students can join the course. Priority will be given to MSc students who wish to take the course for credit on a first come first served basis after matriculation.
Course description Seminar schedule

Week 1: Introduction
Week 2: Conceptual Toolkit
Week 3: Nonnaturalism
Week 4: Expressivism
Week 5: Naturalism 1
Week 6: Naturalism 2
Week 7: Error Theory and Fictionalism
Week 8: Theoretical C/B Analysis
Week 9: Theories That Don't Fit 1
Week 10: Theories That Don't Fit 2
Week 11: Conclusion
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2017/18, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  8
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 20, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 10, Summative Assessment Hours 4, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 162 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) One 2500 word essay (100%)

Word limit: 2500 words maximum (excluding references)
Feedback - MSc-only tutorials in weeks 8 and 10 to discuss their ideas
- Students have the opportunity to submit a formative essay by week 6 deadline on Turnitin via Learn. The essay cannot be draft of summative essay but it can be on the same topic.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. understand the most important positions in contemporary meta-ethics
  2. enhance their philosophical skills, through pursuing contemporary questions at an advanced level
  3. further their communications skills, through presentations and constructive argument in a seminar setting
Reading List
Chrisman, M 'What Is This Thing Called Metaethics' 2016
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Research, critical analysis, argumentation skills (written and oral).
Critical reading skills
KeywordsMetaethics,Moral Realism,Moral Anti-realism,non naturalism,naturalism,error theory
Course organiserProf Michael Ridge
Tel: (0131 6)50 3657
Course secretaryMs Becky Verdon
Tel: (0131 6)51 5002
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