Postgraduate Course: The Nature of Moral Understanding MSc (PHIL11068)
|School||School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences
||College||College of Humanities and Social Science
|Credit level (Normal year taken)||SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate)
||Availability||Available to all students
|Summary||There is a distinctive experience that humans have when they think about situations that seem to involve moral considerations. While these experiences may be amenable to theoretical formalisation, there is important philosophical reflection to be done without theory. What do people understand when they understand a situation as demanding moral consideration, reflection or decision? This course aims to make progress with this and related questions and in the process complement our other, more formal, courses in moral philosophy.
The central question with which this course is concerned is: what is the nature of the understanding someone has when they engage with their moral concerns? These moral concerns are considered to arise in relatively ordinary situations of the kinds presented in life, literature and film. These situations include decisions about what to do; wondering how to live; questions of whether one is under a moral obligation; contemplation of shame or guilt.
In this sense, this course is a philosophical examination of various phenomena - moral phenomena - about which philosophical theories are constructed. The main goals will be to focus on the nature of the understanding we have of these phenomena with a view to clarifying which are their essential features and which do not distinguish them. Central to this examination, the course will consider how other philosophers have tried to delimit the phenomena or characterise our moral understanding.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
||Other requirements|| None
Information for Visiting Students
|High Demand Course?
Course Delivery Information
|Academic year 2018/19, Available to all students (SV1)
|Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info)
Seminar/Tutorial Hours 24,
Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4,
Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours
|Assessment (Further Info)
|Additional Information (Assessment)
||One 2,500 word essay (100%)
Upper word limit: 2750 maximum excluding references (2500 words plus 10% leeway)
||Students have the opportunity to submit a formative essay. The essay cannot be draft of the summative essay but it can be on the same topic.
|No Exam Information
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
- show an understanding of the nature of moral thinking and reasoning
- explain the commonality and difference of moral thinking with other kinds of thought
- describe the varieties of moral engagement beyond action and reasoning
- discuss inter-relation between ethical phenomena, normative moral claims, and meta-ethical claims
- contrast different ways of making moral arguments and discuss the limits to formalising such arguments
|We will work from assorted articles, reading one or two each week. These vary as new topics emerge.|
|Graduate Attributes and Skills
Selective note taking.
Developing an argument.
|Course organiser||Dr David Levy
Tel: (0131 6)50 9943
|Course secretary||Ms Becky Verdon
Tel: (0131 6)51 5002