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

Postgraduate Course: Ethics (PHIL11182)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course examines to what extent we can find a place for ethics in a naturalistic, scientific picture of the world. The course is shared between online distance learning and on-campus students for blended learning.
Course description In this course we investigate questions concerning the nature of ethics, or morality. Example questions include 'Are there moral facts?', 'Do we have moral knowledge?', and 'What is the relation between everyday descriptive facts and ethical facts?'

Example Topics:

Introduction to metaethics
Non-naturalist realism
Error theory
Naturalist realism(s)
Hybrid Theories
Evolutionary debunking arguments
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 2022/23, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  40
Course Start Semester 1
Course Start Date 19/09/2022
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 22, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 174 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Students will be assessed by a 800 word essay plan (10%), a 3000 word essay due at the end of the semester (85%) and successful participation in the on-line activities associated with the course (5%). Failure to actively contribute posts during the semester will result in marks of up to 5% being deducted.

How the participation component will be assessed will be made clear to the students at the start of the course.
Feedback 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. grasp fundamental issues and views in metaethics, e.g. moral realism, error theory, expressivism
  2. critically analyse and engage with literature by key philosophers in this field
  3. present arguments clearly and concisely both within a classroom context and in a 2,500 word essay
  4. gain transferable skills in research, analysis and argumentation
Reading List
Chrisman, M. (2016) 'What is this thing called Metaethics?' Routledge
Moore, G. E. (1903) 'The Subject Matter of Ethics' in his Principia Ethica, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Cuneo, T. (2007) 'Moral Realism of a Paradigmatic Sort' in his The Normative Web, Oxford: Oxford University Press
Mackie, J.L. (1977) 'The Subjectivity of Values' in his Ethics: Inventing Right and Wrong London: Penguin.
Joyce, R. 'Moral Anti-Realism', The Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy (Summer 2009 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.)
Blackburn, S. (1988) 'How to be an ethical anti-realist' Midwest Studies in Philosophy 12(1):361-75
Street, S. (2006) 'A Darwinian Dilemma for Realist Theories of Value,'
Philosophical Studies 127: 109-66.
Harman, G. (1977) The Nature of Morality, New York: Oxford University Press, Chapter 1.
Sturgeon, N. (1985) 'Moral Explanations', in Morality, Reason, and Truth, D. Copp and D. Zimmerman, (eds.), Totowa, N.J.: Rowman and Allanheld.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Research, critical analysis, argumentation skills (both written and oral). Critical reading skills.
KeywordsEthics,Metaeethics,Moral Realism,Moral Antirealism
Course organiserProf Michael Cholbi
Course secretaryMiss Sabina Ali
Tel: (0131 6) 50 4400
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