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PI7106 Ethics

  • ECTS Weighting: 10
  • Semester/Term Taught: Michaelmas Term
  • Contact Hours:11 x 2-hour seminars; 4 supervision hours; 174 hours of independent study
  • Module Personnel: Dr Lizzy Ventham

Module Content

This is an advanced course focusing on recent work in ethical theory. We will be covering areas such as the foundations of the ethical domain, the nature of practical reasons, the nature of value, the structure of ethical theories and a number of other hot topics in contemporary moral philosophy. One of the main focuses will be on T.M. Scanlon’s What We Owe To Each Other, which itself provides a good foundation for discussing a number of these areas.

Learning Aims

  • To engage with influential recent work in moral philosophy.
  • To understand central theoretical issues underlying normative reasoning and practice.
  • To develop a deeper understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of a number of contemporary approaches in ethical theory.
  • To improve critical reading, critical thinking, and oral communication skills through seminar discussion and essay writing.

Learning Outcomes

The aim of this module is to provide students with subject specific knowledge and to equip them with the necessary skills for independent research. It will allow them to develop an understanding of a number of key areas in contemporary moral philosophy in more detail than at an undergraduate level. Students will have the chance become familiar with theories at the cutting edge of current philosophical work.


The basis for the assessment of this module will consist of one written essay of 1500 words (50%) and a class presentation (50%). Students must attach a cover sheet to all Philosophy essays.

The word count includes footnotes but it does not include the bibliography. Essays that go over the limit will be liable for a 5 mark deduction.

Students may request an extension by contacting the MPhil Coordinator Dr Kenneth Pearce (Michaelmas term) and the MPhil Coordinator Dr Ben White (Hilary term).

Recommended Reading List

As advised/circulated by lecturer during the lecture series.