BUU11540 Fundamentals of Philosophy, Ethics and Social Science

(10 ECTS)


Dr. David Price

Phone: +353-1-896-3494 (ext. 3654)
Email: daprice@tcd.ie
Office Hours: 12-14.00 on Fridays, online 

Module Description

This module is an introduction to a broad range of topics within philosophy, ethics, and the social sciences. It arms students with the conceptual tools needed to frame and evaluate challenging questions about what we should do in business and society at large. 

In the Michaelmas semester, we focus on understanding various wrongs with an emphasis on those we are likely to encounter in business (e.g., imposing risks, corruption, exploitation). We will discuss both what these kinds of behaviour are and what’s bad about them, as well as how they might be avoided and what should happen when they are not. 

In the Hillary semester, the focus shifts towards our positive obligations to others and how best to use social institutions to satisfy them. This requires us to engage with economic and political theory, and it calls us to question not only the grounds for and scope of our duties but also the ways that historical and economic factors influence the roles of the market and the state.

Learning Outcomes

LO1: Become familiar with the primary philosophical methodology of reasoning and conceptual analysis.

LO2: Become familiar with current issues and methodology in social science, particularly in economics, sociology, and political theory.

LO3: Leverage the conceptual tools of ethics and political theory to frame and understand challenging normative questions in contemporary business contexts.

LO4: Develop critical thinking, reading, and writing skills on contemporary business-ethical debates including the extent of our personal, economic, and political obligations. L

O5: Develop an ability to discuss these challenging issues productively with peers.

Textbooks and Required Resources

There is no textbook required.

General Supplemental Readings:

All readings will be provided through Blackboard.


Course participation (10%)
Regular quizzes (10%)
Essay 1 (30%) due towards the end of Michaelmas semester
Essay 2 (30%) due towards the end of Hilary semester
Final Examination (20%)

Supplemental Assessment: 100% 48 hour take-home exam