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2022/23 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

PHIL2322 Moral Philosophy

20 creditsClass Size: 150

Module manager: Dr Jessica Isserow & Dr Will Gamester

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2022/23

Pre-requisite qualifications

Either PRHS 1000; or PHIL 1080; or PHIL 1333 and PHIL 1444.

This module is mutually exclusive with

PHIL2250Moral Philosophy

Module replaces


This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

This module aims to introduce students to some of the central concepts, issues, theories, and debates in an area ofmoral philosophy called "normative ethics", thereby providing them with a framework for thinking seriously about moralmatters, and to assist them in developing their philosophical and analytical skills. At the most basic level, normative ethics concerns what kind of actions are morally right or good and morally wrong or bad, and what makes them so. We will distinguish and evaluate the leading positions on these issues through a range of more specific topics in normative ethics.Such topics will typically include at least some of the following: - What is happiness and well-being? - What kinds of personal sacrifices does morality require of us?- What kinds of moral duties do we have towards others? - Do only the consequences of an action matter to whether it is morally right, or do ends sometimes not justify the means? - Is there a morally relevant difference between doing something and merely letting it happen? How should benefits and burdens be distributed? - On what grounds are we to decide between competing ethical theories? These and related issues will be studied by paying careful attention to either primary texts by at least three major philosophers from the history of moral philosophy or selections of central work in contemporary normative ethics.


On completion of this module, students should be able to:
1. Show a good grasp of central issues, arguments, and theories in normative ethics and give clear and accurate
exposition of leading philosophical treatments of such;
2. Show understanding of how these issues, arguments, and theories relate to one another;
3. Demonstrate the capacity to analyse arguments critically and develop their own position in relation to these issues.


This module aims to provide students with a solid grasp of central issues, arguments, and theories in normative ethics
through a study of either primary texts by central figures in the history of moral philosophy (such as Aristotle, Hume,
Kant, Mill, or Nietzsche) or selections of central work in contemporary normative ethics.

Issues raised will typically include at least some of the following: self-interest, motivation, and morality; the nature of well-being and happiness; happiness, virtue, and duty; consequences and side constraints; equality and priority in distribution of wellbeing; the doctrines of double effect and doing and allowing; aggregation and fairness; the objectivity or otherwise of moral judgements; whether morality or rationality can be instruments of oppression.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours173.00
Total Contact hours27.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

- Seminar preparation: 120 hours;
- Essay preparation: 53 hours.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Students will have the opportunity to receive feedback on 1,000 word essay plan.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay3000 words (end of module)100.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated.

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 14/10/2022


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