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2022/23 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

PHIL5723M War, Terror, and Justice

30 creditsClass Size: 20

Module manager: Dr Gerald Lang

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2022/23

This module is mutually exclusive with

PHIL3723War, Terror and Justice

This module is not approved as an Elective

Module summary

Drawing extensively on the contemporary literature in analytic moral and political philosophy, this module offers an exploration of several key issues in international ethics: warfare, terrorism, nuclear deterrence, and questions of distributive justice and responsibility for the harms of poverty and deprivation. It will also explore accounts of individual self-defence as essential background for theorizing about war.


The central objectives of this course are:

To familiarize students with some of the leading contemporary theories and debates which matter to moral analysis of self-defence, war, terrorism, military conflict, and international justice.

To enable students to engage critically with some of the philosophical debates arising from these issues.

Learning outcomes
On completion of the module, students should have provided evidence of being able to:

Understand in depth of some of the key concepts, issues, debates, and approaches in the contemporary literature on the ethics of self-defence, war, terrorism, and international distributive justice.

Demonstrate advanced analytical skills when critically discussing texts and topics orally in seminars and in writing.

Present in their written work clear, cogent, sustained arguments, drawing on material from a range of relevant resources.

Conduct independent research and make appropriate use of supervision structures.

Skills outcomes
Understand in depth of some of the key concepts, issues, debates, and approaches in contemporary political philosophy.

Apply this theoretical knowledge and understanding in such a way as to make sense of specific global challenges, both orally and in writing.

Analysing and criticising philosophical arguments and theories clearly and incisively.

Thinking through complex philosophical questions with independence of mind.

Arguing for a philosophical position and expressing this argument effectively both in writing and orally.


This module will include such topics as, for example:

An introduction to war, killing, and international ethics

Individual self-defence

Analysing jus in bello in Just War Theory: Moral Equality of Combatants and Non-Combatant Immunity

Analysing jus ad bellum in Just War Theory: the significance of sovereignty and the case for humanitarian intervention

The morality of nuclear deterrence

The morality of terrorism

The morality of interrogational torture

What are our responsibilities to the world’s poor?

The ethics of nationalism

International distributive justice: cosmopolitanism versus non-cosmopolitanism

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours274.00
Total Contact hours26.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)300.00

Private study

Weekly reading and preparation for seminars: 9 x 10 = 90 hours

Research and preparation for essay: 96 hours

Essay writing (including drafts and revisions): 88 hours

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Formative feedback will be given in the following ways:

In the nine one-hour seminars, the module leader will respond to student questions and support understanding based on the module content and readings (shared with UG students).

The module leaders will provide feedback on analytical skills when critically discussing texts and topics orally in seminars. Meets LO2.

In a one-to-one one-hour essay supervision with the module leader, the module leader will comment and provide guidance and feedback on a 1,000-word essay plan submitted by the student.

Office hours offered by the module leader and tutorial leader (if these are different).

Student progress will be monitored in the following ways:

Submission of a 5,000-word essay submitted at the end of the module.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay5000 words100.00
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: 29/04/2022 15:26:27


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