Module and Programme Catalogue

Search site

Find information on

2024/25 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

IDEA5260M Justice: Fairness, Equality and Diversity

15 creditsClass Size: 30

Module manager: Dr Carl Fox

Taught: 1 May to 31 July View Timetable

Year running 2024/25


IDEA5210MIntro Ethics: Reason Happiness
IDEA5220MProfessional Issues 1
IDEA5230MAgents & Profes Responsibility

This module is not approved as an Elective


This module explores what justice requires and thus the bearing of claims of justice on issues in applied and professional ethics. Different accounts place different demands on individuals, institutions and corporations in terms of restrictions on the pursuit of their interests or activities, and rights over their assets.

However, rights have a role in moral theory that extends beyond their contribution to accounts of justice. But there is disagreement as to precisely what that role is. While some argue that rights are central and the most weighty of moral considerations (they function like trumps in any moral dispute), others disagree.

So this module also introduces rights more generally: What is a right, what justifies a claim to have a right to something, who can have rights (individuals or also groups or corporations), and are they more weighty than other moral considerations? This will involve looking at the role of interests, harms and benefits in grounding moral claims or justifications for breaching rights, including what is often called the public interest.

Learning outcomes
On completion of this module, students should have an ability to:
- understand and critically evaluate different accounts of justice;
- understand and critically evaluate different accounts of the nature and justification of rights (and of their breach);
- apply this understanding to specific problems in applied or professional ethics where justice or rights is taken to be of normative significance.


Topics may include, for example:

- Justice
> What is to be distributed? Resources, welfare, opportunity, capability: explanation of the metrics and generic problems with each;
> How is it to be distributed? Equality, equal opportunity, priority for the worse off, sufficiency. Merits and problems of each.

- Theories of justice

- Equality and Diversity
> Liberalism and respect for diversity (Neutrality or a thin theory of the good?)
> Liberal perfectionism
> Mill's defense of diversity: freedom to pursue different ways of life for the benefit of society and of the individual
> Communitarianism limits on diversity.

- Understanding Rights and Prerogatives

- Interests, Benefits and Harms
> Understanding Interests / Benefits / Harms;
> Harm principle: How do we understand harm (Mill and beyond)? Subjective and objective accounts. Difference between harm and offence.
> How do we understand interests? Subjective and objective accounts.
> How do we understand benefits? Subjective and objective accounts.
> Who can be harmed, have interests or be benefited? ie What entities can have moral personality? Individuals, groups, corporations etc.

- Understanding Interests, and the Public Interest
> The nature of public interest: aggregative or consequentialist conceptions vs. non-consequentialist conceptions
> Public interest as a normative concept: What interests of the public are legitimate? (eg what the public wants to know versus what it is legitimate for them to know, or public interest justifications for non-prosecution)
> Weighing public against individual interests: consequentialist vs non-consequentialist accounts of resolving such conflicts
> Connection with justice: Can justice give way to public interest? Which rights or interests cannot be outweighed by public interest?

- Practical issues to include, for example:
> The requirement to treat customers fairly (FSA)
> Achieving equity and diversity versus employing the best person available
> Fairness and the professional requirement to act in the public interest
> Fairness and rights in the workplace.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
On-line Learning82.0016.00
Independent online learning hours34.00
Private study hours100.00
Total Contact hours16.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)150.00

Private study

On-Line Learning: online tutor-led discussion.
Independent Online Learning: working through exercises online.

Private Study Time:
Students be assigned set readings, and will be given teaching materials to work through at their own pace. These materials will set the readings in context, at certain points provide prompts for carefully structured online discussions, which will be supported by tutors.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Essay plans (400 words).

Tutors will be involved in students' discussions to monitor their contributions, and provide clarification or answer questions where necessary. Access to teaching materials will also be logged through the VLE, which will give some indication of students' progress in independent learning.

Contribution to online discussions will be assessed (on participation rather than content) to encourage regular, active participation.

There will also be an online personal tutoring system to review progress on completed modules and identify any areas where further support is needed.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay1 x 3,000 word90.00
Group DiscussionParticipation in online group discussions10.00
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: 07/06/2024 15:34:54


Browse Other Catalogues

Errors, omissions, failed links etc should be notified to the Catalogue Team.PROD

© Copyright Leeds 2019