1 x 2-hour seminar weekly
9 units of topics
Enrolment not permitted
PHIL2110 has been successfully completed
Assumed knowledge
As a third-year level topic in the Philosophy major sequence, this topic assumes a familiarity with the kind of knowledge, conceptual understanding and skill that would be acquired by completion of at least 9 units of second-year level topics from the Philosophy major sequence.
Topic description
This topic examines questions about the nature of morality.

The topic is divided into the following four parts;

Motivation: What motive do we have for acting morally? Do we only act morally reluctantly?

Reason: Are moral reasons in some sense a rational requirement on action? Can we be motivated to act at all in the absence of the particular contingent sentiments, desires or interests we happen to possess?

Virtue: Is morality properly explained in terms of human virtue or excellence of character? In what sense are we required to act as morality indicates?

Truth: Does morality have an objective basis? Do moral judgments admit of being true or false?
Educational aims
This topic aims to:

  • introduce students to key issues in contemporary moral philosophy with a specific focus on issues in meta-ethics and moral psychology

  • introduce students to some key historical texts in moral philosophy relevant for to the issues noted above

  • help students improve their reasoning skills by helping them to make careful distinctions between issues and pay very close attention to arguments
Expected learning outcomes
In undertaking this topic students should:

  • acquire knowledge of central issues in meta-ethics and moral psychology and of ways of dealing with those issues

  • acquire a familiarity with some classic texts

  • improve their critical reading and reasoning skills, both in verbal form and in writing