Thinking deeply about what it means to do good

This unit introduces you to philosophical reflection concerning some fundamental questions in ethics. You will explore a selection of key issues in ‘metaethics’ concerning the nature of the good, the concept of moral responsibility, and problems in moral psychology concerning freedom, emotion, conscience, and intentions. Theories of normative ethics are also introduced, such as those based on duty, consequences, virtue, and natural law. Finally, you will engage in philosophical exploration of practical moral problems drawn from fields such as business and professional ethics, environmental ethics, bioethics, the ethics of war, and/or issues in interpersonal relationships.

Through reading some key historical and contemporary texts in moral philosophy, you are encouraged to identify, articulate and think through your own positions concerning the nature and complexities of the moral life, and to engage with the views of others. The unit also aims to enhance your skills in critical reflection on experience, the analysis of arguments, and the formulation and communication of coherent positions of their own.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

1. identify and demonstrate comprehension of some of the central problems and important theories concerning moral value and ethical theory (GA5)

2. analyse and review selected contemporary and historical debates in moral philosophy, noting ways in which theoretical reflection in ethics can be applied in practical situations, and develop reasoned responses to some key issues (GA3; GA4; GA8)

3. demonstrate beginning skills in the clear, well-structured and well-referenced presentation of a philosophical argument in formal oral and/or written contexts (GA5; GA9).

You should have developed your ability to achieve the following ACU graduate attributes:

  • GA3 apply ethical perspectives in informed decision-making
  • GA4 think critically and reflectively
  • GA5 demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession
  • GA8 locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information
  • GA9 demonstrate effective communication in oral and written English language and visual media

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