Great Thinkers in Moral Philosophy

Subject 161-007 (2009)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2009. Search for this in the current handbook

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 2 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2009:

Semester 1, - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period not applicable
Assessment Period End not applicable
Last date to Self-Enrol not applicable
Census Date not applicable
Last date to Withdraw without fail not applicable

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: Thirty-two contact hours per semester; two 1-hour lectures per week for the first 11 weeks and a 1-hour tutorial per week beginning the third week of semester
Total Time Commitment: 3 contact hours/week, 6 additional hours/week. Total of 9 hours per week.
Prerequisites: At least one first-year single-semester philosophy subject, or permission from the Head of School or subject coordinator.
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Student Support and Engagement Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Overview, Learning Outcomes, Assessment and Generic Skills sections of this entry.

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and Student Equity and Disability Support:


Dr Douglas Allen Adeney


Dr Douglas Adeney
Subject Overview: This subject critically studies three classics of moral philosophy: Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics, Immanuel Kant's Groundwork of the Metaphysic of Morals, and John Stuart Mill's Utilitarianism. These works represent very different approaches, and advance some celebrated doctrines. Aristotle holds that moral virtue is a mean between extremes, and that well-being, eudaimonia, is 'an activity of the soul in accordance with virtue'; Kant argues that an act has moral worth only if it is performed from the motive of duty, and that a person should be treated 'never simply as a means, but always at the same time as an end'; Mill holds that the 'Greatest Happiness Principle' should be our fundamental ethical guide, and that happiness is pleasure, but adds that some pleasures are worthier than others and that it is 'better to be Socrates dissatisfied than a fool satisfied'.
  • acquire knowledge and understanding of the texts studied;
  • appreciate what is distinctive and of abiding interest in these texts;
  • be able to present accurate and well-expressed exposition of important issues and views arising in them;
  • be able to present informed and fair-minded philosophical evaluation of them.
Assessment: A written assignment of 2000 words 50% (due mid-semester), a 2-hour closed-book written examination 47% (held at the end of semester) and tutorial participation 3%.
Prescribed Texts: Any edition of the three texts named above. A booklet of Supplementary Readings will also be made available.
Breadth Options:

This subject potentially can be taken as a breadth subject component for the following courses:

You should visit learn more about breadth subjects and read the breadth requirements for your degree, and should discuss your choice with your student adviser, before deciding on your subjects.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:
  • be able to recognise philosophically important similarities and differences between views and issues arising in different texts and contexts;
  • be able to apply the analytical skills developed in this subject to other philosophical and non-philosophical studies;
  • be able to apply the critical skills developed in this subject to other philosophical and non-philosophical studies.
Related Course(s): Diploma in Arts (Philosophy)
Postgraduate Certificate in Professional Ethics
Postgraduate Diploma in Professional Ethics
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: European Studies
Philosophy Major

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