Ethical Theory and Practice

Subject PHIL90004 (2010)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2010.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 9 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2010:

Semester 1, Parkville - 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

Saturday seminars

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: Five 4 or 5 hour seminars held on Saturdays at regular intervals throughout the semester, 24 hours in all.
Total Time Commitment: Average of 10 hours a week
Prerequisites: Admission to the Postgraduate Certificate or Postgraduate Diploma in Professional Ethics or or MA in Professional and Applied Ethics or permission from the subject coordinator.
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: Knowledge gained in an undergraduate degree or equivalent.
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering requests for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Description, Subject Objectives, Generic Skills and Assessment Requirements of this entry.

The University is dedicated to provide support to those with special requirements. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the Disability Liaison Unit website :


Mr Andrew Alexandra


Andrew Alexandra

Subject Overview:

This subject involves the philosophical study of issues in professional and applied ethics. It introduces students to a range of concepts and theories relevant to that study, including the nature of moral reasoning and philosophical argumentation. Drawing on these, students will investigate specific topics which may include: authority and autonomy. the relationship between personal and role morality. coercion and regulation. conflicts of interest. the role of trust. paternalism. the nature and limits of confidentiality. whistle-blowing and issues of discrimination in gender, race and sexual preference. On completion of the subject students should have developed a substantial understanding of the topic and of the relevant literature, and increased their appreciation of the value of careful, skilled and principled argument in dealing with such issues.


Students who sucessfully complete this subject will:

  • be able to identify a range of ethical dilemmas in professional and applied ethics.
  • appreciate the ethical issues raised by these dilemmas.
  • demonstrate an understanding of some of the key literature on ethical issues in the area of applied and professional ehtics.
  • be able to contribute in an informed and reasoned way to ethical debate in these areas.
Assessment: Written work totaling 5000 words comprising an assignment of 1500 words 30% (due mid-semester) and a 3500 word essay 70% (due at the end of semester).
Prescribed Texts:

A book of readings will be provided before the beginning of the course.

Recommended Texts:

Alexandra, A., and Miller, S., Ethics in Practice UNSW Press (2009). Koehn. D., The Grounds of Professional Ethics, London: Routledge (1994). Chadwick. R., (ed.), Ethics and the Professions, Avebury (1994). Shaw W., and Barry V., Moral Issues in Business (8th ed.) Wadsworth (2001). Martin M. W., Meaningful Work: Rethinking Professional Ethics, New York: OUP (2000). Coady M., and Bloch S., Codes of Ethics and the Professions, Melbourne: MUP (1996). Rest J.R., and Narvaez D., Moral development in the Professions: Psychology and Applied Ethics, Erlbaum (1994). May L., The Socially Responsive Self: Social Theory and Professional Ethics, University of Chicago Press (1996). Wueste D.E., Professional Ethics and Social Responsibility. Rowman and Littlefield (1994). Kultgen J. H., Ethics and Professionalism, University of Philadelphia Press (1998). Pellegrino E.D., et al. (eds) Ethics, Trust and the Professions, Georgetown University Presss (1991). Cocking D &amp.amp.amp. Oakley J., Virtue Ethics and Professional Roles. Cambridge Uniuversity Press (2001).

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:

Students who sucessfully complete this subject will:

  • have displayed the ability to engage critically with academic theorising.
  • have developed skills in research and analysis that will enable them to undertake further independent research work of greater length and originality.
  • have displayed the capacity for independent study.
Links to further information:
Related Course(s): Master of Arts (Professional and Applied Ethics)
Master of Arts (Science, Communication and Society)
Postgraduate Certificate in Professional Ethics
Postgraduate Diploma in Professional Ethics

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