Ethical Theory and Practice

Subject PHIL90004 (2013)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2013.

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

This subject is not offered in 2013.

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





Recommended Background Knowledge:

Students enrolling in this subject must have completed a Bachelor of Arts degree or equivalent.

Non Allowed Subjects:


Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request 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:

Subject Overview:

This subject introduces students to a range of concepts and ideas relevant to the philosophical study of issues in professional and applied ethics. It will begin with some questions in philosophical ethics, including: the nature of ethical thinking; the relation between moral theory and moral practice; whether ethical values are necessarily ‘universalisable’. The subject will then explore 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, models of the professional/’client’ relationship, the social responsibility of professionals, the nature and limits of confidentiality, whistle-blowing and issues of discrimination in gender, race and sexual preference.


Students who successfully complete this subject will:

  • appreciate the issues raised by a range of ethical dilemmas in professional and applied ethics
  • have developed their capacity to think clearly, imaginatively and critically about these issues
  • have an understanding of some of the key literature on ethical issues in the area of applied and professional ethics
  • be able to bring to bear the thinking they have done in this subject on their own professional and personal lives

A 1500 word assignment due during the semester, worth 30%

A 3500 word essay due at the end of the semester, worth 70%

Hurdle Requirement: Students are required to attend a minimum of 75% of classes in order to pass this subject. Regular participation in class is required. Assessment submitted late without an approved extension will be penalised in accordance with Faculty policy. All pieces of written work must be submitted to pass this subject.

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 and 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 successfully 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)
Postgraduate Certificate in Professional Ethics
Postgraduate Diploma in Professional Ethics
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: 100 Point Master of Public Policy and Management
150 Point Master of Public Policy and Management
200 Point Master of Public Policy and Management

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