Ethical Theory

Subject PHIL20008 (2014)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2014.

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

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2014:

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


Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 2x 1-hour lectures each week and 1x 1-hour tutorial (weeks 2-12)
Total Time Commitment:

an average of 8.5 each week.





Recommended Background Knowledge:

One of the following subjects is recommended but not required:

Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:
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 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:


Dr Karen Jones


Dr Karen Jones

Subject Overview:

This subject critically studies the three classical approaches to moral philosophy: Aristotle 'virtue ethics, Immanuel Kant' deontology, and John Stuart Mill's Utilitarianism. As well as examining works by these great thinkers, we look at debates among the contemporary heirs to the traditions they started.

Learning Outcomes:

Students who successfully complete this subject will:

  • have developed an understanding of the main approaches to the nature of morality.
  • understand the historical antecedents to important contemporary approaches to the nature of morality.
  • be able to think critically about, and to evaluate, the philosophical cogency of those views.
  • have acquired a background for their own further philosophical reflection on morality.

A written assignment of 2000 words, 50% (due mid-semester), a 2,000 word take home exam, 50% (due in the examination period).

Hurdle Requirements: This subject has a minimum hurdle requirement of 75% tutorial attendance. Regular participation in tutorials is required. Assessment submitted late without an approved extension will be penalised at 10% per day. After 5 working days late assessment will not be marked. In-class tasks missed without approval will not be marked. All pieces of written work must be submitted to pass this subject.

Prescribed Texts:

Sahfer-Landau (ed) Ethical Theory: An Anthology (Blackwell 2007). This book will be available from the University bookshop at the start of semester.

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:

Students who successfully complete this subject will:

  • develop skills in critical thinking and analysis.
  • have improved their ability to think in theoretical terms.
  • develop skills in written communication.
Links to further information:
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: European Studies
Philosophy Major

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