Ethical Theory and Practice

Subject PHIL90004 (2016)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2016.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 9 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2016:

Semester 1, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period 29-Feb-2016 to 29-May-2016
Assessment Period End 24-Jun-2016
Last date to Self-Enrol 11-Mar-2016
Census Date 31-Mar-2016
Last date to Withdraw without fail 06-May-2016

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 24 hours - Five 4 or 5 hour seminars held on Saturdays at regular intervals throughout the semester,
Total Time Commitment:

170 hours


Admission into the Master of Arts in Professional and Applied Ethics or MC-EMA Executive master of Arts or 344AB Master of Public Policy and Management or ANZSOG Executive Master of Public Administration or another Masters by Coursework programme at the University of Melbourne with coordinator approval.

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:


Assoc Prof Christopher Cordner



Subject Overview:

This subject introduces students to a range of concepts and ideas that have been central in philosophical thinking about ethics, and also explores ways in which these ideas inform everyday thinking and practice. Historically important approaches to ethics will include those of Plato, Aristotle, Immanuel Kant, and John Stuart Mill. As well as reflection on some contemporary writing in philosophical ethics and moral psychology, the subject will also involve critical reflection on various specific issues of contemporary ethical importance in society.

This class meets on 5 Saturdays during semester, the exact dates to be determined in the first meeting.

Learning Outcomes:

Students who successfully complete this subject will:

  • appreciate some of the main themes of philosophical thinking about ethics;
  • have developed their capacity to think clearly, imaginatively and critically about these themes;
  • appreciate the bearing of these themes on ethical thinking and practice both in their own personal life and in their professional life.
  • A 1500-word assignment research essay, due during the semester (30%)
  • A 3500 word essay, due at the end of the semester (70%)

Hurdle requirement:

  • Students must attend a minimum of 80% of classes in order to pass this subject.
Prescribed Texts:

Subject readings will be available online.

Recommended Texts:

Alexandra, A., and Miller, S., Ethics in Practice UNSW Press (2009).

Raimond Gaita, A common Humanity (Melbourne Text Publishing, 1999).

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Links to further information:

This class meets on 5 Saturdays during semester, the exact dates to be determined in the first meeting.

Related Course(s): Master of Arts (Professional and Applied Ethics)
Postgraduate Diploma in Professional Ethics
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: 100 Point Master of Arts (Professional and Applied Ethics)
100 Point Master of Public Policy and Management
150 Point Master of Public Policy and Management
200 Point Master of Public Policy and Management
200 points Master of Arts (Professional and Applied Ethics)
Graduate Certificate in Arts (Advanced) - Professional Ethics
Graduate Diploma in Arts (Advanced) - Professional Ethics

Download PDF version.