MA Political Science - Philosophy and Political Theory

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:

Course unit fact file
Unit code PHIL60051
Credit rating 15
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Available as a free choice unit? No


The exact content may differ from year to year, but central questions include: (i) what sorts of things are of ethical value, and why? (ii) How does such value relate to our reasons to act in certain ways? (iii) How do we determine what we ought to do? (iv) what is the status of ethical statements?, and (v) what is the nature of particular ethical phenomena such as promising and forgiveness?


  • To familiarise students with some central philosophical concepts in ethics
  • To introduce some of the main philosophical issues discussed in the contemporary literature on forgiveness, revenge and evil
  • To compare, contrast, and evaluate competing accounts of whether and how morality fits into the world

Learning outcomes

On completion of this unit successful participants will have:

(a) read and understood some of the main texts from the relevant reading lists and from elsewhere;
(b) attended the seminars, and participated in discussion;
(c) acquired and developed the analytic skills which are necessary for the formation of their own considered views, for the evaluation of questions, and for putting forward good answers.

(d) improved the communication skills which are necessary for delivering a clear, concise, and informative presentation.


Teaching and learning methods

Teaching will be seminar based, with a two-hour seminar each week over eight weeks. A student will introduce each week’s topic by giving a presentation on it. There will also be an initial one-hour meeting in which the convenor will present an overview of the course and its topics, and a final two- hour meeting designed to provide individual assistance on assessment.

Employability skills

Analytical skills
Oral communication

Assessment methods

MA - Assessed Essay 4000 words 100%

Recommended reading

Murphy, J.G and Hampton, J. Forgiveness and Mercy (CUP, 1988)

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Seminars 20
Independent study hours
Independent study 130

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Stephen Ingram Unit coordinator
Paula Satne Unit coordinator

Additional notes


Wednesday 11-1

Humanities Bridgeford Street 2.053

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