MA Political Science - Philosophy and Political Theory
Year of entry: 2024
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Course unit details:
The Ethics Of Killing
|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?||Yes|
The aim in this course is to introduce students to some of the central questions surrounding the ethics of killing and saving. Is it permissible to kill the innocent in self-defence? Is there a moral difference between killing and letting die? When can civilians be justifiably killed in war? Do intentions matter in deciding on the permissibility of targeting bombings? What is the moral difference between terrorism and justified military action? Is there a moral duty to avoid bringing certain people into existence, for example, severely disabled persons, or persons who will live much shorter lives than normal?
On completion of this unit successful students will be able to:
- Understand the theoretical problems posed by the ethics of killing saving
- Critically evaluate the major arguments and positions on the topic
- Understand how the ethics of killing and saving poses special problems for deontological theories
- Develop their own position on the ethics of killing
Teaching and learning methods
Teaching will take place in weekly two-hour seminars. Students will be assigned reading to do each week, and the seminar will be led by different students each week, each of whom will have prepared a short presentation on the weekly topic.
Written assignment (inc essay) 100%
Critical summary 30% 750 words
Essay 70% 2250 words
- Glover, Jonathan. Causing Death and Saving Lives. Penguin Books, 1977.
- Kamm, F.M. ‘Nonconsequentialism’, in Hugh LaFollette, ed., The Blackwell Guide to Ethical Theory, pp. 205-26.
- Thompson, Judith Jarvis. Rights, Restitution, and Risk. Harvard University Press, 1986.
- Scheffler, Samuel, Consequentialism and its Critics. Oxford University Press, 1988.
|Scheduled activity hours|
|Independent study hours|
|Stephen De Wijze||Unit coordinator|
|Liam Shields||Unit coordinator|