BAEcon Economics and Philosophy / Course details

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Introduction to Ethics

Course unit fact file
Unit code PHIL10021
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 1
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


This course unit will examine some hard moral questions: Is it ever right to abort a foetus? Are we ever morally responsible for anything we do? Is it ever right to torture the innocent? Is morality relative to culture? By examining moral conundrums raised in applied ethics, normative ethics and metaethics, this course unit will provide an introduction to some central themes in moral philosophy.


The course aims to:

- introduce philosophical thinking about moral phenomena;
- present and clarify the basic terminology employed in exploring questions of morality;
- discuss some of the difficult issues raised in applied ethics.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this course unit, students will be able to demonstrate:

- an ability to identify some major standpoints in ethical theory;
- an ability to articulate cogent arguments on applied moral issues;
- an ability to write concisely, relevantly and analytically about the moral issues discussed in the course, both in an essay and under exam conditions.

Teaching and learning methods

There will be a mixture of lectures and tutorials.

Please note the information in scheduled activity hours are only a guidance and may change.

Employability skills

Analytical skills
Group/team working
Oral communication
Problem solving
Written communication

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Other 50%
Written assignment (inc essay) 50%

Students will complete two written assignments of 1500 words both worth 50%

Feedback methods

The School of Social Sciences (SoSS) is committed to providing timely and appropriate feedback to students on their academic progress and achievement, thereby enabling students to reflect on their progress and plan their academic and skills development effectively. Students are reminded that feedback is necessarily responsive: only when a student has done a certain amount of work and approaches us with it at the appropriate fora is it possible for us to feed back on the student's work. The main forms of feedback on this course are written feedback responses to assessed essays and exam answers.

We also draw your attention to the variety of generic forms of feedback available to you on this as on all SoSS courses. These include: meeting the lecturer/tutor during their office hours; e-mailing questions to the lecturer/tutor; asking questions from the lecturer (before and after lecture); presenting a question on the discussion board on Blackboard; and obtaining feedback from your peers during tutorials.

Recommended reading

Oderberg, D. Applied Ethics, (Blackwell, 2000) chapters 1-2.
Gover, J. Utilitarianism and its Critics (Macmillian, New York, 1990).
LaFollette, H. (ed.) The Blackwell Guide to Ethical Theory, (Blackwell 2000), chapter 1- 2 & 9-12

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 20
Tutorials 10
Independent study hours
Independent study 170

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Stephen Ingram Unit coordinator

Return to course details