Course ObjectiveThe student obtains:
• Basic knowledge of central positions in meta-ethics;
• An understanding of the social and political relevance of meta-ethical
• Knowledge of central approaches in normative ethics: consequentialism,
(Hobbesian and Kantian) contract theory, Kantian ethics, virtue ethics,
ethics of care;
• The ability to apply approaches in normative ethics to contemporary
social and political issues.
• An understanding of central issues in applied ethics.
Course ContentThis course offers an introduction to and overview of the most important
theories and approaches in contemporary ethics. The emphasis lies on a
discussion of the main approaches in normative ethics: consequentialism
(including utilitarianism), contract theory, deontology, and virtue
ethics and the ethics of care. The various positions are applied to and
discussed in a variety of political and economic issues, including, but
not limited to, economic justice, ethics of war and peace, inequality,
animal rights, and freedom of speech. We also present and discuss key
themes from meta-ethics and focus in particular on their social and
Teaching MethodsLectures and seminars (active learning groups). Please note that
participation in the seminars is mandatory.
Method of AssessmentTwo written exams (mid term 30%, final exam 70%) and seminar assignments
LiteratureWolff, Jonathan (2018), An Introduction to Moral Philosophy, New York:
W.W. Norton & Co
Wolff, Jonathan (ed.) (2018), Readings in Moral Philosophy, New York:
W.W. Norton & Co
Target AudienceFirst year PPE students
Custom Course RegistrationThere is a slightly different enrollment procedure for this module. The standard procedure of the Faculty of Humanities has students sign up for (i) the module, (ii) the form of tuition (lecture and/or preferred seminar group), and (iii) the exam. However, for this module the instructor will assign the students to the seminar groups. Therefore, students should sign up for (i) the module, (ii) lecture and (iii) the exam, but not for the seminar groups.
|Language of Tuition||English|
|Faculty||Faculty of Humanities|
|Course Coordinator||dr. P. Robichaud|
|Examiner||dr. P. Robichaud|
prof. dr. M.V.B.P.M. van Hees
You need to register for this course yourself
Last-minute registration is available for this course.
|Teaching Methods||Lecture, Seminar*|
*You cannot select a group yourself for this teaching method, you will be placed in a group.
This course is also available as: