Ethics (PPE)


Course Objective

The 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 Content

This 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
political relevance.

Teaching Methods

Lectures and seminars (active learning groups). Please note that
participation in the seminars is mandatory.

Method of Assessment

Two written exams (mid term 30%, final exam 70%) and seminar assignments


Wolff, 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 Audience

First year PPE students

Custom Course Registration

There 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.

General Information

Course Code W_JSM_101
Credits 6 EC
Period P1
Course Level 100
Language of Tuition English
Faculty Faculty of Humanities
Course Coordinator dr. P. Robichaud
Examiner dr. P. Robichaud
Teaching Staff prof. dr. M.V.B.P.M. van Hees

Practical Information

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.

Target audiences

This course is also available as: