PHIL 3019 - How Should I Live? Contemporary Ethical Theories

North Terrace Campus - Semester 2 - 2016

How should we live our lives, morally speaking? This is a big question, and philosophers have tackled it by breaking it down into several distinct but related questions, each of which is important and fascinating in its own right. In this course we follow their lead. We start with questions about the nature of the good life, and about the criterion for morally right action. What aspects of a life make it go better or worse for the person who is living it? What are the general principles (if any) that tell us which actions are right and which are wrong, and which explain why they are right or wrong? In the second part of the course we then take a step back and look at some more general questions about the nature and status of morality (questions in so-called "metaethics"). How does morality fit into the natural world described by science? Is moral thought and talk a matter of attempting to describe some external morality reality, or does it have some other function? Can there be evidence for or against a moral claim? What would it look like? Our main focus will be on contemporary philosophical work, though there will also be opportunities to look at some of the historical roots of contemporary views.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code PHIL 3019
    Course How Should I Live? Contemporary Ethical Theories
    Coordinating Unit Philosophy
    Term Semester 2
    Level Undergraduate
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact At least 3 hours per week
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange
    Prerequisites 12 units of ARTS courses, including 3 units of Philosophy
    Incompatible PHIL 2036
    Course Description How should we live our lives, morally speaking? This is a big question, and philosophers have tackled it by breaking it down into several distinct but related questions, each of which is important and fascinating in its own right. In this course we follow their lead. We start with questions about the nature of the good life, and about the criterion for morally right action. What aspects of a life make it go better or worse for the person who is living it? What are the general principles (if any) that tell us which actions are right and which are wrong, and which explain why they are right or wrong? In the second part of the course we then take a step back and look at some more general questions about the nature and status of morality (questions in so-called "metaethics"). How does morality fit into the natural world described by science? Is moral thought and talk a matter of attempting to describe some external morality reality, or does it have some other function? Can there be evidence for or against a moral claim? What would it look like? Our main focus will be on contemporary philosophical work, though there will also be opportunities to look at some of the historical roots of contemporary views.
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Professor Garrett Cullity

    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    On successful completion of this course students will be able to:
    1. Demonstrate an advanced understanding of contemporary philosophical debates on a range of central issues in normative ethics and metaethics.
    2. Analyze and engage critically with contemporary philosophical work on these issues.
    3. Express, develop and defend their own views on these issues, through written work and through constructive discussion with others.
    4. Demonstrate an understanding of the ways in which moral philosophy can be relevant to real-world moral problems.
    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)
    Deep discipline knowledge
    • informed and infused by cutting edge research, scaffolded throughout their program of studies
    • acquired from personal interaction with research active educators, from year 1
    • accredited or validated against national or international standards (for relevant programs)
    1,2,3
    Critical thinking and problem solving
    • steeped in research methods and rigor
    • based on empirical evidence and the scientific approach to knowledge development
    • demonstrated through appropriate and relevant assessment
    2,3
    Teamwork and communication skills
    • developed from, with, and via the SGDE
    • honed through assessment and practice throughout the program of studies
    • encouraged and valued in all aspects of learning
    2,3,4
    Career and leadership readiness
    • technology savvy
    • professional and, where relevant, fully accredited
    • forward thinking and well informed
    • tested and validated by work based experiences
    3,4
    Intercultural and ethical competency
    • adept at operating in other cultures
    • comfortable with different nationalities and social contexts
    • Able to determine and contribute to desirable social outcomes
    • demonstrated by study abroad or with an understanding of indigenous knowledges
    2,3,4
    Self-awareness and emotional intelligence
    • a capacity for self-reflection and a willingness to engage in self-appraisal
    • open to objective and constructive feedback from supervisors and peers
    • able to negotiate difficult social situations, defuse conflict and engage positively in purposeful debate
    2,3
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    There is no set text for this course. All of the required lecture and tutorial readings will be made available via the course website on MyUni.
    Recommended Resources
    Recommended supplementary readings will be advised via the course website on MyUni.
    Online Learning
    All essential course information (including lecture slides and recordings, tutorial questions, further readings, and assessment information) will be available online via MyUni.
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    This course will be taught by a combination of lectures (two per week) and tutorials (ten over the course of the semester). For full details see the Course Guide, which will be available on the course website on MyUni.
    Workload

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    In Philosophy study, there is an emphasis on careful reading and clear writing. A relatively small quantity of reading will be set each week (two chapter-length pieces of reading related to your classes, plus reading for assignments) -- but you will be asked to study this carefully.

    The information below is provided as a guide to the time commitment that will allow you to engage appropriately with the course requirements.

    Hours per week Hours per semester
    2 x 1-hour lecture 24 hours
    1 x 1-hour tutorial 12 hours
    3 hours lecture preparation and revision (reading, taking notes, reviewing lectures) 36 hours
    3 hours tutorial preparation (reading, taking notes, preparing tutorial questions) 36 hours
    4 hours assessment work (research, planning, and writing) 48 hours
    13 hours 156 hours

    Hours per week are approximate and averaged over the semester. The actual hours required will vary from week to week, and are likely to be higher in the weeks leading up to the submission of an assignment.
    Learning Activities Summary
    Further details will be supplied in the Course Guide, available at the commencement of the course through MyUni.
    Specific Course Requirements
    Details will be supplied in the Course Guide, available at the commencement of the course through MyUni.
    Small Group Discovery Experience
    This will take the form of a Tutorial Extension exercise, supervised by the Course Coordinator. At the conclusion of the second tutorial of the course, questions will be identified for further research into the tutorial topic. Findings will be discussed in small groups with the Course Coordinator in Week 7, and then shared in a plenary session.
  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    This course will be assessed by two essays, adding up to a combined maximum of 4500 words. There will be penalties for unsatisfactory tutorial attendance. For full details see the Course Guide, which will be available on the course website on MyUni.
    Assessment Related Requirements
    Details will be supplied in the Course Guide, available at the commencement of the course through MyUni.
    Assessment Detail
    Details will be supplied in the Course Guide, available at the commencement of the course through MyUni.
    Submission
    Details will be supplied in the Course Guide, available at the commencement of the course through MyUni.
    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy (http://www.adelaide.edu.au/policies/101/) course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

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  • Policies & Guidelines
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