PHIL4101 Advanced Moral Philosophy

6 points
Not available in 2020UWA (Perth)Face to face
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Honours option in Philosophy [Bachelor of Arts (Honours)]
This unit focuses on one or more areas in ethical theory. Topics may include, but are not limited to, metaethics, normative ethics, applied ethics, value theory, moral epistemology. The unit may provide a survey or academic writing on a particular topic, or it may involve a close reading of a new or influential text in ethical theory.
Students are able to (1) strengthen generic intellectual skills such as analysing and critically assessing arguments, constructing and expressing arguments of one's own, and constructing and expressing explanations of phenomena; (2) have a critical understanding of a range of philosophical problems that arise with topics in advanced ethical theory—for instance, epistemological status of moral facts, the self-effacing character of consequentialist theories, and the problem of reconciling the fact-stating character of moral sentences, with their action-guiding function; (3) have an understanding of some of the most influential contemporary ethical theories such as moral realism, constructivism, expressivism, consequentialism, deontology, and virtue ethics; and (4) critically address questions that arise in ethical theory, such as the following: Does anything matter to the rightness of an action beyond its consequences? What role does human nature play in grounding a standard of human wellbeing, and ethical obligation? Can obligations to our fellow human beings be understood as grounded in actual or hypothetical agreements between rational appraisers? How is ethical knowledge possible? Is there room for objective ethical facts in a scientific picture of the world?.
Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) an essay; (2) a one-hour examination; and (3) participation. Further information is available in the unit outline.

To pass this unit, a student must: (a) achieve an overall mark of 50 per cent or higher for the unit; and (b) achieve the requisite requirements(s) or a mark of 50 per cent or greater, whichever is higher and specified in the unit outline, for the participation component.

Supplementary assessment is not available in this unit.
Unit Coordinator(s)
Dr Lachlan Umbers
Unit rules
sufficient units in the relevant major at the specified standard for entry to the honours specialisation
Contact hours
seminars: 1 x 2 hours per week for up to 12 weeks
  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Books and other material wherever listed may be subject to change. Book lists relating to 'Preliminary reading', 'Recommended reading' and 'Textbooks' are, in most cases, available via the Booktopia Textbook Finder, which has the functionality to search by course code, course, ISBN and title, and may also be posted or available at the appropriate school's administrative offices. Where texts are listed in the unit description above, an asterisk (*) indicates that the book is available in paperback.