Introduction to moral philosophy

Course Dates: 17/09/24 - 03/12/24
Time: 17:30 - 19:30
Location: Keeley Street
What’s the right thing to do? But what does ‘right’ actually mean? And what reason do I have to do it? Join us as we grapple with these fundamental questions. NB: No class on Tues 29th October.
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Introduction to moral philosophy
  • Course Code: HP012
  • Dates: 17/09/24 - 03/12/24
  • Time: 17:30 - 19:30
  • Taught: Tue, Evening
  • Duration: 11 sessions (over 12 weeks)
  • Location: Keeley Street
  • Tutor: Ariel Kernberg

Course Code: HP012

Tue, eve, 17 Sep - 03 Dec '24

Duration: 11 sessions (over 12 weeks)

Please note: We offer a wide variety of financial support to make courses affordable. Just visit our online Help Centre for more information on a range of topics including fees, online learning and FAQs.

What is the course about?

In grappling with moral dilemmas, we can benefit from stepping back and reflecting on more general questions such as: What makes something (an action, a policy, a pattern of distribution of goods, a character trait etc.) good or bad, or right or wrong? What determines the extent to which I have obligations to others? What reason do I have to do the right thing? In fact, do I have a reason not to do the wrong thing when I could get away with it? Are there moral facts? Are moral values universal? Could history, sociology, psychology, or evolutionary theory explain them? In this course we will look at these and related questions from different theoretical perspectives, drawing on the work of various philosophers -notably Plato, Aristotle, Hume, Kant, Bentham, Mill, Nozick, and Rawls- and examine their importance for the moral dilemmas we face individually or collectively. A second component of the course is the study of how to analyse, evaluate and construct arguments.
There will be no class on Tuesday 27th October.

What will we cover?

- Moral relativism
- Plato and why we should be good
- Aristotle and virtue
- Moral Egoism
- Utilitarianism
- Kantian ethics
- "Collateral damage"
- Distributive justice
- Hume and moral sentiment.

What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...

- Identify ideas about the source of moral value
- Understand key elements of major moral theories and their relevance to our choices and dilemmas
- Appreciate the broader implications of local moral intuitions
- Analyse, evaluate, and construct a moral argument.

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

This course is suitable for those who have followed an introductory course, but those new to philosophy are equally welcome. Curiosity, an open and critical mind, and a commitment to do the preparatory work will enhance your learning experience. A willingness to listen to and think about views with which you do not always agree is more important than specific levels of skills.

How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?

The class will consist of a combination of lecture and structured conversation. Reading material will be assigned for each class.
Please note: there will be no class on Tuesday 29th October.

Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?

There are no additional costs. Please bring a pen, paper, and curiosity.

When I've finished, what course can I do next?

You might be interested in HP058 - An introduction to philosophy of mind, starting in January 2025.
Please check our website - - for details of the full range of philosophy courses on offer.

We’re sorry. We don’t have a bio ready for the tutor of this class at the moment, but we’re working on it! Watch this space.