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Postgraduate Module Descriptor

PHLM015: Contemporary Ethics

This module descriptor refers to the 2022/3 academic year.

Module Aims

This module aims to give you a broad understanding of present-day discussions in philosophical ethics.

The module covers concepts such as responsibility, power and self-understanding as a moral agent. The aim is arrive at an understanding of the challenges of and to ethics in our contemporary world by discussing specific examples such as humanitarian medical aid, transnational adoption and human genome editing. In these cases the interlinkages between knowledge, technologies, power relations, and human self-understanding are configures in complex ways. We explore them to develop a sharper understanding of ethics in the Anthropocene.

The aims of this module are twofold, to equip you with the philosophical knowledge to participate in ongoing debates about facts and values, and to advance your knowledge about current thought in ethics and the normative and epistemic assumptions they entail.

You will gain a good understanding of topical questions in philosophical ethics in theory and practice. We will discuss topical subjects in small groups and you will practice presenting arguments.

The writing of short review essays will advance your ability to summarize arguments succinctly and you will be guided to write one brief essay on a theme of your choice from the course.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

This module's assessment will evaluate your achievement of the ILOs listed here - you will see reference to these ILO numbers in the details of the assessment for this module.

On successfully completing the programme you will be able to:
Module-Specific Skills1. Demonstrate solid knowledge and understanding of current theories and problems in philosophical ethics;
2. Demonstrate understanding of the methodological and conceptual problems of applied ethics;
3. Present your own analyses of the implications of theories on pressing ethical debates of our time.
Discipline-Specific Skills4. Demonstrate a high level of knowledge about ethical theory and its application;
5. Demonstrate sound knowledge of different types of philosophical ethics.
Personal and Key Skills6. Demonstrate capacity to conduct research independently;
7. Demonstrate aptitude for succinct oral presentations to groups;
8. Write reflective academic review and research essays.