The University of Southampton
Courses

PHIL2039 Ethics of Global Poverty

Module Overview

Ethics of Global Poverty examines the duties of affluent people towards those living in poverty around the world. Among the questions we will examine are: What obligations do we have to help strangers in need? What bases might such obligations have? Are some charitable causes better than others? Do we have an obligation to donate to the most effective charities, or do we have discretion in our charitable giving? How do we determine the limits of obligations of beneficence? How demanding can such obligations be? Do the major moral theories converge on answers to these questions?

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of some of the basic concepts used in philosophical debates concerning global poverty.

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • demonstrate knowledge and understanding of some of the basic concepts used in philosophical debates concerning global poverty.
  • demonstrate knowledge and understanding of problems, positions and arguments that play a key role in ethical debates about global poverty.
  • apply this understanding in addressing philosophical questions concerning global poverty.
  • relate the issues explored in this module to those in other modules (e.g. Ethics, Applied Ethics).
Cognitive Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • interpret, synthesise and criticise complex texts and positions.
  • present ideas, both orally and in writing, clearly and carefully.
  • debate and criticise ideas and arguments in an even-handed fashion.
  • articulate and defend your own views regarding the issues the module concerns.
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • undertake independent work, including identifying and using appropriate resources.
  • work effectively to deadlines.
  • take notes from talks and written materials.
  • contribute to discussion in a critical but dispassionate way.
  • express views clearly and concisely.

Syllabus

The syllabus may vary from year to year. Topics might include: • World poverty and philosophical ethics • Positive duties, negative duties, and new harms • Demandingness and the limits of beneficience • Effective altruism • Moral theories and duties to help the poor

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching methods include • Lectures • In-class discussion • One-on-one consultation with module co-ordinator Learning activities include • Attending classes • Contribution to class discussion • Doing independent research for and writing assessed work

TypeHours
Wider reading or practice24
Completion of assessment task22
Lecture33
Preparation for scheduled sessions24
Revision23
Follow-up work24
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Judith Lichtenberg (2014). Distant Strangers: Ethics, Psychology and Global Poverty. 

William MacAskill (2015). Doing Good Better: How Effective Altruism Can Help You Make a Difference. 

Richard W. Miller (2004). Beneficence, Duty and Distance’. Philosophy and Public Affairs. ,32 (4) , pp. 357-383.

Peter Singer (1972). Famine, Affluence and Morality’. Philosophy and Public Affairs. ,1 (3) , pp. 229-243.

Thomas Pogge (2002). World Poverty and Human Rights. 

Assessment

Formative

Essay proposal

Summative

MethodPercentage contribution
Essay  (1500 words) 50%
Exam  (90 minutes) 50%

Referral

MethodPercentage contribution
Exam  (2 hours) 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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