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Moral Philosophy

When you'll study it
Semester 2
CATS points
15
ECTS points
7.5
Level
Level 5
Module lead
Kurt Sylvan
Academic year
2021-22

Module overview

Moral philosophy is concerned with questions of right and wrong, good and bad, virtue and vice. Such questions are familiar: can it be right to lie to someone to avoid hurting their feelings? Is it okay to favour my friends and family, or should I be impartial in all my decisions? Should I give a portion of my income to charity? Is happiness all that ultimately matters, or might achievements, friendship, or understanding matter for their own sake too? What does it mean to have good character? This module focuses on normative ethics, which explores the prospects for general principles about what is right and wrong, good and bad, virtuous and vicious. For instance, might the fundamental moral principle be that we should always bring about the best outcome? Or that we should always treat people in ways that they could not reasonably reject? Or that we should always act as a virtuous person would? Is it always worse to bring about harm than to allow harm? Do the intentions with which we act bear on whether we did the right thing? Or might there be no general principles about morality?

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