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PHIL3035 Action, Reason and Ethics

Module Overview

The aims of this module are to explore some central issues about the relationship between action, reason, and ethics. Questions we shall consider may include: What is an action? What is it to act intentionally? What are reasons for action? Do all, some, or none of our reasons depend on our desires? Do moral considerations necessarily provide reasons for action, or is there sometimes most reason to be immoral? What is it to act for the right reasons? What makes our actions worthy of praise or blame? Are there general principles which determine what we have reason to do?

Aims and Objectives

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 the issues raised by some of the above questions
  • demonstrate a solid grasp of the concepts and arguments that they involve
  • Relate the issues you explore in this module to those in other modules (e.g. Moral Philosophy, Ethics of Belief, Happiness and Wellbeing)
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research 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 for this module may vary from year to year. It may include topics such as:  The nature of intentional action  Reasons for action  The relationship between morality and rationality  The relationship between reasons and rationality  Praiseworthiness and blameworthiness  The role of principles in ethics

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  Contributing to class discussion  Doing independent research for and writing assessed essays and exams

TypeHours
Lecture33
Preparation for scheduled sessions24
Wider reading or practice23
Completion of assessment task23
Revision23
Follow-up work24
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Elijah Millgram (2002). Varieties of Practical Reasoning. 

Michael Smith (1994). The Moral Problem. 

Nomy Arpaly (2002). Unprincipled Virtue. 

Julia Markovits (2014). Moral Reason. 

Eric Wiland (2012). Reasons, Continuum. 

Assessment

Formative

Essay

Summative

MethodPercentage contribution
Assignment 10%
Essay  (1500 words) 45%
Examination  (90 minutes) 45%

Referral

MethodPercentage contribution
Examination  (120 minutes) 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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