This course will deal with a range of core issues in contemporary meta-ethics. Topics covered will include whether there are any objective ethical facts, and if so what kind of facts they could be; what kind of state of mind a moral opinion is; how such opinions can come to be justified; and whether moral language should be understood as descriptive or expressive. We will consider whether ordinary moral judgements might be radically mistaken; what kind of relativity might attach to morality; what is at stake in ethical disagreements; and what methods are appropriate for moral inquiry.
Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:
- describe accurately the main meta-ethical theories covered by the course;
- state the most important arguments for and against those theories;
- evaluate the plausibility of those arguments, offering clearly articulated reasons for their evaluation; and
- develop detailed and well-structured arguments for conclusions concerning two of the topics covered by the course.
- Essay (40) [LO 1,2,3,4]
- Essay (40) [LO 1,2,3,4]
- Tutorial Assignments (10) [LO 1,2,3]
- Participation (10) [LO 1,2,3]
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130 hours of total student learning time made up from:
a) 36 hours of contact: 24 hours of lectures and 12 hours of tutorials
b) 94 hours of independent student research, reading and writing
Prescribed texts are not required. A range of readings will be specified for the classes, and provided at the start of the semester.
David Copp (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Ethical Theory (Oxford: Blackwell, 2006)
Mark van Roojen, Metaethics: A Contemporary Introduction (New York: Routledge, 2015)
Andrew Fisher and Simon Kirchin (eds), Arguing About Metaethics (London: Routledge: 2006)
Stephen L. Darwall, Philosophical Ethics (Boulder: Westview Press, 1998)
1 first year course in philosophy
Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.
Commonwealth Support (CSP) Students
If you have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). More information about your student contribution amount for each course at Fees.
- Student Contribution Band:
- Unit value:
- 6 units
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