• Class Number 4346
  • Term Code 3230
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Prof Garrett Cullity
    • Prof Garrett Cullity
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 21/02/2022
  • Class End Date 27/05/2022
  • Census Date 31/03/2022
  • Last Date to Enrol 28/02/2022
    • Chris Lernpass
SELT Survey Results

This course offers an advanced approach to ethics or social and political philosophy, suitable for students who have a background in this area and who may be interested in continuing into 4th year Honours. What is taught will change from year to year.


Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

  1. demonstrate familiarity with the philosophical issues relating to ethics and justice as covered in the course;
  2. argue for a philosophical position related to the material covered in the course;
  3. display skill in writing research papers in philosophy; and
  4. discuss ideas verbally and to engage in interactive dialogue.

Research-Led Teaching


When we ask how we should live, what we should do, and which ways of treating each other are good or bad, we are asking the questions of normative ethics. Normative ethical theory is the part of philosophy that aspires to give a general and systematic set of answers to those questions. This course offers an advanced undergraduate overview of contemporary normative ethical theory. It will explain the differences between the main types of normative ethical theory, the underlying issues that divide them, the objections that they face, and the elaborations that theories of each type can make in trying to deal with those objections. An emphasis in the course will be on the question: What are the most basic values or reasons from which the content of ethics derives? We will look at the ways in which different theories have tried to answer this question, and we will ask what methods of reasoning can be used to answer it. The course is structured in three parts. Part I (Weeks 1-5) provides an overview of four of the most prominent types of normative ethical theory, examining the issues they face and the different forms in which they can be developed further. Part II (Weeks 6-8) looks at three general topics that any comprehensive normative ethical theory must address: it must tell us how to think about others' welfare, how to think about their rights, and what are the general principles (if any) that determine what is good or bad. Part III (Weeks 9-12) then examines three sets of questions that arise when we stand back and critically examine the ground covered in Parts I and II. Is there a way of combining the insights of the rival views surveyed earlier into one overall theory that supersedes them? What methods of deciding between rival theories are legitimate, and what role can intuitions properly play in this? And finally, some philosophers think that the idea of trying to produce a systematic normative ethical theory is a mistake: what are their objections?

Required Resources

All readings for the course will be supplied on the Wattle site.

A list of recommended resources will be supplied on the Wattle site.

Staff Feedback

Students will be given feedback in the following forms in this course:

  • written comments
  • verbal comments
  • feedback to whole class, groups, individuals, focus group etc

Student Feedback

ANU is committed to the demonstration of educational excellence and regularly seeks feedback from students. Students are encouraged to offer feedback directly to their Course Convener or through their College and Course representatives (if applicable). The feedback given in these surveys is anonymous and provides the Colleges, University Education Committee and Academic Board with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement. The Surveys and Evaluation website provides more information on student surveys at ANU and reports on the feedback provided on ANU courses.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Introduction: Normative Ethical Theory All lecture classes will be held in person. They will also be recorded and uploaded to Wattle.
2 Consequentialism
3 Kantian Ethics
4 Scanlon's Contractualism Initial Writing Exercise due
5 Virtue Ethics
6 Theories of Welfare Initial Writing Exercise feedback
7 Brentano-style Theories of Value Essay 1 due
8 Rights
9 Parfit's "Triple Theory" Essay 1 feedback
10 Ross-style Pluralism
11 Intuitions and Normative Ethical Theory
12 Particularism and Anti-Theory Essay 2 due in the Examination Period

Tutorial Registration

Tutorials will be held in person. Tutorial registration will be available via the link in Wattle. There will be an option for online tutorial participation for those unable to attend in person.

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Initial Writing Exercise 10 % 18/03/2022 01/04/2022 1, 3
First Major Essay 35 % 22/04/2022 06/05/2022 1, 2, 3
Second Major Essay 35 % 06/06/2022 30/06/2022 1, 2, 3
Preparation and Participation 20 % * * 1, 4

* If the Due Date and Return of Assessment date are blank, see the Assessment Tab for specific Assessment Task details


ANU has educational policies, procedures and guidelines, which are designed to ensure that staff and students are aware of the University’s academic standards, and implement them. Students are expected to have read the Academic Misconduct Rule before the commencement of their course. Other key policies and guidelines include:

Assessment Requirements

The ANU is using Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the Academic Integrity . In rare cases where online submission using Turnitin software is not technically possible; or where not using Turnitin software has been justified by the Course Convener and approved by the Associate Dean (Education) on the basis of the teaching model being employed; students shall submit assessment online via ‘Wattle’ outside of Turnitin, or failing that in hard copy, or through a combination of submission methods as approved by the Associate Dean (Education). The submission method is detailed below.

Moderation of Assessment

Marks that are allocated during Semester are to be considered provisional until formalised by the College examiners meeting at the end of each Semester. If appropriate, some moderation of marks might be applied prior to final results being released.


See Assessment Task 4 above.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 10 %
Due Date: 18/03/2022
Return of Assessment: 01/04/2022
Learning Outcomes: 1, 3

Initial Writing Exercise

1000 word critical analysis exercise. This short writing exercise will analyse and critically assess one article: the target article will be provided through Wattle. This provides an opportunity to get feedback on philosophical essay writing skills prior to the two major essays. Feedback will be provided by the end of Week 6. Marking criteria: See marking criteria document on Wattle.

Assessment Task 2

Value: 35 %
Due Date: 22/04/2022
Return of Assessment: 06/05/2022
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 3

First Major Essay

2000 word essay on material from weeks 1-6 of the course. Marking criteria: See marking criteria document on Wattle.

Assessment Task 3

Value: 35 %
Due Date: 06/06/2022
Return of Assessment: 30/06/2022
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 3

Second Major Essay

2000 word essay on material from weeks 7-12 of the course. Marking criteria: See marking criteria document on Wattle.

Assessment Task 4

Value: 20 %
Learning Outcomes: 1, 4

Preparation and Participation

Each week, one main item of preparatory reading will be set for discussion at the tutorial. This will be provided on Wattle, together with a set of questions for consideration and discussion at the tutorial.

20% of the mark for the course will be determined by Preparation and Participation, assessed as follows:

Preparation. One page of reading notes on the main item of set reading for each week should be submitted through Wattle by midnight on Friday of the relevant tutorial week. The course Reading Guide contains advice about note-taking, but the format for these notes is open. The notes will not be graded and returned: instead, the course tutor will assess whether they demonstrate that the material set for the class has been attentively read.

Participation. Attendance at and constructive participation in the week's tutorial is also required. Listening attentively to the discussion and being willing to contribute is sufficient for constructive participation.

In any given week, both the Preparation and the Participation component must be satisfied in order to receive a mark. For each week in which both the Preparation and the Participation requirement are satisfied, 2% is awarded towards the overall mark for the course.

The Preparation and Participation mark will be capped at 20%.

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of the ANU culture as a community of scholars. At its heart, academic integrity is about behaving ethically, committing to honest and responsible scholarly practice and upholding these values with respect and fairness.

The ANU commits to assisting all members of our community to understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. The ANU expects staff and students to be familiar with the academic integrity principle and Academic Misconduct Rule, uphold high standards of academic integrity and act ethically and honestly, to ensure the quality and value of the qualification that you will graduate with.

The Academic Misconduct Rule is in place to promote academic integrity and manage academic misconduct. Very minor breaches of the academic integrity principle may result in a reduction of marks of up to 10% of the total marks available for the assessment. The ANU offers a number of online and in person services to assist students with their assignments, examinations, and other learning activities. Visit the Academic Skills website for more information about academic integrity, your responsibilities and for assistance with your assignments, writing skills and study.

Online Submission

You will be required to electronically sign a declaration as part of the submission of your assignment. Please keep a copy of the assignment for your records. Unless an exemption has been approved by the Associate Dean (Education) submission must be through Turnitin.

Hardcopy Submission

For some forms of assessment (hand written assignments, art works, laboratory notes, etc.) hard copy submission is appropriate when approved by the Associate Dean (Education). Hard copy submissions must utilise the Assignment Cover Sheet. Please keep a copy of tasks completed for your records.

Late Submission

Individual assessment tasks may or may not allow for late submission. Policy regarding late submission is detailed below:

  • Late submission permitted. Late submission of assessment tasks without an extension are penalised at the rate of 5% of the possible marks available per working day or part thereof. Late submission of assessment tasks is not accepted after 10 working days after the due date, or on or after the date specified in the course outline for the return of the assessment item. Late submission is not accepted for take-home examinations.

Referencing Requirements

Accepted academic practice for referencing sources that you use in presentations can be found via the links on the Wattle site, under the file named “ANU and College Policies, Program Information, Student Support Services and Assessment”. Alternatively, you can seek help through the Students Learning Development website.

Extensions and Penalties

Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure. Extensions may be granted for assessment pieces that are not examinations or take-home examinations. If you need an extension, you must request an extension in writing on or before the due date. If you have documented and appropriate medical evidence that demonstrates you were not able to request an extension on or before the due date, you may be able to request it after the due date.

Privacy Notice

The ANU has made a number of third party, online, databases available for students to use. Use of each online database is conditional on student end users first agreeing to the database licensor’s terms of service and/or privacy policy. Students should read these carefully. In some cases student end users will be required to register an account with the database licensor and submit personal information, including their: first name; last name; ANU email address; and other information.
In cases where student end users are asked to submit ‘content’ to a database, such as an assignment or short answers, the database licensor may only use the student’s ‘content’ in accordance with the terms of service – including any (copyright) licence the student grants to the database licensor. Any personal information or content a student submits may be stored by the licensor, potentially offshore, and will be used to process the database service in accordance with the licensors terms of service and/or privacy policy.
If any student chooses not to agree to the database licensor’s terms of service or privacy policy, the student will not be able to access and use the database. In these circumstances students should contact their lecturer to enquire about alternative arrangements that are available.

Distribution of grades policy

Academic Quality Assurance Committee monitors the performance of students, including attrition, further study and employment rates and grade distribution, and College reports on quality assurance processes for assessment activities, including alignment with national and international disciplinary and interdisciplinary standards, as well as qualification type learning outcomes.

Since first semester 1994, ANU uses a grading scale for all courses. This grading scale is used by all academic areas of the University.

Support for students

The University offers students support through several different services. You may contact the services listed below directly or seek advice from your Course Convener, Student Administrators, or your College and Course representatives (if applicable).

Prof Garrett Cullity

Research Interests

Moral and Political Philosophy

Prof Garrett Cullity

By Appointment
By Appointment
Prof Garrett Cullity

Research Interests

Prof Garrett Cullity

By Appointment
By Appointment
Chris Lernpass

Research Interests

Chris Lernpass

Responsible Officer: Registrar, Student Administration / Page Contact: Website Administrator / Frequently Asked Questions