• Offered by School of Philosophy
  • ANU College ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
  • Course subject Philosophy
  • Areas of interest Philosophy, Political Sciences
  • Academic career UGRD
  • Mode of delivery In Person

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.  

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. describe accurately the main meta-ethical theories covered by the course;
  2. state the most important arguments for and against those theories;
  3. evaluate the plausibility of those arguments, offering clearly articulated reasons for their evaluation; and
  4. develop detailed and well-structured arguments for conclusions concerning two of the topics covered by the course.

Indicative Assessment

  1. Essay (40) [LO 1,2,3,4]
  2. Essay (40) [LO 1,2,3,4]
  3. Tutorial Assignments (10) [LO 1,2,3]
  4. 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

Inherent Requirements

Not applicable

Prescribed Texts

Prescribed texts are not required. A range of readings will be specified for the classes, and provided at the start of the semester.

Preliminary Reading

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)

Assumed Knowledge

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

If you are a domestic graduate coursework student with a Domestic Tuition Fee (DTF) place or international student you will be required to pay course tuition fees (see below). Course tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

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There are no current offerings for this course.

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