Skip to content | Change text size
Handbooks Courses Units Related information

PHL2150 - Ethics

6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate Faculty of Arts

Leader(s): Rosalyn Furney


Caulfield First semester 2009 (Day)
Clayton First semester 2009 (Day)
Clayton First semester 2009 (Off-campus)
Clayton Second semester 2009 (Off-campus)
Clayton Summer semester A 2009 (Off-campus)
Gippsland First semester 2009 (Day)


Unit deals with some central debates in normative theory and their underpinning in the meta-ethical theories of Hume and Kant. A major focus of discussion is the opposition between consequentialist theories, such as utilitarianism, which judge rightness and wrongness solely in terms of consequences, and Kantian theory which judges rightness and wrongness according to whether the act is in accordance with rational will. How do these theories account for the agent-centred reasons which arise from relations of love and friendship and which seem to have the potential to conflict with impartial moral requirements? Is there a limit to our obligation to minimise suffering and maximise happiness?


  1. Have a detailed understanding of central ethical theories such as consequentialism and Kantianism.
  2. Have developed skills in written communication, argument analysis, textual interpretation, and argument construction.
  3. Have some acquaintance with the main theories and arguments in meta-ethics


Written work: 60% (2500 words)
Exam: 40%

Contact hours

On-campus: 2 hours (one 1-hour lecture and one 1-hour tutorial) per week. OCL: workshops optional.


6 points of first-year except with permission.

Additional information on this unit is available from the faculty at:

[an error occurred while processing this directive]