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Monash University Handbook 2010 Undergraduate - Unit

6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

FacultyFaculty of Arts
OfferedSouth Africa Second semester 2010 (Day)
Coordinator(s)Jo Asscher, Ros Furney


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.

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study



Students may enrol in this subject only if they have completed philosophy studies to an advanced secondary level, and obtained sufficiently high grades, to the satisfaction of the Undergraduate Coordinator.



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