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Module Specifications..

Current Academic Year 2023 - 2024

Please note that this information is subject to change.

Module Title Introduction to Ethics
Module Code TP510
School 59
Module Co-ordinatorSemester 1: Alan Kearns
Semester 2: Alan Kearns
Autumn: Alan Kearns
Module TeachersAlan Kearns
NFQ level 9 Credit Rating 10
Pre-requisite None
Co-requisite None
Compatibles None
Incompatibles None
Coursework Only

This module provides a comprehensive introduction to ethics to enable course participants to further explore key contemporary ethical issues from an informed philosophical perspective. The module will firstly examine the phenomenon of morality and the emergence of the philosophical discipline of ethics as a critical study of human morality. It will explore how ethical theories influence ethical decision-making and provide frameworks for ethical reasoning and analysis. The significance and relevance of ethics for professional life and society will also be examined. An array of contemporary ethical issues, problems and challenges will be explored and analysed to facilitate an active and creative interaction between theory and practice. Class participation and discussion will be facilitated and encouraged.

Learning Outcomes

1. Demonstrate an in-depth and systematic understanding of a broad range of ethical theories and traditions that are at the forefront of the field of general and applied ethics.
2. Display a critical awareness of contemporary public and professional ethical issues that is informed by a philosophical perspective.
3. Select from advance ethical decision-making models that incorporate both a theoretical and an applied approach to ethics.
4. Apply and appraise various philosophically-based frameworks for dealing with ethical problems, challenges and dilemmas.
5. Begin to self-evaluate and take responsibility for continuing academic and professional development within the field of ethics.
6. Apply skills in scrutinising and reflecting on specific ethical challenges arising from contemporary work practices and more general issues.

Workload Full-time hours per semester
Type Hours Description
Lecture24No Description
Independent Study113No Description
Assignment Completion113No Description
Total Workload: 250

All module information is indicative and subject to change. For further information,students are advised to refer to the University's Marks and Standards and Programme Specific Regulations at: http://www.dcu.ie/registry/examinations/index.shtml

Indicative Content and Learning Activities

Phenomenon of Morality

Defining Concepts: Ethics & Morality

Approaches to Philosophical Ethics: Normative, Applied, Descriptive and Metaethics

Moral Concepts, Reasoning & Argumentation

Ethical Theories: Consequentialism (Egoism & Utilitarianism, Deonotology (Kantian Ethics), Natural Law, Virtue Ethics

Metaethics (Intuitionism, Emotivism, Prescriptivism, Relativism)

Assessment Breakdown
Continuous Assessment100% Examination Weight0%
Course Work Breakdown
TypeDescription% of totalAssessment Date
EssayCourse participants will complete 2 short papers (one optional and one for grading). They will be adequately spaced over the semester. This task will enable course participants to examine a number of ethical theories as well as preparing them to critically examine and apply one major ethical theory to a case study, which is the main task of the below Major Paper. The first paper will not be graded but students will receive feedback (assessment for learning). The other paper will be graded (20% - assessment of learning).20%n/a
EssayCourse participants will be expected to complete a 5000 word paper demonstrating knowledge and application of an ethical theory to an issue. The paper will also enable course participants to develop and defend their own perspectives.80%Sem 1 End
Reassessment Requirement Type
Resit arrangements are explained by the following categories;
1 = A resit is available for all components of the module
2 = No resit is available for 100% continuous assessment module
3 = No resit is available for the continuous assessment component
This module is category 1
Indicative Reading List

  • Adkins, Brent: 2017, A Guide to Ethics and Moral Philosophy, Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh,
  • Anscombe, Elizabeth: 1957, Intention, Blackwell, Oxford,
  • Aristotle, Trans. Roger Crisp: 2000, Nicomachean Ethics, Cambridge University Press, New York,
  • Baron, Marcia W.: 1999, Kantian ethics almost without apology, Cornell University Press, London,
  • Bentham, Jeremy: 1970, An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation, Methuen, London,
  • Brooks, Thom: 2011, Ethics and Moral Philosophy, eBook, Leiden,
  • Cortina Orts, Adela: 2016, Public reason and applied ethics: the ways of practical reason in a pluralist society, Ashgate, Aldershot,
  • Crisp, Roger and Slote, Michael (eds.): 1997, Virtue Ethics, Oxford University Press, New York,
  • de Lazari-Radek, Katarzyna and Singer, Peter: 2014, The Point of View of the Universe: Sidgwick and Contemporary Ethics, Oxford University Press, Oxford,
  • Darwall, Stephen (ed.): 2003, Virtue Ethics, Blackwell, Oxford,
  • Deigh, John: 2010, An Introduction to Ethics, Cambridge University Press.,
  • Dreier, James Lawrence: 2006, Contemporary Debates in Moral Theory, Blackwell, Malden, MA,
  • Driver, Julia: 2001, Uneasy Virtue, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge,
  • Elliot, Deni: 2008, Ethical Challenges: Building an Ethics Toolkit, AuthorHouse, Bloomington,
  • Foot, Philippa: 1978, Virtues and Vices and Other Essays in Moral Philosophy, University of California Press, Berkeley,
  • Gensler, Harry J.: 2018, Ethics: A Contemporary Introduction, 3rd, Routledge, New York,
  • Gibson, Kevin: 2013, An Introduction to Ethics, Pearson,
  • Gilligan, Carol: 2003, In a Different Voice: Psychological Theory and Women's Development, Reprint, Thirty-Eighth Printing,
  • Glover, Jonathan et al.: 1990, Utilitarianism and its Critics, Macmillan Publishers, London,
  • Guyer, Paul: 1999, The Cambridge Companion to Kant, Reprint, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge,
  • Held, Virginia: 2006, The Ethics of Care: Personal, Political, and Global, Oxford University Press, Oxford,
  • Hursthouse, Rosalind: 1999, On Virtue Ethics, Oxford University Press, Oxford,
  • Irwin, Terence: 2011, The Development of Ethics, Oxford University Press, Oxford,
  • Jacobs, Jonathan: 2006, Dimensions of Moral Theory: An Introduction to Metaethics and Moral Psychology, 2, Blackwell, Oxford,
  • Kant, Immanuel; Gregor, Mary T. (ed.): 1996, The Metaphysics of Morals, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge,
  • Kant, Immanuel; Gregor, Mary T. (ed.): 2003, Critique of Practical Reason, Reprint, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge,
  • Korsgaard, Christine: 1996, Creating the Kingdom of Ends, Cambridge University Press, New York,
  • Kuhse, Helga and Singer Peter (eds): 1999, Bioethics: An Anthology, Blackwell, Oxford,
  • Norman, Richard: 1998, The Moral Philosophers: An Introduction to Ethics, Oxford University Press, Oxford,
  • Noddings, Nel: 1984, Caring: A Feminine Approach to Ethics and Moral Education, University of California Press, Berkeley,
  • Moore, G. E.: 1993, Principia Ethica: With the Preface to the Second Edition and Other Papers, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge,
  • O'Neill, Onora: 2015, Constructing Authorities: Reason, Politics, and Interpretation in Kant's Philosophy., Cambridge University Press, Cambridge,
  • O'Neill, Onora: 1989, Constructions of Reason: Exploration of Kant's Practical Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge,
  • Rachels, James & Rachels, Stuart: 2019, The Elements of Moral Philosophy, McGraw-Hill,
  • Sia, Santiago: 2010, Ethical Contexts and Theoretical Issues: Essays in Ethical Thinking, Cambridge Scholars, Cambridge,
  • Snow, Nancy E.: 2020, Contemporary virtue ethics, Cambridge University Press.,
  • Suikkanen, Jussi: 2015, This is Ethics: An Introduction, Wiley-Blackwell, Chichester,
  • Swanton, Christine: 2003, Virtue Ethics: A Pluralistic View, Oxford University Press, Oxford,
  • Timmons, Mark: 2013, Moral Theory: An Introduction, 2, Rowman & Littlefield, Lanham,
  • Thompson, Mel: 2008, An Introduction to Philosophy and Ethics, Hodder Education Group,
  • Trigg, Roger: 2005, Morality Matters, Blackwell, Oxford,
  • West, Henry (ed.): 2006, The Blackwell Guide to Mill's Utilitarianism, Blackwell, Oxford,
  • White, Thomas I.: 2017, Right and Wrong: A Practical Introduction to Ethics, Wiley-Blackwell, Chichester,
Other Resources

40938, E-Journal, 0, Ethics,
Programme or List of Programmes
MAETCRMA in Ethics: Corporate Responsibility
MAETHMA in Ethics
MPTPMPhil (Theology, Philosophy & Music)
SMPHSSSingle Module Programme (Hum Soc Sci)

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