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Module Specifications..

Current Academic Year 2023 - 2024

Please note that this information is subject to change.

Module Title Fnds.s: Philosophical/Theological Ethics
Module Code TP110
School 59
Module Co-ordinatorSemester 1: John Murray
Semester 2: John Murray
Autumn: John Murray
Module TeachersJohn Murray
NFQ level 8 Credit Rating 5
Pre-requisite None
Co-requisite None
Compatibles None
Incompatibles None
Coursework Only

This module provides a comprehensive introduction to Foundations of Philosophical and Theological Ethics. It introduces participants to the study of ethics and considers in a systematic and critical manner how ethical principles, theories and reflection influence moral decision-making. It focuses on ethical reflection within philosophical traditions and also within Christian traditions (with an awareness of the general ecumenical and interfaith context in which we live and work now). This involves detailed examination of utilitarianism, deontology, virtue ethics, divine command ethics, and a particular focus on natural law theory - showing how human understanding and reason operate in ethics, and thus offering a very inclusive approach to the study of morality. It also investigates how faith can contribute distinctively to ethics, examining the sources of Christian morality in divine revelation, (Scripture, Tradition, Church Teaching), and what role they can play, in conjunction with reason, in Christian Ethics/Moral Theology. Numerous examples will be discussed in class, including examples relevant to teaching as an essentially ethical profession, and students are invited to engage in critically examining what they already know and discovering how to deepen their understanding and develop their conscience.

Learning Outcomes

1. Demonstrate a broad knowledge and understanding of a number of fundamental themes in ethics including ethical systems, natural law, conscience and normative sources, sin and reconciliation.
2. Display specialist knowledge of sources, ethical beliefs and moral norms which define Christian ethics in terms of its distinctiveness and specificity.
3. Engage with and discuss a variety of ethical questions and issues supported by relevant philosophical and theological foundations as well as ethical sources.
4. Identify and evaluate a range of potential moral viewpoints, arguments within the context of the ecumenical and interfaith challenges in a changing society.
5. Develop further their knowledge and analytical skills in ethics for research in this and associated areas.
6. Further their understanding and knowledge of philosophical and theological ethics within the context of teaching of Religious Education/Studies in a pluralist, multi-cultural Irish society.
7. Engage in ethical discourse with others in a manner that is appreciative of different philosophical/theological and educational world-views.

Workload Full-time hours per semester
Type Hours Description
Lecture24No Description
Independent Study46No Description
Assignment Completion55No Description
Total Workload: 125

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

Morality and Ethics

Moral Development

Ethical-Decision Making

Ethical Theories [Utilitarianism, Deontology, Virtue Ethics].

Ethics and Catholic Moral Theology.

Sources of Christian Ethics – Scripture, Tradition, Church Teaching, Natural Law.

Conscience, Conscience Formation and Normative Sources.

Sin & Reconciliation.

Assessment Breakdown
Continuous Assessment100% Examination Weight0%
Course Work Breakdown
TypeDescription% of totalAssessment Date
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

  • Bennett, Christopher: 2010, What is This Thing Called Ethics?, Routledge, Oxon,
  • Adkins, Brent: 2017, A Guide to Ethics and Moral Philosophy, Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh,
  • Cahn, Steven M. (ed.): 2016, Exploring Ethics: An Introductory Anthology, 4th edition, Oxford University Press, New York,
  • Dreier, James: 2005, Contemporary Debates in Moral Theory, Blackwell, London,
  • Driver, Julia: 2007, Ethics: The Fundamentals, Blackwell, Malden, MA,
  • Gensler, Harry J.: 2011, Ethics: A Contemporary Introduction, Routledge, New York,
  • Gill, Robin (ed.): 2012, The Cambridge Companion to Christian Ethics, 2nd, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK,
  • Gilligan, Carol: 1993, In a Different Voice, Harvard University Press, Cambridge Mass.,
  • Graham, Gordon: 2004, Eight Theories of Ethics, Routledge/Taylor and Francis Group, New York,
  • Gula, Richard: 1989, Reason Informed by Faith, Paulist Press, Mahwah, NJ,
  • Hannon, Patrick: 2005, Moral Decision Making, Veritas, Dublin,
  • Hannon, Patrick [ed.]: 2006, Moral Theology: A Reader, Veritas, Dublin,
  • Hauerwas, Stanley, and Wells, Samuel (eds.): 2006, The Blackwell Companion to Christian Ethics, Blackwell, Oxford, UK,
  • Kim, Andrew: 2015, An Introduction to Catholic Ethics Since Vatican II, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge,
  • Kohlberg, Lawrence: 1973, Collected Papers on Moral Development and Moral Education, Center for Moral Education, Harvard,
  • Laird, John: 2010, A Study in Moral Theory, Kessinger,
  • MacNamara, Vincent and McDonagh, Enda: 2009, An Irish Reader in Moral Theology: The Legacy of the Last Fifty Years, Vol. I: Foundations, The Columba Press, Dublin,
  • May, William. E.: 2003, An Introduction to Moral Theology, 2nd edition, Our Sunday Visitor, Huntington, IN [USA],
  • Martineau, James: 2010, Types of Ethical Theory, Volume 1, Nabu Press,
  • Mathewes, Charles T.: 2010, Understanding Religious Ethics, Wiley-Blackwell, Malden, MA:,
  • Odozor, Paulinus I.: 2003, Moral Theology in an Age of Renewal, University of Notre Dame Press, Notre Dame,
  • Persson, Ingmar: 2017, Inclusive Ethics, Oxford, Oxford University Press,
  • Pinckaers, Servais: 2003, Morality: The Catholic View, St Augustine's Press, South Bend, Indiana,
  • Sterba, James, (ed.): 1998, Ethics: The Big Questions, Blackwell, Oxford, UK,
  • Selling, Joseph A.: 2016, Reframing Catholic Theological Ethics, Oxford University Press, Oxford,
  • Gibson, Kevin: 2013, An Introduction to Ethics, Pearson,
  • Schweiker, William: 2008, The Blackwell Companion to Religious Ethics, Blackwell, Oxford,
  • Thompson, Mel: 2008, An Introduction to Philosophy and Ethics, Hodder Education Group,
  • Timmons, Mark: 2022, Moral Theory: An Introduction, 3rd, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Lanham, Maryland USA,
  • Warnock, Mary: 2006, An intelligent person's guide to ethics, Duckworth, London,
  • Wells, Samuel and Quash, Ben: 2010, Introducing Christian Ethics, Wiley-Blackwell, Malden, MA,
  • Willems, Elizabeth: 1997, Understanding Catholic Morality, Crossroad Publishing, New York,
  • Grisez, Germain and Russell Shaw: 1991, Fulfillment in Christ, University of Notre Dame Press, Indiania, USA,
  • Finnis, John: 2011, Natural Law And Natural Rights, 2nd, OUP, New York, USA,
  • LaFollette, Hugh and Ingmar Persson (eds.): 2013, The Blackwell Guide to Ethical Theory, 2nd, Wiley-Blackwell,
Other Resources

52101, Website, 0, The Way of the Lord Jesus, http://www.twotlj.org/, 51674, E-Journal, 0, International Journal of Ethics, 51675, E-Journal, 0, Studies in Christian Ethics, 51676, E-Journal, 0, The Journal of Religious Ethics, 52102, Website, Stanford University, 0, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, https://plato.stanford.edu/,
Programme or List of Programmes
BREBachelor of Religious Education &English
BRHBachelor of Religious Education &History
BRMBachelor of Religious Education & Music
HMSAOStudy Abroad (Humanities & Soc Science)

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