DCU Home | Our Courses | Loop | Registry | Library | Search DCU

Module Specifications..

Current Academic Year 2023 - 2024

Please note that this information is subject to change.

Module Title New Ethical Challenges: Climate, AI &Tech
Module Code TP529
School 59
Module Co-ordinatorSemester 1: Fiachra O'Brolchain
Semester 2: Fiachra O'Brolchain
Autumn: Fiachra O'Brolchain
Module TeachersFiachra O'Brolchain
NFQ level 9 Credit Rating 10
Pre-requisite None
Co-requisite None
Compatibles None
Incompatibles None

This module examines a range of contemporary ethical issues and challenges affecting various aspects of life and society in a systematic manner. The module explores key debates and arguments about perennial ethical questions such as: Can stealing ever be justified? What constitutes fair distribution? What is the common good? The module will focus on the ethical questions emerging from 21st century developments: Do we have obligations towards non-human nature and future generations? What values should underpin the development of robots and AI? Should humanity “enhance” itself? The module will engage traditional ethical and political theories to explore these themes while also introducing novel ethical theories being developed in relation to the environment and technological progress. Diverse normative assumptions and backgrounds that inform our moral and political outlooks will be analysed from the perspective of competing ethical theories and principles. Course participants are given the opportunity to reflect on a number of ethical concerns in a critical way to enable them to further their skills of ethical analysis and argumentation.

Learning Outcomes

1. Display a critical awareness of a broad range of contemporary ethical issues that affect society and organisations.
2. Identify and formulate the main questions and arguments that are aligned with these ethical issues and have a sensitivity to the complexity of some issues.
3. Demonstrate a systematic understanding of such issues and discussions that is informed by an ethical perspective.
4. Develop their skills of applying and analysing a range of issues from various ethical theories, principles and positions.
5. Continue to self-evaluate and take responsibility for continuing academic and professional development within the field of ethics.

Workload Full-time hours per semester
Type Hours Description
Lecture24No Description
Independent Study226Completion of assignments over the semester.
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

Approaches to Applied Ethics

Ethical Issues in Robots and AI

Ethical Issues in Crime and Punishment

Environmental Ethics

Ethical Issues in Information Technology and Social Media

Ethical Issues in Population Growth

Human Enhancement Ethics

Pandemic Ethics

Assessment Breakdown
Continuous Assessment100% Examination Weight0%
Course Work Breakdown
TypeDescription% of totalAssessment Date
Assignment5000words paper100%n/a
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

  • Bostrom, Nick: 2015, Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies, Oxford University Press, Oxford,
  • Frey, R. G., & Wellman, C. H.: 2008, A Companion to Applied Ethics., John Wiley & Sons., New York,
  • LaFollette, H.: 2003, The Oxford Handbook of Practical Ethics., Oxford University Press,
  • Midgley, Mary: 2002, Beast and Man: The Roots of Human Nature, Routledge, New York,
  • Midgley, M.: 2005, The Myths We Live By, Routledge,
  • Singer, Peter: 2009, Animal Liberation: A New Ethics for Our Treatment of Animals, Harper Collins.,
  • Singer, P.: 2011, Practical Ethics, Cambridge University Press,
Other Resources

Programme or List of Programmes
MAETHMA in Ethics

My DCU | Loop | Disclaimer | Privacy Statement