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Practical Ethics - PHL242

This unit focuses on a range of topics in applied ethics, starting with ethics in the personal sphere and expanding the sphere of moral concern outwards to include those with whom we are not in a personal relationship and also non-human animals and the environment. We consider ethical questions to do with abortion, marriage, children’s rights, suicide and euthanasia; questions of what we owe to those less well off than ourselves (e.g. those in poverty, refugees and asylum seekers); and ethical issues in the breakdown of moral relations (e.g. war, terrorism, torture and punishment). Discussion of the different topics is structured around key concepts, themes and questions including personhood, harm, and justice. What are the criteria for personhood, and are these criteria relevant to the morality of abortion or euthanasia? The duty to minimize harm is an important ethical principle. But what is the nature of harm? And under what circumstances (if any) might causing harm be justified? Is there such a thing as a just war? Is terrorism ever justifiable? The unit aims to encourage deep intellectual and also personal reflection on the complex ethical issues raised by such questions and to introduce students to the different positions and arguments within the relevant philosophical debates

Credit Points: 3
When Offered:

2019 - Next offered in 2019

Staff Contact(s): Dr Mianna Lotz

(12cp at 100 level or above) or admission to GDipArts Prerequisite Information


NCCW(s): PHIL242, PHI210, PHIX242
Unit Designation(s):
Unit Type:
Assessed As: Graded
Offered By:

Department of Philosophy

Faculty of Arts

Course structures, including unit offerings, are subject to change.
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