Introducing Moral Philosophy (Spring 2012)

This page provides resources for Introducing Moral Philosophy, taught for Cardiff University’s Centre for Lifelong Learning during spring 2012.

Course Packet

Introducing Moral Philosophy (designed for duplex printing with binding on left)

Module Assessment

Weekly Prompts

Since these usually also serve as topic introductions, they are included in the main list of handouts below. Note that they are grouped topically but will usually be assigned prior to the relevant class so that you can use them in preparing for discussion of the particular topic. These are included in the course packet.

Prompt Pitfalls. Also included in the course packet.

Discusses some common mistakes made in responding to weekly discussion prompts and offers some general strategies for making the most of such short assignments.

Paper Topics

Paper Topics (in course packet)

Techniques and Strategies

Effective Objections. Also included in the course packet.

Handouts & Slides

In case you missed a class or wish to review a topic, you can download slides and handouts from previous classes in PDF format. Please note that these documents are not intended to stand on their own. If you are not taking the course, they are unlikely to be of much use to you although you are welcome to take a look if you wish. If you are taking the class and have questions, please let me know.

1. The Nature of the Beast: Questions, Arguments & Ethics

1.1 General Introduction

1.2 The Philosopher’s Toolbox

2. Morality, Society & Survival

2.1 Psychological Egoism & The Social Contract

3. Consequentialism

3.1 Classical Hedonism & its Critics

3.2 Utilitarianism

3.3 On Walking Away & Plugging In, with Guest Appearances by Jim & George

4. Deontological Theories

4.1 “A Shining Jewel” & The Categorical Imperative

4.2 FUL: Universalisation, Hedgehogs & The Green Cross Code

4.3 FHEI: Persons, Hedgehogs & Hospitals

4.4 Oppression, Exclusion & Our Duties to Hedgehogs

5. Virtue Ethics

5.1 Living Well

5.2 Virtues & Vices

6. Reality, Resistance & Respect

6.1 Stoicism & Suffering

6.2 Autonomy & Respect

7. TBA

Possibilities include:

  • Situation, Attribution & Character
  • Rights and Rights-Holders
    • Prompt 9: Rights and Rights-Holders

Resources / Links

I’ve posted some resources / links which may be useful, interesting or amusing. Since this collection was created some time ago, some of the links may be broken. I’ve already weeded out one but would welcome further corrections.

Morality, Society & Survival

You may enjoy this States of Nature experience, designed by students taking an introductory class in political philosophy. The game illustrates the State of Nature according to Hobbes, Locke and Rousseau. Be careful out there!

Cultivation is a game which may get you thinking about principles of distributive justice, property rights and social relations. This is not a philosophy game and is not designed to illustrate any particular philosophical theory or principle that I’m aware of. (But you may also be interested in the author’s essay on the game.) It is essentially a simulated community of gardeners situated on an island with limited resources and every game is different. Available for Mac OS X (not sure about Intel), Windows (95/98/2000/XP) and as Unix source code. If you run Linux or similar, it is probably available through your package manager. In the version I have, the land looks just like the water which makes gardening a little trickier than it is supposed to be…


A scanned version of the excerpt from Nozick describing his “experience machine” is available here.

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