Moeswers y Story — The Moral of the Story (Yr Haf/Summer 2015)

This page provides resources for Moeswers y Story — The Moral of the Story, taught for Cardiff University’s Centre for Lifelong Learning during summer 2015. The course assumes no prior knowledge of philosophy.

Note that the official course page is on Learning Central and that all enrolled students should access content there.

Course Description

Beth mae Modrwy Gyges yn dweud wrthym am ein rhesymau i fod yn foesol? Allem ddysgu rhywbeth am ddoethineb o The Little Prince? Ydy dameg y Samariad Trugarog yn dangos y ddyletswydd gofal a gawsem ar ddieithriaid? Beth all anturiau Bilbo Baggins ddygsu i ni am natur daioni a gwreiddiau drygioni?

P’un a gawson nhw eu creu fel cyfrwng i roi addysg foesol, i herio’r moesoldeb sefydledig neu dim ond fel straeon llawn cyffro, mae storïau yn ganolbwynt pwysig ar gyfer myfyrdodau moesegol a’r dychymyg moesol. Bydd y modiwl hwn yn defnyddio storïau fel man cychwyn i edrych ar gwestiynau allweddol mewn athroniaeth foesol.

What does Gyges’ Ring tell us about our reasons for being moral? Can we learn something about wisdom from The Little Prince? Does the parable of the Good Samaritan illustrate the care we owe to strangers? What can the adventures of Bilbo Baggins teach us about the nature of goodness and the roots of evil?

Whether created as tools of moral education, challenges to established morality or simply ripping good yarns, stories are an important focus for ethical reflection and moral imagination. This module will use stories as starting points for explorations of key questions in moral philosophy.

No previous knowledge of philosophy will be assumed.


Note that this document is also included in the course packet but that the ‘live’ links will not work there as a consequence of its inclusion in a longer document. If you would like to use those links, please use this version.

Course Packet

Module Assessment

The scheme of assessment is detailed in the course packet and consists of a contribution to the class glossary and a final paper. Paper topics and instructions are included in the course packet. Details concerning the glossary will be distributed in class as the design of this assignment depends on the number of students taking the class.

Note that all work must be submitted via Learning Central. This includes plagiarism detection. Please email me in case of difficulty.


When sessions include a presentation involving slides, the slides will be posted shortly before or after the relevant class.

§1 Offer yr Athronydd/The Philosopher’s Toolbox

What is Moral Philosophy? What is an Argument? What Makes an Argument Good?

§2 Y Fodrwy Gyges/The Ring of Gyges

Why Be Moral?

§3 Problem yr Euthyphro/The Euthyphro Problem

Is Good What God Commands or Does God Command What’s Good?

§4 Iwtilitariaeth/Utilitarianism

Classical Hedonism

The Greatest Happiness Principle/Principle of Utility

Should You Walk Away?

§5 Dyletswyddeg/Deontology

The Value of a Good Will

The Categorical Imperative

The Formula of Universal Law (FUL)

The Formula of Humanity as an End in Itself (FHEI)

The Kingdom of Ends

What About Hedgehogs?

§6 Cymeriad/Character

Good Choices

Virtue, Habit & the Mean

Supplemental Worksheets

Note that most worksheets are included in the appropriate parts of the course packet. The remainder are posted here and are primarily designed to facilitate small group discussion and, therefore, distributed in class.

  • Druse’s Duty (Kantian Ethics). Worksheet on the application of two formulations of Kant’s Categorical Imperative to Druse, a character in a short story.
  • Which Theory…? (Normative Ethics). Worksheet comparing selected aspects of Mill’s utilitarianism, Kant’s moral theory and Aristotle’s virtue ethics. Part of an introduction to virtue ethics.

Western Philosophy Timeline

Note that this can be used on a variety of levels. It can be used simply to get a sense of when different philosophers worked, or when different philosophical ideas emerged. It can also be treated as a series of symbolic clues to various philosophical ideas. While some of the solutions are included in the timeline itself and many others are straightforward, a few are positively obscure. The colours have no significance except to associate symbols with philosophers. In general, a symbol in a given colour belongs with the nearest philosopher named in a box of that colour.

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.

Careers for Philosophy Graduates

What can you do with a BA in philosophy? How do employers regard philosophy graduates? Can you really make a living after spending three years of your life studying the correspondence between Princess Elisabeth and Descartes? The answers to these questions may surprise you…

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