The Ethics of Discrimination

Course Level: 
Course Open to: 
Students on-site
Academic Year: 
US Credits: 
ECTS Credits: 
Course Code: 
Course Description: 

There is wide agreement that discrimination based on sex, race or sexual orientation are wrong. There is far less agreement about what makes it wrong. In the first part of the course, we will address the question of what makes discrimination bad or wrong. In the second part, we will discuss various forms of discrimination. We will ask questions such as whether the wrongness of discrimination depends on its expressive meaning or on its harmful effects. We will ask whether the concept of indirect discrimination is a useful concept. We will also explore questions such as the following: Is it wrong for the manager of a nightclub to hire based on an applicant’s good looks? do people act wrongly when they discriminate in the personal sphere—for example, when they choose sexual partners choice of sexual partners. Finally, we will also explore whether the state has the prerogative to amend injustice by using affirmative action.

Learning Outcomes: 

At the end of the course the student shall be able to:

• Understand the key positions within contemporary debates in the philosophy of discrimination.

• Produce critical and well-structured arguments in moral and political philosophy.

• Balance and contrast the weakness and strengths of different positions in contemporary debates in the philosophy of discrimination.

• Summarise arguments clearly and succinctly.



• All students must read the core reading before the lectures and seminars.

• Students will make an in-class presentation where they will lead the discussion. They also submit a one-page final paper outline and a 2000 words long final paper. The outline will be discussed in class in week 12.