Course Description: 

There is a prima facie duty not kill people. But, in certain circumstances it seems permissible to do so. The course explores under which conditions killing is morally acceptable and the kinds of constraints that we face when killing someone. We will address some of the following questions: do we have to save the greater number of people? When is killing in self-defence permissible? Is abortion morally acceptable? What constraints do apply when killing in war?

Learning Outcomes: 

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

  • Understand the key positions within contemporary debates in moral philosophy.
  • Produce critical and well-structured arguments in moral philosophy.
  • Balance and contrast the weakness and strengths of different positions in contemporary debates in practical ethics.
  • Summarise arguments clearly and succinctly.

All students must read the core reading before the lectures and seminars. Attendance is compulsory. You need at least 90% of attendance to get a grade. There will be two papers, 2000 words each. The papers must address different topics and should avoid excessive overlapping. Titles must be pre-approved, so consult me once you have an idea what you want to write about. You can use some of the seminar questions to formulate the title or any other related topic you are interested in.
Grades will be awarded based on:

  • participation 20%
  • presentation 30%
  • final papers 50%.
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