Seminar in Contemporary Moral Philosophy

The aim of this module is to develop the skills and virtues of a final-year undergraduate level philosopher and scholar of philosophy, by guided practice in close reading and reasoned discussion of selected works in contemporary moral philosophy. No attempt at broad survey will be made. The module will instead be run as a reading group on a small number of high-quality texts. Seminars will consist of moderated discussion of reading introduced by the tutor or by a student presentation. Assessment will be by 5,000 word essay on a topic chosen by the individual student and developed in consultation with the tutor.

‘Moral philosophy’ will be understood fairly broadly, as including metaethics, the philosophies of action, selfhood, and agency, and the more normative and/or theoretical parts of political philosophy. Possible topics, works, debates, and/or figures in contemporary moral philosophy include: wellbeing; value and valuing; personhood/selfhood; practical reason; moral psychology; metaethics; freedom and responsibility; utilitarianism and its critics; virtue ethics and its critics; deontology and its critics; the work of major recent and contemporary figures in moral philosophy, for example Bernard Williams, Martha Nussbaum, Peter Railton, Christine Korsgaard, Philippa Foot, Allan Gibbard, Charles Taylor, Simon Blackburn, Peter Singer, or Derek Parfit.