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Admission requirements

Admission to this course is restricted to:

  • students enrolled in the BA programme Philosophy: Global and Comparative Perspectives
  • pre-master’s students for whom this course has been specified on their admission statement


Ethics is the sub-discipline of philosophy that seeks to provide understanding of questions such as ‘how to live?’, ‘what ought I do?’, ‘what do I owe others?’, ‘what is good and why?’. These questions come back in various forms in various traditions of thought. In this course we will look at the role that concepts such as values, rights, duties, and obligations have to do with these questions and possible answers to them. In addition, we will look at things like character, happiness, suffering, and, indeed, the meaning of life. We will investigate whether, and if so, how we can justify the various answers to these questions. Are there appropriate and plausible answers to these questions or is morality simply a matter of subjective feeling?

Course objectives

This course aims to make students familiar with elementary knowledge of philosophical ethics. The aim is to educate students to such a level that they can understand ethical theories, recognize these, and use elements of these in valid argumentation.

Students who successfully complete the course will have a good understanding of:

  • the following concepts and distinctions: value, duty, virtue, consequentialism, utilitarianism, deontology, virtue, realism, anti-realism, cognitivism, non-cognitivism, naturalism, relativism.

  • the ethical theories of central authors in the Western tradition: Aristotle, Kant, and Mill;

  • the ethical argumentation of the main ethical points of the supplied study materials, including those from the so-called non-Western tradition.

Students who successfully complete the course will be able to:

  • connect these concepts, distinctions, and theories and apply these in simple philosophical argument within ethics;

  • independently study and comprehend simple texts in ethics.


The timetables are available through MyTimetable.

Mode of instruction

  • Lectures (2 hours per week)

  • Tutorials (2 hours per week)

Class attendance is required for both lectures and tutorials.

Assessment method


  • Midterm digital exam consisting of multiple choice and open questions (40%)

  • Final digital exam consisting of multiple and open questions (60%)

  • Practical assignments in tutorial. These are mandatory for taking the exam.

  • Attendance of tutorials. This is mandatory for taking the exam.
    Please note: the midterm and final exams will be digital exams on campus.


The final mark for the course is established by determining the weighted average of the two written exams (see above).
Attendance of lectures and tutorials and sufficient completion of practical assignments is a prerequisite for taking the exams.


There is one resit for this course. It consists of a digital exam of multiple choice and open questions over all the material covered. This exam replaces any partial result.
Attendance of lectures and tutorials and sufficient completion of practical assignments is a prerequisite for taking the resit.

Inspection and feedback

Inspection of the exam, its results and feedback will be provided through Brightspace.

Reading list

  • Reader Ethics 2023-2024.

This reader can be purchased through Readeronline


Enrolment through MyStudyMap is mandatory.
General information about course and exam enrolment is available on the website


  • For substantive questions, contact the lecturer listed in the information bar at the right hand side of the page.

  • For questions about enrolment, admission, etc., contact the Education Administration Office Huizinga


Not applicable.