nl en



Admission requirements

Admission to this course is restricted to:

  • Students enrolled in the BA programme Philosophy: Global and Comparative Perspectives
  • International pre-master’s students in Philosophy who are in possession of an admission statement, and for whom this course is part of their programme.
  • International MA students who need to take Ethics for a deficiency.


Ethics is that part 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 through the study of both contemporary and classical texts. 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 concepts and theories 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 arguments and the main claims of the supplied study materials.

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.


Visit 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 written exam consisting of open questions (50%)

  • Final written exam consisting of open questions (50%)

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

  • Attendance of lectures and tutorials. This is mandatory for taking the exam.


The final mark for the course is established by determining the weighted average of the two written exams (see above).


There is one resit for this course. It consists of a written exam of open questions over all the material covered. No separate resits will be offered for mid-term or final tests. The mark for the resit replaces any partial result.

Satisfactory completion of practical assignments is a prerequisite for taking the resit.

Inspection and feedback

Partial results will be posted on BrightSpace together with model answers. For each exam there will be one opportunity to review answers and results. The midterm exam will be reviewed in class. The final exam will have a separate opportunity within a week after publication of the results. These opportunities will be announced on BrightSpace

Reading list

  • Reader Ethics 2020-2021

The reader can be purchased via Readeronline.


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.
General information about uSis is available on the website

Students are strongly advised to register in uSis through the activity number which can be found in the timetables for courses and exams.

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.


Dr. B.J.E. Verbeek Drs. B. Hoorneman


Not applicable.