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PY1011   Moral and Political Controversies

Academic year(s): 2023-2024

Key information

SCOTCAT credits : 20

ECTS credits : 10

Level : SCQF level 7

Semester: 1

Planned timetable: 5.00 pm - 6.00 pm Mon, Tue, Thu

Philosophy has often been said to begin with the question 'how ought we to live?' This module introduces students to fundamental questions and problems in moral philosophy (how should we live? What ought we to do? What is it to be a good human being?) and in political philosophy (how ought we to live together?). In moral philosophy we will look at both applied ethics (exploring particular moral issues, such as our obligations to those in severe need, and our treatment of non-human animals) and normative ethics (exploring theoretical approaches to tackling such issues, for example utilitarian, Kantian and virtue ethics). In political philosophy, we will explore central concepts such as liberty, equality, and democracy, and consider the extent to which we should give up some of our freedom in exchange for the protection of the state.

Relationship to other modules

Anti-requisite(s): You cannot take this module if you take PY1105 or take PY1106 or take PY1801 or take PY1901

Learning and teaching methods and delivery

Weekly contact: 3 lectures and 1 tutorial.

Scheduled learning hours: 39

Guided independent study hours: 161

Assessment pattern

As used by St Andrews: 100% Coursework

As defined by QAA
Written examinations : 0%
Practical examinations : 0%
Coursework: 100%

Re-assessment: 100% Coursework: 3500 word 1wk Take Home Assignment


Module coordinator: Professor T G Pummer
Module teaching staff: Team taught

Intended learning outcomes

  • Have a good critical understanding of the complexities of the moral and political questions addressed, and of various approaches that have been taken in moral and political theorising
  • Analyse and evaluate critical discussion of these issues in recent and contemporary literature
  • Formulate and articulate their own views on these issues
  • Provide a rational defence of these views in written work and in discussion