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PHIL705 – Foundations of Research in Ethics

2017 – S1 Day

General Information

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Unit convenor and teaching staff Unit convenor and teaching staff Lecturer.
Mianna Lotz
Contact via By email
By appointment
Convenor, Lecturer
Paul Formosa
Contact via By email
By appointment
Credit points Credit points
4
Prerequisites Prerequisites
Admission to MRes
Corequisites Corequisites
Co-badged status Co-badged status
Unit description Unit description
This unit will equip students with foundational research knowledge and skills in the broad area of Ethics. The unit will focus on an in depth reading of foundational texts in the history of ethics and will examine their impact on current debates in the field on such topics as virtue, character, value, autonomy, and the nature of right action. Texts may include: Aristotle’s Nichomachean Ethics, Hume’s Treatise (Books II and III), Kant’s Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals, and Mill’s On Liberty.

Important Academic Dates

Information about important academic dates including deadlines for withdrawing from units are available at http://students.mq.edu.au/student_admin/enrolmentguide/academicdates/

Learning Outcomes

  1. In-depth familiarity with the foundational philosophical writings of Aristotle and Kant in the field of ethics, focusing specifically on virtue, emotion, and moral motivation.
  2. Sound comparative grasp of relevant key common and contrasting themes in the work of these philosophers.

General Assessment Information

Please note that completion of ALL assessments in this unit is a compulsory requirement of completing this unit.

Assessment Tasks

Name Weighting Due
Paper 1: Aristotle 25% 28/3/2017
Paper 2: Kant 25% 9/5/2017
Comparative Essay 30% 9/6/17
Participation 20% Continuous

Paper 1: Aristotle

Due: 28/3/2017
Weighting: 25%

A short essay demonstrating familiarity with a central aspect of Aristotle's moral philosophy. Topic TBA. (1500 Words) A rubric will be handed out with the essay question in Week 2. Due 28/3/17 at 11:59pm.


This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:
  • In-depth familiarity with the foundational philosophical writings of Aristotle and Kant in the field of ethics, focusing specifically on virtue, emotion, and moral motivation.
  • Sound comparative grasp of relevant key common and contrasting themes in the work of these philosophers.

Paper 2: Kant

Due: 9/5/2017
Weighting: 25%

A short essay demonstrating familiarity with a central aspect of Kant's moral philosophy. Topic TBA. (1500 Words) A rubric will be handed out with the essay question in Week 6. Due 9/5/17 at 11:59pm.


This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:
  • In-depth familiarity with the foundational philosophical writings of Aristotle and Kant in the field of ethics, focusing specifically on virtue, emotion, and moral motivation.
  • Sound comparative grasp of relevant key common and contrasting themes in the work of these philosophers.

Comparative Essay

Due: 9/6/17
Weighting: 30%

Close comparative analysis and critical discussion of a common concern in both Aristotle and Kant's moral philosophy. Topic TBA. (1800 words) A rubric will be handed out with the essay question in Week 10. Due 9/6/17 at 11:59pm.


This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:
  • In-depth familiarity with the foundational philosophical writings of Aristotle and Kant in the field of ethics, focusing specifically on virtue, emotion, and moral motivation.
  • Sound comparative grasp of relevant key common and contrasting themes in the work of these philosophers.

Participation

Due: Continuous
Weighting: 20%

Participation in all seminars and contributions to online forums.  A rubric will be distributed in week 1. To fulfill this assessment requirement each student must demonstrate that they have read all of the assigned reading for each seminar, and contribute in a constructive way to seminar discussion, including by asking critical questions. Students will also be assessed on the quality of their contributions to weekly online forums.


This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:
  • In-depth familiarity with the foundational philosophical writings of Aristotle and Kant in the field of ethics, focusing specifically on virtue, emotion, and moral motivation.
  • Sound comparative grasp of relevant key common and contrasting themes in the work of these philosophers.

Delivery and Resources

Set Texts (students are required to have their own copies):

Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, translated by J.A.K. Thomson (Penguin, London: 2004).

Kant, I. ​Practical Philosophy​, ed. M. Gregor (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge: 1999). This book contains, in full, all of Kant's main writings on ethics. We will use the translations from this text.

Other readings:

​These are listed in the unit schedule and access will be provided via iLearn.

 

 

 

Unit Schedule

Week 1 (Tuesday February 28): Introduction and Planning (Dr Lotz/Dr Formosa)

No reading requirement for this week's seminar. The week is to be used for commencement of the readings for the following weeks' seminars.

​In this week we outline the unit, and explain the approach and focus we will take to the readings each week. We will also explain the unit structure, which involves bursts of intensive reading and seminar discussion, followed by time for online discussion and reflection, the completion of writing tasks, and preparation for the next intensive burst of seminar discussion. Since the amount of readings required each week during the intensive seminar periods is higher than usual, students will have more time in between the intensive seminar discussion weeks to contribute to online forums, undertake assessment tasks, and prepare for the next intensive burst of seminar discussion.The pedagogical aim of this approach is to facilitate higher quality student discussion and improve student engagement with the material for both internal and external students.

​Please note: the below texts are provisional and are subject to change.

Week 2 (Tuesday March 7): Aristotle I (Dr Lotz)

Required Reading:

Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, Books I-IV (pp. 4–111).

G.E.M. (Elizabeth) Anscombe, 'Modern Moral Philosophy'. Philosophy, Vol. 33, No. 124 (Jan., 1958), pp. 1-19.

Week 3 (Tuesday March 14): Aristotle II (Dr Lotz)

Required Reading:

Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, Books V-VII (pp. 112–199).

Philippa Foot, ‘Virtues and Vices.’ In Stephen Darwall (ed), Virtue Ethics. (Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 2003): pp. 105-120.

Week 4 (Tuesday March 21):

Moderated online forum discussion on Aristotle. No "off-line" seminar. Students are expected to make contributions to online forums this week.

​Essay writing week.

Week 5 (Tuesday March 28):

Moderated online forum discussion on Aristotle and Foot. No "off-line" seminar. Students are expected to make contributions to online forums this week.

​Paper 1: Aristotle, due 28/3/17.

Reading preparation for the intensive section on Kant.

Week 6 (Tuesday April 4): Kant I (Dr Formosa)

Required Reading:

Kant, Groundwork 1-2

Barbara Herman, ‘On the Value of Acting from the Motive of Duty’, in Herman, The Practice of Moral Judgment (Harvard, Harvard University Press, 1996).

Week 7 (Tuesday April 11): Kant II (Dr Formosa)

Required Reading:

Religion within the boundaries of Mere Reason, book 1.

Kant. Metaphysics of Morals. Selections from the Doctrine of Virtue.

Formosa, Paul. "Kant on the Radical Evil of Human Nature." The Philosophical Forum 38, no. 3 (2007): 221-245.

​Holidays

Week 8 (Tuesday May 2):

​Moderated online forum discussion on Kant's Groundwork. No "off-line" seminar. Students are expected to make contributions to online forums this week.

Essay writing week.

Week 9 (Tuesday May 9):

Moderated online forum discussion on Kant's later works in moral philosophy. No "off-line" seminar. Students are expected to make contributions to online forums this week.

Paper 2: Kant, due 9/5/2017.

Reading preparation for the intensive comparative section on Kant and Aristotle.

Week 10 (Tuesday May 16): Comparative themes in Aristotle/Kant I: Virtue and the Emotions (Dr Lotz and Dr Formosa)

Required reading:

Nancy Sherman, ‘The Emotional Structure of Aristotelian Virtue’, Ch. 2 of Making a Necessity of Virtue: Aristotle and Kant on Virtue

​Paul Formosa, 'Achievement Dignity and Autonomy: How to Live Up to Your Status Dignity', Ch. 5 of Kantian Ethics, Dignity and Perfection​, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge: 2017.

Week 11 (Tuesday May 23): Comparative themes in Aristotle/Kant II: Love, respect and friendship (Dr Lotz and Dr Formosa)

Required reading:

Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, Books VIII and IX.

Kant, selections from the Doctrine of Virtue and The Groundwork

Nancy Sherman, ‘The Shared Voyage’, Ch. 5 of Making a Necessity of Virtue: Aristotle and Kant on Virtue

Week 12 (Tuesday May 30):

Moderated online forum discussion on the comparison between Kant and Aristotle on virtue. No "off-line" seminar. Students are expected to make contributions to online forums this week.

Comparative essay writing week.

Week 13 (Tuesday June 6):

Moderated online forum discussion on the comparison between Kant and Aristotle on love and respect. No "off-line" seminar. Students are expected to make contributions to online forums this week.

​Comparative essay, due 9/6/17.

Policies and Procedures

Macquarie University policies and procedures are accessible from Policy Central. Students should be aware of the following policies in particular with regard to Learning and Teaching:

Academic Honesty Policy http://mq.edu.au/policy/docs/academic_honesty/policy.html

Assessment Policy http://mq.edu.au/policy/docs/assessment/policy_2016.html

Grade Appeal Policy http://mq.edu.au/policy/docs/gradeappeal/policy.html

Complaint Management Procedure for Students and Members of the Public http://www.mq.edu.au/policy/docs/complaint_management/procedure.html​

Disruption to Studies Policy http://www.mq.edu.au/policy/docs/disruption_studies/policy.html The Disruption to Studies Policy is effective from March 3 2014 and replaces the Special Consideration Policy.

In addition, a number of other policies can be found in the Learning and Teaching Category of Policy Central.

Student Code of Conduct

Macquarie University students have a responsibility to be familiar with the Student Code of Conduct: https://students.mq.edu.au/support/student_conduct/

Results

Results shown in iLearn, or released directly by your Unit Convenor, are not confirmed as they are subject to final approval by the University. Once approved, final results will be sent to your student email address and will be made available in eStudent. For more information visit ask.mq.edu.au.

Student Support

Macquarie University provides a range of support services for students. For details, visit http://students.mq.edu.au/support/

Learning Skills

Learning Skills (mq.edu.au/learningskills) provides academic writing resources and study strategies to improve your marks and take control of your study.

Student Enquiry Service

For all student enquiries, visit Student Connect at ask.mq.edu.au

Equity Support

Students with a disability are encouraged to contact the Disability Service who can provide appropriate help with any issues that arise during their studies.

IT Help

For help with University computer systems and technology, visit http://www.mq.edu.au/about_us/offices_and_units/information_technology/help/

When using the University's IT, you must adhere to the Acceptable Use of IT Resources Policy. The policy applies to all who connect to the MQ network including students.

Graduate Capabilities

PG - Discipline Knowledge and Skills

Our postgraduates will be able to demonstrate a significantly enhanced depth and breadth of knowledge, scholarly understanding, and specific subject content knowledge in their chosen fields.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • In-depth familiarity with the foundational philosophical writings of Aristotle and Kant in the field of ethics, focusing specifically on virtue, emotion, and moral motivation.
  • Sound comparative grasp of relevant key common and contrasting themes in the work of these philosophers.

Assessment tasks

  • Paper 1: Aristotle
  • Paper 2: Kant
  • Comparative Essay
  • Participation

PG - Effective Communication

Our postgraduates will be able to communicate effectively and convey their views to different social, cultural, and professional audiences. They will be able to use a variety of technologically supported media to communicate with empathy using a range of written, spoken or visual formats.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • In-depth familiarity with the foundational philosophical writings of Aristotle and Kant in the field of ethics, focusing specifically on virtue, emotion, and moral motivation.
  • Sound comparative grasp of relevant key common and contrasting themes in the work of these philosophers.

Assessment tasks

  • Paper 1: Aristotle
  • Paper 2: Kant
  • Comparative Essay
  • Participation

PG - Capable of Professional and Personal Judgment and Initiative

Our postgraduates will demonstrate a high standard of discernment and common sense in their professional and personal judgment. They will have the ability to make informed choices and decisions that reflect both the nature of their professional work and their personal perspectives.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcome

  • Sound comparative grasp of relevant key common and contrasting themes in the work of these philosophers.

Assessment task

  • Comparative Essay

PG - Critical, Analytical and Integrative Thinking

Our postgraduates will be capable of utilising and reflecting on prior knowledge and experience, of applying higher level critical thinking skills, and of integrating and synthesising learning and knowledge from a range of sources and environments. A characteristic of this form of thinking is the generation of new, professionally oriented knowledge through personal or group-based critique of practice and theory.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • In-depth familiarity with the foundational philosophical writings of Aristotle and Kant in the field of ethics, focusing specifically on virtue, emotion, and moral motivation.
  • Sound comparative grasp of relevant key common and contrasting themes in the work of these philosophers.

Assessment tasks

  • Comparative Essay
  • Participation

PG - Research and Problem Solving Capability

Our postgraduates will be capable of systematic enquiry; able to use research skills to create new knowledge that can be applied to real world issues, or contribute to a field of study or practice to enhance society. They will be capable of creative questioning, problem finding and problem solving.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • In-depth familiarity with the foundational philosophical writings of Aristotle and Kant in the field of ethics, focusing specifically on virtue, emotion, and moral motivation.
  • Sound comparative grasp of relevant key common and contrasting themes in the work of these philosophers.

Assessment task

  • Comparative Essay

PG - Engaged and Responsible, Active and Ethical Citizens

Our postgraduates will be ethically aware and capable of confident transformative action in relation to their professional responsibilities and the wider community. They will have a sense of connectedness with others and country and have a sense of mutual obligation. They will be able to appreciate the impact of their professional roles for social justice and inclusion related to national and global issues

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcome

  • In-depth familiarity with the foundational philosophical writings of Aristotle and Kant in the field of ethics, focusing specifically on virtue, emotion, and moral motivation.

Assessment tasks

  • Paper 1: Aristotle
  • Paper 2: Kant
  • Participation

Changes from Previous Offering

Some minor changes to the content and delivery. Assessment was changed so as to spread the assessment load out evenly throughout the semester.