Module Specifications

Current Academic Year 2015 - 2016

Please note that this information is subject to change.

Module Title Philosophy of Values: Ethics and Aesthetics
Module Code PHIL3
School Open Education
Online Module Resources

Module Co-ordinatorSemester 1: James Brunton
Semester 2: James Brunton
Autumn: James Brunton
Module TeachersNoeleen O'Keeffe
NFQ level 8 Credit Rating 15
Pre-requisite PHIL1
Co-requisite None
Compatibles None
Incompatibles None
The first part of this module introduces students to the practice and theory of ethics and moral philosophy. Students will study the role of ethics in clarifying, testing and systematising our common-sense moral beliefs and facilitating their application to issues such as the enforcement of morality under the law, freedom of expression and censorship and abortion. What is art? What is beauty? How do we identify what is artistic and beautiful (and what is not) in the world around us? The second part of this module looks at how Philosophy can help us to better understand and question art, from classical to contemporary approaches, through the study of a number of philosophical problems and debates.

Learning Outcomes
1. Investigate essential features involved in aesthetic experience and ways of defining and analysing different forms of art
2. Analyse key concepts and issues connected to theories of beauty and art that have historical origins in Plato and Aristotle's theories and which remain living options in philosophical aesthetics today
3. Examine the criteria that one needs to know and apply in order to aesthetically evaluate a work of art
4. Assess central theories of ethics that have historical roots and remain significant living options in moral philosophy today
5. Appraise a philosophical argument in ethics through investigating arguments for and against a particular theory
6. Apply the principles of ethical reasoning in assessing controversial moral issues in society today

Workload Full-time hours per semester
Type Hours Description
Tutorial15No Description
On-line learning60No Description
Independent learning300No Description
Total Workload: 375

All module information is indicative and subject to change. For further information,students are advised to refer to the University's Marks and Standards and Programme Specific Regulations at:

Indicative Content and Learning Activities
Part 1: Aesthetics.
Unit 1: Introduction and Classical Conceptions of Art and Beauty 1: Plato.

Unit 2: Classical Conceptions of Art and Beauty 2: Aristotle.
Unit 3: Establishing a Standard of Taste: Empiricist versus Rationalist Approaches.

Unit 4: Kant's Critique of Judgement.
Unit 5: Artistic Evaluation 1: Aesthetic Formalism.

Unit 6: Artistic Evaluation 2: Categories of Art.
Unit 7: Aesthetic Appreciation of Nature.

Unit 8: Conclusion.
Part 2: Ethics.

Unit 9: The Methods, Scope and Value of Ethics, and One of its Central Topics.
Unit 10: Morality and Truth: Realism, Subjectivism and Relativism.

Unit 11: Utilitarianism - A Results-Based Ethic.
Unit 12: Kant's Reason-Based Ethic.

Unit 13: Rawls' Theory of Justice - Towards a Contractualist Ethic.
Unit 14: Virtue Ethics and the Ethics of Care.

Unit 15: Morality, Society and the Law.
Unit 16: Freedom of Expression and Censorship.

Unit 17: Abortion: The Ethical Arguments.
Unit 18: Ethics and the Environment.

Assessment Breakdown
Continuous Assessment100% Examination Weight0%
Course Work Breakdown
TypeDescription% of totalAssessment Date
AssignmentAssessment takes a variety of forms, including essays, reports, learning journals, presentations and group assignments. As a 100% CA module the assessments will be larger than in a 50% CA - 50% Examination module.100%n/a
Reassessment Requirement
Resit arrangements are explained by the following categories;
1 = A resit is available for all components of the module
2 = No resit is available for 100% continuous assessment module
3 = No resit is available for the continuous assessment component
This module is category 1
Indicative Reading List
  • Bennett, C: 2010, What is this thing called ethics?, Routledge, London,
  • Vaughn, Lewis: 2012, Ethics: Moral Reasoning and Contemporary Issues, Third, W. W. Norton, London,
  • Cahn, S. M. and Meskin, A., eds.: 2008, Aesthetics: A Comprehensive Anthology, Oxford, Blackwell,
  • 0: For additional readings please consult moodle.,
Other Resources
Programme or List of Programmes
BABA in Humanities
BADIPDiploma in Humanities
BASMBA Single Module
Timetable this semester: Timetable for PHIL3
Date of Last Revision08-DEC-10