PHIL 321 Topics in Moral Philosophy

Spring Semester 2013 | Day | Burnaby


INSTRUCTOR: S. Black, WMC 5608 (


This is an intermediate level survey course in moral theories and the theory of practical reasoning. It provides students with a systematic overview of the contemporary philosophical landscape by relying on classic papers written over the last 40 years. I may also top up the anthology with internet resources in order to include the very latest discussions. Topics covered in moral theory include: consequentialism, deontology, contractarianism, virtue ethics, moral particularism and anti-theory. Issues in the theory of practical reasoning include: why be moral? the nature of intrinsic value. (So please note that this is not a course in applied ethics or moral problems).

Students should expect to read about 3-4 papers per week, and to have fun.


  • R. Shafer-Landau (Ed.), Ethical Theory (Blackwell: 2007), ISBN 978-1405133203
  • occasional downloads


  • Two Short (600 word) Assignments - 20%
  • One 2500 word paper - 40%
  • One final exam - 40%

 No Nonsense Paper Policy: In the interest of preserving a level playing field students submitting late papers without prior arrangement or a doctor’s note will be penalized. Students caught plagiarizing or otherwise cheating will normally be recommended for suspension from the university.

Prerequisite: one of PHIL 120W, 220, or ENV 320.

This course is excellent preparation for law school. It also counts towards the Certificate in Ethics (please see department website for more information about the Certificate)