Course infoSchedule
Course moduleFTR-FIPPSB101
Credits (ECTS)5
Language of instructionEnglish
Offered byRadboud University; Faculty of Philosophy, Theology and Religious Studies; Opleiding Filosofie;
dr. A.R. Topolski
Other course modules lecturer
dr. A.R. Topolski
Other course modules lecturer
Contactperson for the course
dr. A.R. Topolski
Other course modules lecturer
Academic year2018
PER1-PER2  (03/09/2018 to 06/01/2019)
Starting block
Course mode
Registration using OSIRISYes
Course open to students from other facultiesYes
Waiting listNo
Placement procedure-
Course Objectives:
  • familiarize you with major traditional theories, thinkers, and concepts in ethics;
  • build your skills in analyzing and solving ethical problems, and defending your views both orally and in writing;
  • enable you to understand, criticize, and construct philosophical arguments;
  • assist your development of creative problem-solving techniques;
  • help you improve your writing through blog posts, critical reviews and paper assignments.
Possible Topics Include:
Politics/Ethics – Dirty hands – Responsibility – Legitimacy/Legality 
Deontology – Categorical imperative – Obedience – Responsibility – Autonomy 
Refugees – Immigration – Borders – Europe 
Justice – Liberalism – Veil of ignorance – Moral arbitrariness – Affirmative action – Overlapping consensus – Universalism/relativism
Equality – Recognition – Multiculturalism – Discrimination – Sexual orientation 
Utilitarianism – Pleasure/pain – Sacrifice – Harm principle – Poverty
Equality – Recognition – Multiculturalism – Discrimination
Inclusion – Exclusion – Racism – Radicalisation
Public/private sphere – Religious arguments – Emancipation – Secularization/Laïcité 
Human Rights
War – Torture – Violence – Just war – Emergency ethics – Dirty hands – Terrorism
Abortion - Euthanasia – Death penalty – Lethal harm – Killing/Letting die 

Today we are faced with many complex problems. This course will introduce you to philosophical ethics – questions about right and wrong and good and evil that have puzzled and provoked thinkers for hundreds of years. We will read and discuss major ethical theories and important moral philosophers, and will also debate controversial moral dilemmas such as poverty, sexism, animal rights, racism and climate change. This course is thus a practical overview of key issues, questions and concepts in ethics with emphases on the historical development of ethical thinking, a variety of ethical approaches and on multicultural aspects. The course will begin with a brief overview of the major ethical theories of today. Then each week a different ethical problem of the contemporary world will be examined. Students will also examine a variety of personal, social, and professional ethical issues and problems and learn methods of resolving them through the use of critical thinking skills, sound ethical reasoning and professional codes. Students are provided an active learning experience, increased student interaction and opportunities for independent research into ethical issues of personal interest. Your work on these topics will help develop your capacity to analyze texts and issues, to criticize and construct philosophical arguments, to present your thoughts in clear written form, and to become a more creative problem-solver. When you complete the course, you should be better prepared to recognize, confront, and think critically about difficult ethical questions that we all encounter in our daily lives. 

Required materials
The reading for this class will be a combination of a self-read book (to be discussed in seminars), selected recent articles and a few classic texts in ethics.

Instructional modes
Attendance MandatoryYes

There wil be both a lecture and seminar per week.

Take Home Exam
Test weight1
Test typeTake home test
OpportunitiesBlock TENT2, Block TENT3