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How we should live our lives is the most important question of all. What makes our actions right or wrong? Is it our culture, our emotions, facts about the world, or God's commands? Are pleasure and happiness all that really matters? What should we do when justice and freedom conflict with happiness or with each other? Should we always obey the law? Is taxation legalised theft? This course introduces students to moral and political philosophy by examining ideas and arguments about how we should live our personal, social and political lives.
Goals of the course:1. Introduce central problems and theories in moral, social and political philosophy.2. Create an environment where students develop skills in analysis, critical thinking, research, writing, and the oral expression of ideas through active engagement in the course.3. Provide students with a foundation for future studies in moral, social and political philosophy, public policy, bioethics, and criminal justice.
1. An ability to identify and think critically about the reasons people have for their moral and political views. 2. An understanding of some of the central problems of moral and political philosophy and proposed answers to these problems.3. Skills in critical thinking and analysis, and an ability to use these skills to research and develop oral and written arguments about moral and political philosophy.
This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attributes specified below:
Critically competent in a core academic discipline of their award
Students know and can critically evaluate and, where applicable, apply this knowledge to topics/issues within their majoring subject.
Employable, innovative and enterprising
Students will develop key skills and attributes sought by employers that can be used in a range of applications.
Biculturally competent and confident
Students will be aware of and understand the nature of biculturalism in Aotearoa New Zealand, and its relevance to their area of study and/or their degree.
Students must attend one activity from each section.
Please check the course LEARN page for further details and updates.
Russ Shafer-Landau. (2021). The Fundamentals of Ethics. (5th ed.). Oxford University Press. Jonathan Wolff. (2015). An Introduction to Political Philosophy. (3rd ed). Oxford University Press.
Domestic fee $844.00
International fee $3,950.00
* All fees are inclusive of NZ GST or any equivalent overseas tax, and do not include any programme level discount or additional course-related expenses.
For further information see