PHIL236-23S1 (C) Semester One 2023


15 points

Start Date: Monday, 20 February 2023
End Date: Sunday, 25 June 2023
Withdrawal Dates
Last Day to withdraw from this course:
  • Without financial penalty (full fee refund): Sunday, 5 March 2023
  • Without academic penalty (including no fee refund): Sunday, 14 May 2023


In this course, we look at concepts and theories in normative ethics and metaethics. Normative ethics deals with the foundations of moral theory. What determines whether an action is right or wrong, good or bad? What principles should we live by? Utilitarianism, deontology and virtue ethics provide three influential answers. Part I of the course studies these theories in detail, considering the ideas of Mill, Kant and Aristotle along the way. Metaethics deals with second-order questions about ethical thought and talk. Are there moral facts and moral truths? Could moral judgements be objectively true? What is the relation between moral facts and scientific or natural facts? How, if at all, can we acquire moral knowledge? What role do the emotions play in moral judgement? Part II of the course focuses on these and similar questions.

Not only is philosophy one of the most interesting and challenging subjects, it teaches skills that employers want: thinking outside the box, logic, ethics, and excellent writing and communication skills. At UC you can do either a BA or a BSc in Philosophy, or combine a Philosophy major with the LLB, BCom, or another degree.

BA or BSc students who major in philosophy must normally take at least two 100-level PHIL courses, plus at least three 200-level PHIL courses (including PHIL233), plus at least 60-points from 300-level PHIL courses (including at least one course from this list: PHIL305; PHIL310; PHIL311; and PHIL317). For more information see the BA regulations and/or the BSc regulations.

Learning Outcomes

  • In this course you will learn:
  • Understanding of influential ideas and theories about ethics.
  • The acquisition of critical thinking and analytical skills through engagement with moral questions.
  • The ability to use these skills to produce strong, persuasive written work.
  • The ability to communicate reasoned arguments in the academic context and beyond.
    • University Graduate Attributes

      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.

      Globally aware

      Students will comprehend the influence of global conditions on their discipline and will be competent in engaging with global and multi-cultural contexts.


Any 15 points at 100 level from PHIL, or
any 60 points at 100 level from the Schedule V of the BA.


Course Coordinator

Michael-John Turp

Contact Michael-John for further information.


Assessment Due Date Percentage 
Essay 1 30%
Essay 2 30%
Final exam 40%

Please check the course LEARN page for further details and updates.

Course links

Library portal
Philosophy Essay Writing Guide (available to all enrolled Philosophy students)

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $821.00

International fee $3,750.00

* 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 Humanities .

All PHIL236 Occurrences

  • PHIL236-23S1 (C) Semester One 2023