Skip to Content


Last modified: 24 Jun 2020 14:40

Course Overview

How do we know right from wrong? What are our responsibilities towards others? How should we engage with social and political problems and issues? What constitutes a good life? This course provides an opportunity for students to explore the rich tradition of Western ethical reflection and moral formation. It does so by surveying the various ways in which ethics and morality have been understood and approached by major figures in the Western tradition. 

Course Details

Study Type Undergraduate Level 2
Session First Sub Session Credit Points 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits)
Campus Aberdeen Sustained Study No
  • Dr Michael Laffin

What courses & programmes must have been taken before this course?

  • Distance Learning (Studied)
  • Programme Level 2
  • Any Undergraduate Programme (Studied)

What other courses must be taken with this course?


What courses cannot be taken with this course?

Are there a limited number of places available?


Course Description

This course provides an opportunity for students from any or no religious background to explore the Christian and Western philosophical tradition of moral reflection and formation. It does so by surveying how moral questions have been approached by various figures throughout the Western tradition, including Aristotle, Augustine, Aquinas, Kant, Nietzsche, Kierkegaard, Dietrich Bonhoeffer and more. Students will also examine how attending to the views of such theologians and philosophers on their own terms might shed light on contemporary questions and moral dilemmas.

Details, including assessments, may be subject to change until 31 August 2023 for 1st half-session courses and 22 December 2023 for 2nd half-session courses.

Summative Assessments

2x 1000-1200 word essays (20% each)

Online Exam (60%)

Formative Assessment

There are no assessments for this course.

Course Learning Outcomes

Knowledge LevelThinking SkillOutcome
FactualUnderstandTo achieve an overview of the tradition of Western ethics.
ProceduralUnderstandTo gain familiarity with primary texts by major theological and philosophical thinkers.
ReflectionAnalyseBe able to draw on this material in considering and engaging contemporary ethical debates.
ReflectionEvaluateTo develop skills for thinking critically about moral debates and claims.

Compatibility Mode

We have detected that you are have compatibility mode enabled or are using an old version of Internet Explorer. You either need to switch off compatibility mode for this site or upgrade your browser.