Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Course Description

  • Course Name


  • Host University

    Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

  • Location

    Amsterdam, The Netherlands

  • Area of Study

    Ethics, Philosophy

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • ECTS Credits

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
  • Overview

    1 Acquire a broad understanding of the most influential theories within the field of normative ethics, including utilitarianism, deontology, and virtue ethics.
    2 Acquire a broad understanding of the most influential theories within the field of meta-ethics, including relativism, moral realism, skepticism and theories of moral responsibility.
    3 Understand the relative advantages and disadvantages of these theories.
    4 Use insights from various theories in normative ethics to analyze contemporary moral problems.
    5 Creatively express this knowledge and understanding in the context of a short, accessible, spoken exercise that takes the form of a podcast episode.

    Ethics is a branch of philosophy that focuses on questions, such as “In virtue of what are actions right or wrong (morally obligatory, morally permissible, or morally impermissible)?”, “What makes a certain state of affairs good or bad?”, and “What constitutes a good life?”. In this course, we will critically explore different theories that have been developed which offer answers to these questions. Along the way spend time examining how these ethical theories apply to contemporary moral issues, such as abortion, animal welfare, famine relief, and many others. A related issue that we examine is whether we are morally responsible for our actions, in the sense of being praise- or blameworthy for them. We also discuss several epistemic, metaphysical and semantic questions, such as whether we can know moral claims, whether they are objectively rather than relatively true, and what their semantic features are.


    Midterm: 20%
    Short lecture quizzes: 15%
    Final exam: 40%
    Podcast episode 25%

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

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