PHL402 Ethics (8)

Students are introduced to a range of theories of ethics and central moral notions, including autonomy, justice, utility and sympathy. This theory is deployed in the interpretation and analysis of professional life. Students are introduced to the notion of a moral dilemma, and, more generally, the way in which theoretical notions can inform concrete ethical decision-making.


Session 1 (30)
Wagga Wagga Campus

Continuing students should consult the SAL for current offering details: PHL402. Where differences exist between the Handbook and the SAL, the SAL should be taken as containing the correct subject offering details.

Subject Information

Grading System



One session


School of Humanities and Social Sciences

Enrolment Restrictions

Not available to students who have completed PHL202 Ethical Theory.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this subject, students should:
  • Have an advanced understanding of a range of ethical theories;
  • Have an advanced theoretical understanding of the central moral notions deployed in these theories;
  • Have a nuanced understanding of the moral bases of the professions, and the relevance of ethical theory to professional life;
  • Have a deep understanding of the notion of a moral dilemma;
  • Be able to deploy complex theoretical ethical notions in concrete decision-making.


This subject will cover the following topics:
  • Consequentialism
  • Consequentialism and Group Morality
  • Deontology
  • Doing, Allowing, and Double Effect
  • The Trolley Problem
  • Virtue Ethics
  • Why Be Moral?
  • Skepticism about Moral Facts
  • Moral Relativism
  • Expressivism
  • Moral Realism

Indicative Assessment

The following table summarises the assessment tasks for the online offering of PHL402 in Session 1 2019. Please note this is a guide only. Assessment tasks are regularly updated and can also differ to suit the mode of study (online or on campus).

Item Number
Value %
4 mini-essays
Online engagement
Long essay

The information contained in the CSU Handbook was accurate at the date of publication: July 2020. The University reserves the right to vary the information at any time without notice.