PHL202 Ethics (8)

In this subject, students are introduced to a range of ethical theories, which they will apply to important moral questions. Central theoretical questions include: Must we always bring about the morally best outcome?, Are we ever permitted to prioritise ourselves over others?, and Does the duty to bring about the best outcome ever conflict with the moral rights of others?. Students are given the option to choose a specialised module, where ethical theory is applied to address real-world dilemmas. Dilemmas will be chosen from a range of contexts, including: criminal justice, climate change, resource allocation, care for vulnerable individuals, and biomedical ethics.


Session 1 (30)
Wagga Wagga Campus

Continuing students should consult the SAL for current offering details: PHL202. 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

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this subject, students should:
  • be able to critically evaluate a range of ethical theories;
  • be able to demonstrate an understanding of the central moral notions deployed in these theories;
  • be able to employ moral reasoning skills in evaluating a relevant field of practice;
  • be able to find solutions to moral dilemmas; and
  • be able to apply theoretical ethical notions in concrete decision making.


This subject will cover the following topics:
  • Consequentialism
  • Deontology
  • Doing, allowing, and double effect
  • The trolley problem
  • Virtue ethics
  • Why be moral?
  • Criminal justice: navigating retribution and rehabilitation
  • Climate change and individual duties
  • Just resource allocation in a world of scarcity
  • Bioethics
  • Paternalism and our duties towards vulnerable individuals

Indicative Assessment

The following table summarises the assessment tasks for the online offering of PHL202 in Session 1 2020. 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: May 2021. The University reserves the right to vary the information at any time without notice.