GV254-6-SP-CO:
Ethics and Public Policy

The details
2024/25
Government
Colchester Campus
Spring
Undergraduate: Level 6
Current
Monday 13 January 2025
Friday 21 March 2025
15
17 May 2022

 

Requisites for this module
(none)
(none)
(none)
(none)

 

(none)

Key module for

DIPLL20009 Politics

Module description

Should murderers be executed? Should cocaine and heroin be legalized? Is torture ever morally justified? Is abortion morally wrong? Should pornography be banned? Should prostitution be legal? Are laws permitting the slaughter of animals unjust? This module assesses these and other questions in an intellectual search for the moral principles that ought to govern public policy.

Module aims

1. To introduce you to, and to stimulate your interest in, the study of ethics and public policy.

2. To equip you with an understanding of the relevance of theoretical debates about ethicsto public policy controversies.

3. To encourage you to question your own beliefs about what ethical public policy requires.

Module learning outcomes

1. To understand the nature of ethical argumentation and its value to the study of politics.

2. To engage in clear verbal and written normative argumentation. You will acquire a greater confidence and ability to express your ethical beliefs.

3. To scrutinise arguments made by politicians and other prominent figures in the media about ethics and public policy.

Module information

No additional information available.

Learning and teaching methods

This module will be taught over 2 hours per week

Bibliography

  • Velleman, David. (1992) 'Against the Right to Die', in Journal of Medicine and Philosophy. vol. 17 (6) , pp.665-681
  • Jeff McMahan. (2008) 'Torture in Principle and in Practice', in Public Affairs Quarterly. vol. 22 (2) , pp.91-108
  • Martha C. Nussbaum. (1998) '“Whether From Reason Or Prejudice”: Taking Money For Bodily Services', in The Journal of Legal Studies: The University of Chicago Press. vol. 27, pp.693-723
  • Waldron, Jeremy. (2010) Torture, terror, and trade-offs: philosophy for the White House, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Thomson, Judith Jarvis. (1999) 'Physician-Assisted Suicide: Two Moral Arguments', in Ethics. vol. 109 (3) , pp.497-518
  • Judith Jarvis Thomson. (1971) 'A Defense of Abortion', in Philosophy & Public Affairs. vol. 1 (1) , pp.47-66
  • Rae Langton. (1993) 'Speech Acts and Unspeakable Acts', in Philosophy & Public Affairs: Wiley. vol. 22, pp.293-330
  • Elizabeth S. Anderson. (1990) 'Is Women's Labor a Commodity?', in Philosophy & Public Affairs. vol. 19 (1) , pp.71-92
  • Ben Juratowitch. (2008) 'Torture Is Always Wrong', in Public Affairs Quarterly. vol. 22 (2) , pp.81-90
  • Jeffrey H. Reiman. (1985) 'Justice, Civilization, and the Death Penalty: Answering van den Haag', in Philosophy & Public Affairs. vol. 14 (2) , pp.115-148
  • Singer, Peter. (1995) Animal liberation, London: Pimlico.
  • Wolff, Jonathan. (2011) Ethics and public policy: a philosophical inquiry, Abingdon: Routledge.
  • Shue, Henry. (2005) 'Torture in Dreamland: Disposing of the Ticking Bomb', in Case Western Reserve Journal of International Law. vol. 37, pp.231-239

The above list is indicative of the essential reading for the course. The library makes provision for all reading list items, with digital provision where possible, and these resources are shared between students. Further reading can be obtained from this module's reading list.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Coursework weighting
Coursework   Online Quiz    35% 
Coursework   Essay    65% 

Exam format definitions

  • Remote, open book: Your exam will take place remotely via an online learning platform. You may refer to any physical or electronic materials during the exam.
  • In-person, open book: Your exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer to any physical materials such as paper study notes or a textbook during the exam. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, open book (restricted): The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer only to specific physical materials such as a named textbook during the exam. Permitted materials will be specified by your department. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, closed book: The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may not refer to any physical materials or electronic devices during the exam. There may be times when a paper dictionary, for example, may be permitted in an otherwise closed book exam. Any exceptions will be specified by your department.

Your department will provide further guidance before your exams.

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%

Reassessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr James Christensen, email: james.christensen@essex.ac.uk.
TBC
Module Supervisor: James Christensen james.christensen@essex.ac.uk / Module Administrator: govquery@essex.ac.uk

 

Availability
Yes
No
No

External examiner

Dr Arzu Kibris
University of Warwick
Associate Professor
Dr Katharine Dommett
The University of Sheffield
Senior Lecturer
Resources
Available via Moodle
Of 64 hours, 0 (0%) hours available to students:
64 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).

 

Further information
Government

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