Dates: 11/05/2015 - 07/06/2015
Mode of Delivery: Onsite and Online
Level: 4 (Year 1)
Credit Value: 10 (for regular BA Theology and Religious Study)
The module provides various definitions of Ethics and an introduction to the major categories of ethical laws. It introduces a broad overview of the progressive development of ethical theories, from ancient times through modern theories, including reference to traditional Indian moral systems and laws. It presents a Moral Reasoning Strategy (prerequisites for approaching a moral issue, statement of the issue, moral analysis, proposals for resolution, reflective assessment of the selected resolution). The module explores the following ethical theories: • The Divine Command Theory; • Aristotle’s theory of Virtue; • Aquinas’ Natural Law Theory; • Deontology – Kant’s Categorical Imperative; • Theories of Justice – Rawls’ “Justice as Fairness”; • Classical Utilitarianism, Bentham’s Utilitarianism, and Mill’s rule of Utilitarianism. It compares the merits of the various theories, discussing their limitations, studying the social-historical context surrounding the development of each theory in an effort to evaluate the theory’s application as timeless or time-bound. It discusses Applied Ethics: a consideration of ethical theory as applied to contemporary ethical issues.
Dr. Seth W. Spellman attended the United States Military Academy and later received a degree in Political Science from the State University of New York, Albany. In 1991 he earned a Juris Doctor degree from the UCLA School of Law.
He joined ISKCON in 1973, inspired by the political activism of the In God We Trust Party for Purified Leaders, organized by members of ISKCON. He is a member of the Governing Body Commission and head of the Ministry of Educational Development. He served as the temple president of both Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia; as the Managing Editor of Back to Godhead magazine; and as the North American Secretary of the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust.
He lives in Alachua, Florida, with his wife and two daughters.
This module is part of the BA program for Theology and Religious Study, but it can be taken without special requirements. You may study the BA module as an auditing participant, independent of BA accreditation, without an obligation to complete the final assessment. You would be expected to complete the reading assignments, view/hear the lectures, and take part in the discussion forums. By clicking “Enroll Now” you will be redirected to Bhaktivedanta College Online Campus, where you will proceed with registration and payment. The Paypal fee for this module is €99 fully inclusive. Once your registration is complete, you will have access to the virtual classroom and all learning materials. Upon successfully completing this module, you will be awarded with a Certificate of Attendance mailed to your home address.
Attendance GuidanceStudents are expected to attend all lectures and seminars. Distance learning students will participate in the lectures as explained in section 11 of this module descriptor.
AimsTo enable students to recognize and analyse key moral issues and principles. To familiarize students with key ethical theories and allow them to explore their applications to contemporary ethical debate. To help students deal effectively with moral ambiguity and disagreement.
Methods of Learning and Teaching and Formative AssessmentThe course is delivered mainly in interactive lectures, supplemented by selected readings, which are assigned to the students. Extensive use of hypothetical cases will be used to examine the theories and to enhance the students’ realization and application of the theories. In addition, audiovisual resources will be used. Formative assessment will include participation in class discussions. Appropriate forms of delivery and assessment will be offered to distance learning students to ensure comparability of learning opportunity. Lectures and seminars onsite will be video recorded; within 24 hours the video will be available in the moodle environment. We will also have separate MP3 audio recordings of the class.
Learning outcomesAt the end of this module, students should be able to demonstrate:
- Awareness of ethical issues and demonstrate ability to recognise and analyse ethical problems and principles.
- An understanding of, and ability to identify and analyse key ethical issues in the light of ethical theory.
- The skill and ability to make moral and ethical judgements surrounding issues of justice or environment in the form of a properly structured essay.
- Ability to work collaboratively as a member of a team or group in a way which allows each individual’s talents to be utilised effectively.
Assessment and Reassessment Components and Weighting1) A 1,000-word essay (50%) [LO 1, 2, 3]. 2) A portfolio consisting of EITHER (i) a 1,000-word paper with notes and reflection on a class discussion (CAMPUS students only) OR (ii) a review on an article related to contemporary issues in Ethics (1,000-word equivalent) (DISTANCE students only) (50%) [LO 1, 2, 4]. Reassessment: 1) As Assessment. 2) A review on an article related to contemporary issues in Ethics (1,000-word equivalent) (50%) [LO 1,2,4].
Key referencesAristotle, (2005). Ethics. The Folio Society. Darwall, S. (2002). Deontology. Blackwell. Hursthouse R. (2002). On Virtue Ethics. Oxford University Press. Ingram, D.B., Parks, J.A. (2002). Understanding Ethics. Alpha. Jenkins, J. (2003). Ethics and Religion. Heinemann Advanced Religious Studies. Klemke, E.D. et all (1986). Philosophy: the Basic Issues. 2nd edition: Ch. 1, 2, 4. St. Martin’s Press. Lafollette, H. (2006). Ethics in Practice: An Anthology. Blackwell. Lovett, F. (2011). Rawl’s ‘A Theory of Justice, A Reader’s Guide. Continuum. Mill, J.S. (2008). On Liberty. The Folio Society. Shafer-Landau, R. & Cuneo, T. (2007). Foundations on Ethics: An Anthology. Blackwell.