Moral Philosophy

Undergraduate course

Course description

Objectives and Content

Students will become familiar with some key debates in contemporary ethics concerning, for example, how we should live, how we should treat others, and what it means to act ethically. Central theories in philosophical ethics will be explored through applied topics such as issues surrounding life and death, the environment, and global ethical challenges. The course is intended for all students who wish to reflect deeply on these issues and to strengthen their expertise in ethics.

Learning Outcomes


After completing the course, the student should have:

  • An overview of some central themes and debates in contemporary ethics and moral philosophy;
  • A familiarity with key theories and scholarly literature related to these themes and debates;
  • An understanding of concepts and arguments relevant to these themes and debates; and
  • An understanding of how these themes and debates connect to each other and to current ethical and social issues.
  • An expanded understanding of a small subset of the themes covered in the course.


After completing the course, the student should be able to:

  • Describe key concepts, positions, theories, and traditions in ethics and moral philosophy;
  • Recognize the role these concepts, positions, theories, and traditions play in scholarly and public debates;
  • Reconstruct and evaluate arguments advanced in support of different positions or theories in ethics and moral philosophy;
  • Recognize practical implications of theoretical positions;
  • Reflect on, and form well-reasoned judgements about themes and debates in ethics and moral philosophy;
  • Communicate understanding and ideas related to the course content both orally and in writing.
  • Outline and write short critical essays engaging with the course material.


After completing the course, the student should be competent to:

  • Participate in scholarly debates in ethics and moral philosophy.
  • Contribute philosophical insights to public debates about ethical and social issues.
  • Study ethics and moral philosophy at a more advanced level, e.g. master level.

Level of Study


Semester of Instruction

Recommended Previous Knowledge
Approved first semester studies. Specialized study courses presuppose good background knowledge in philosophy, and students should normally have finished their exams in all 100-level cumpolsary courses. A good proficiency in English is necessary since it ought to be assumed that much of the prescribed reading will be in English.
Credit Reduction due to Course Overlap
FIL228 overlaps 10 credits with FIL128 and FIL328
Access to the Course
The course is open to students admitted at the University of Bergen
Teaching and learning methods

Students will spend approximately 20 hours in class over the course of the semester, and approximately 10 hours per week outside of class working on course-related tasks. Class time will involve lectures or presentations by the instructor, discussions, and group work.

Over the course of the semester, there will be various opportunities for students to receive feedback on smaller formative assignments from the instructor and/or their peers.

The number of gatherings may be reduced if the number of students attending the course is less than 4. In that case, the students will be compensated with individual or group tutoring.

Compulsory Assignments and Attendance

An approval of compulsory requirements is valid for three semesters, including the semester in which the approval is given.

Students must complete at least 7 formative assignments (around 500 words each). Deadlines are set by the department.

Forms of Assessment

A semester assignment paper of 3000- 5000 words (not including table of contents, list of references etc.) The topic of the paper must be approved in advance by the teacher of the course. The semester assignment paper will be assessed at the end of the semester.

Exams in the course are held every semester.

Grading Scale
From A to F
Course Evaluation
The teaching will be evaluated in every semester the course is taught.
Department of Philosophy