PHIL41660 Moral Agency

Academic Year 2021/2022

Are all human beings moral agents? How can we best grow and develop as persons and moral agents? In what senses does moral agency require freedom? What role do reason and emotions play in moral actions? In what ways do we and should we depend and rely on family members, friends, and others in society for personal and moral development? What role does education play? Did 17th and 18th century women face practical hurdles that restricted their freedom and moral agency?
Questions like these will be the main focus of this seminar, which focuses on seventeenth and eighteenth-century philosophical debates concerning moral agency. We will discuss selected texts by John Locke, Mary Astell, Damaris Masham, Adam Smith, Sophie de Grouchy, Thomas Reid, and their contemporaries. Through a close study of their writings we will examine issues concerning agency that continue to be relevant in philosophical debates in ethics, social philosophy, moral psychology, philosophy of mind, and metaphysics.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

Students who successfully complete this module should be able to
• REFLECT critically upon early modern philosophy and influential 17th and 18th century approaches to moral agency and related issues in ethics, social philosophy, moral psychology, philosophy of mind, and metaphysics.
• IDENTIFY and analyse philosophical arguments in historical texts.
• INTERPRET philosophical texts that were written in the 17th and 18th century, show awareness of different possible interpretations and learn to assess the strengths and weaknesses of different interpretations
• WRITE well-structured and well-argued research essays that explain and critically assess philosophical views and critically position your interpretation in relation to other interpretations in the literature
• ARTICULATE your own response to philosophical views, support them by reasons, and defend them in light of criticism

Indicative Module Content:

This seminar focuses on seventeenth and eighteenth-century philosophical debates concerning moral agency. We will discuss selected texts by John Locke, Mary Astell, Damaris Masham, Adam Smith, Sophie de Grouchy, Thomas Reid, and their contemporaries. Through a close study of their writings we will examine issues concerning agency that continue to be relevant in philosophical debates in ethics, social philosophy, moral psychology, philosophy of mind, and metaphysics.

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours
Seminar (or Webinar)

24

Autonomous Student Learning

226

Total

250

Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
This module is an interactive discussion focused seminar. The module coordinator will prepare handouts that contain relevant background information, highlight main issues in the philosophical debates, and include suggestions for topics that can be discussed in class or developed in essays. Students are asked to prepare one short presentation each, which they can use to develop ideas for essays. The module coordinator will provide guidance on how to prepare and write good research essays in philosophy throughout the semester.
 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.


Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
 
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Essay: 4000 words final research essay Coursework (End of Trimester) n/a Graded No

70

Presentation: short presentation focusing on selected readings Throughout the Trimester n/a Graded No

5

Assignment: Outline of final essay (max. 2 pages) Week 9 n/a Graded No

5

Essay: 1500 words mid-term essay. Week 7 n/a Graded No

20


Carry forward of passed components
No
 
Resit In Terminal Exam
Spring No
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Students are invited to discuss their assignments with me prior to submission dates. Students will receive individual feedback on all assessment components. Feedback on presentations, mid-term essay, and outline of final research essay is meant to help students to be well prepared for the final research essay at the end of the trimester.

Timetabling information is displayed only for guidance purposes, relates to the current Academic Year only and is subject to change.
 
Autumn
     
Seminar Offering 1 Week(s) - Autumn: All Weeks Wed 11:00 - 12:50