Philosophy Course: Ethics for Life (Sydney)

Philosophy Course: Ethics for Life

Study of the fundamental nature of knowledge, reality, and existence with our Philosophy courses in Sydney.

Philosophy is a discipline that exercises reason and logic in an attempt to understand reality and answer fundamental questions about knowledge, life, ethics & morality and human nature. Learn Philosophy with our Philosophy courses in Sydney.

This philosophy course focused on ethics for life, will consider the questions which are of practical concern to all humans who want to live well with themselves and others. Questions such as: What is the right thing to do? How should I live? Who is a good person? What responsibilities do I have to others in my own community and the global village.

This philosophy course takes both a practical and theoretic approach; we will discuss issues of both a personal and topical nature. The philosophy course presents some of the great thinkers of philosophical history on these issues and also new trends in defining what we mean by the terms ‘ethics’ and ‘morality’. The universal questions are as old as human history but contemporary ethics must also deal with a whole range of new issues, such as: global terrorism; media Ethics; the ethics of spying; the environmental debate.

Learning Aims

This philosophy course on ethics for life aims to:

  1. Give an in-depth introduction to the issues of ethical decision making.
  2. Give an the student ethical tools for making those decisions.
  3. Discuss the ideas of many of the great philosophers on ethics.
  4. Understand the role of emotions in ethical life.
  5. Understand the role of reason in ethical theory.

Learning Outcomes

At the completion of this philosophy course you will have:

  1. A greater knowledge of the range of ethical theories, and how they apply to life situations.
  2. An ability to discuss different philosophical positions on ethics
  3. Be able to discuss both universal and topical issues using the theoretical tools.
  4. Know how to research the topic further.

Course Content

This philosophy course will cover the following topics:

Ethics and Morality

  • The terms ‘ethics’ and ‘morality’ in their contemporary usage and in philosophical theory.
  • Ways of approaching a methodology of ethics: Can you test an ethical theory to see if it works?

"Oh no! Not the trolley problem again"

  • The case for and against thought experiments in Ethical theory.

Evolution and Morality

  • The limits of evolutionary ethics.

Media Ethics: ‘Trust me’ I’m a friend'

  • The Ethics of Interviewing.
  • Ethics of Spying: The foundations of Intelligence gathering.
  • The case for moral intuitionism: can you engage in any moral discussion without firstly drawing on some moral intuition?

The current state of affairs

  • What’s new and what’s not.
  • Ethics after the Information Revolution.

Is there a Postmodern Ethics? Is there an ethics after Postmodernism?

New Trends in ‘Virtue Ethics’.

  • What makes a person a ‘good person’ or a ‘bad person’?
  • Ethics and the Quest for Wisdom.
  • Some new writing on the nature of ‘evil’.

Thomas Negel on ‘moral luck’ and other problematic issues.

Some issues in applied ethics

  • Human enhancement: cognitive enhancement; mood and personality enhancement;
  • Is there a case for drugs in sport?

Ethical conflicts in psychology.

Intended Audience

This philosophy course on ethics for life is suitable for anyone interested in gaining insights into consciousness and the working of the human brain.

Delivery Style

This philosophy course will be delivered as an interactive workshop consisting of an instructor-led lecture, analysis of case studies and group discussions. This training course strives to encourage active and informed participation, group analysis and debate of the facts, issues and insights into our changing world.

Course Prerequisites

This philosophy course has no prerequisites and is open to all members of the public.

Dr Kerry Sanders gained her PhD in philosophy at The University of Sydney and was recently awarded the title of Honorary Associate at the Department of Philosophy, The University of Sydney. She lectured at Sydney College of the Arts University of Sydney for 10 years, giving Hon and Masters Courses in the philosophy of aesthetics. Kerry has taught in the areas of Philosophy of Mind; Ethics; Critical Thinking; Political Philosophy; Contemporary Philosophy of Technology; Phenomenology; and the Philosophy of Music. She has a particular interest in the new developments in neurobiology which have significantly changed ideas about the nature of consciousness and the workings of the human mind. Kerry also participates in the Gifted Students Program, giving philosophy sessions to high school students who show an interest in a broad scope of ideas and wish to develop their thinking abilities through the challenge which philosophy gives. Kerry has also published a book of poetry.

Kerry’s Approach to Philosophy

Philosophy is a living practice which calls us to critique our own pre suppositions, and asks us to assess ideas in relation to our own lives and society. In engaging with the ideas of philosophy we both study philosophy but also do it. Philosophy can be thought of as engaging in an ‘adventure sport for the mind’, in which we can develop critical thinking techniques and learn to use the mind in new and exciting ways. The skills which are developed in the practice of philosophy are also relevant to many other areas of academic study, as well as in the complex living of our ordinary lives. Much of Western philosophy is based on the priority of reason and logic in human thought, however to fully understand the human condition we must also consider the role of experience, emotions and the body.

Other Academic functions

  • Supervision of Postgraduate Seminar Groups.
  • University Preparation Course in Philosophy 2000 – 2015.
  • Sydney College of the Arts University of Sydney.
  • Four years of Australian Postgraduate Research Award.
  • Vera Edith Thorpe Scholarship.
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Course Features

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