Ethics, Society and the Good Life - TH349

Location Term Level Credits (ECTS) Current Convenor 2019-20
Canterbury Autumn
View Timetable
4 15 (7.5)







This module provides a cross-cultural introduction and exploration of philosophical, religious and cultural traditions which have shaped and informed historical and contemporary ethical judgements and notions of the good life. From ancient Asian, Greek, Jewish, Christian and Islamic philosophies inspired by thinkers such as the Buddha, Plato, Jesus and Mohammed, to modern secular philosophies such as humanism and Marxism, humans have articulated a variety of approaches to ethics, politics, spirituality, and the relationship of the individual to society, in many cases developing legal frameworks for the regulation of issues of ethical concern in areas such as human rights, wealth distribution, medical ethics, the environment and human sexuality.


This module appears in:

Contact hours

Total Contact Hours: 20

Method of assessment

Essay (2,000 words) – 50%
Examination (2 hours) - 50%

Indicative reading

Indicative Reading List

Gilligan, C. (2016). In a Different Voice. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Fasching, D., DeChant, D. and Lantigua, D. (2011). Comparative Religious Ethics: A Narrative Approach to Religion and Global Ethics (second edition). Chichester: Wiley and Blackwell.
Malik, K. (2014). The Quest for a Moral Compass. A Global History of Ethics. London: Atlantic Books.
Nussbaum, M. (2001). The Fragility of Goodness (second edition). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

- Demonstrate an understanding of the key values, worldviews, beliefs, assumptions and presuppositions which shape and inform specific ethical perspectives;
- Provide an account of specific philosophical discussions related to ethics within one philosophical/religious tradition examined in this module;
- Compare and contrast ethical approaches in two or more philosophical/religious traditions and/or contexts;
- Demonstrate a general understanding of social construction theory and the influence historical, social and cultural factors may have on ethical judgement and reflection;
- Apply these theoretical frameworks to the understanding of specific ethical judgements related to particular themes or issues.

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