Faculty of Arts

Monash University

Undergraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2013 only. For students planning to study the unit, please refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course or area of study.

print version

6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

To find units available for enrolment in the current year, you must make sure you use the indexes and browse unit tool in the current edition of the Handbook.

FacultyFaculty of Arts
Organisational UnitSchool of Social Science, South Africa
OfferedSouth Africa Second semester 2013 (Day)
Coordinator(s)Mr Charles Villet


The unit adopts a global perspective but looks at issues through a South African and African lens. The theories of utilitarianism and deontology will be examined within the South African context and judged according to ethical dilemmas that arise within the country. Key to this examination will be a discussion of the role of friendship and family within ethical decision-making. A major focus of discussion is the opposition between consequentialist theories, such as utilitarianism, which judge rightness and wrongness solely in terms of consequences, and the Kantian theory of deontology which judges rightness and wrongness according to whether the act is in accordance with rational will. The question that will guide this discussion is whether these theories can account for the agent-centred reasons which arise from relations of love and friendship and which seem to have the potential to conflict with impartial moral requirements?


  1. Capacity to critically analyse central ethical theories such as consequentialism and Kantianism.
  2. Have developed skills important to the discipline of philosophy, such as argument analysis, textual interpretation, and argument construction.
  3. Capacity to develop a theoretical position and argument concerningthe main theories and arguments in meta-ethics.
  4. Be able to critically assess society and its accompanying ethical problems in South Africa from the point of view of the unit.


Written work: 50% (2250 words)
Tutorial Participation: 10%
Exam: 40%

Chief examiner(s)

Contact hours

One 2-hour lecture and one 1-hour tutorial per week

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study