Faculty of Arts

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This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2016 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.

Monash University

6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate - Unit

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.



Organisational Unit

South Africa School of Social Sciences


Mr Charles Villet


South Africa

  • Second semester 2016 (Day)


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 concerning the 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.


Within semester assessment: 60%
Exam: 40%

Workload requirements

Minimum total expected workload to achieve the learning outcomes for this unit is 144 hours per semester typically comprising a mixture of scheduled learning activities and independent study. A unit requires on average three/four hours of scheduled activities per week. Scheduled activities may include a combination of teacher directed learning, peer directed learning and online engagement.

See also Unit timetable information

Chief examiner(s)

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


AZA3939, ATS1839, ATS2839