Please note: there may be some adjustments to the teaching arrangements published in the course catalogue for 2020-21. Given current circumstances related to the Covid-19 pandemic it is anticipated that some usual arrangements for teaching on campus will be modified to ensure the safety and wellbeing of students and staff on campus; further adjustments may also be necessary, or beneficial, during the course of the academic year as national requirements relating to management of the pandemic are revised.

Morality, nature and beauty: An introduction to the philosophy of value ADED11566E

  • Academic Session: 2020-21
  • School: Short Courses
  • Credits: 10
  • Level: Level 1 (SCQF level 7)
  • Typically Offered: Full Year
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes
  • Available to Erasmus Students: No

Short Description

Can moral claims like "it's wrong to steal" be true in one culture but false in another? What makes something right or wrong anyway? How do we resolve moral controversies over such things as euthanasia, abortion, and the treatment of non-human animals? And what's the relationship between moral values like right and wrong and aesthetic values like beauty? Is anything ever objectively good, or beautiful, or is it all in the eye of the beholder? This course addresses these and related questions by examining the answers that have been offered by major philosophical figures, both historical and contemporary.


Offered in both Block 2 and Block 4

2 hours per week for 10 weeks


Requirements of Entry


Excluded Courses





One essay of 2,000 words assessing one of the philosophical views discussed in the course, to be submitted by the final class meeting.

Course Aims

This course aims to:

■ Develop students' critical and analytical skills through engagement with philosophical discourse.

■  Introduce students to some of the key debates in meta, normative, and applied ethics, and the philosophy of art.

■ Acquaint students with some basic elements of philosophical method.

■ Equip students with some of the elements of scholarly method and theoretical understanding required to pursue further study in this and other scholarly areas

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:

■ Demonstrate a critical understanding of the relevant philosophical texts.

■ Describe and analyse some of the core concepts in meta, normative, and applied ethics, and the philosophy of art.

■ Recognise the connections between the debates in meta, normative, and applied ethics, and the philosophy of art.

■ Assess philosophical arguments with regards to their validity and soundness.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.