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.

Issues In Contemporary Society DUMF2010

  • Academic Session: 2022-23
  • School: School of Interdisciplinary Studies
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 2 (SCQF level 8)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 1
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes
  • Available to Erasmus Students: Yes

Short Description

Issues in Contemporary Society (ICS) is a lively examination of some of today's most contentious issues and explores and evaluates some of the many perspectives from which they can be understood. In previous years these have ranged from the rights and wrongs of euthanasia, the benefits and weakness of representative democracy, the legitimacy (or otherwise) of civil disobedience and direct action, the nature of animal rights, and humans' appropriate relationship to the natural environment.

The aim of the course is not to supply a 'right' answer to these controversial questions; rather, it draws upon and helps to inform students' existing views and to introduce them to concepts in philosophy in general, and ethics and political theory in particular. Through reflection, students are expected to formulate rational arguments, supported by properly sourced research backed up by conscious, informed theoretical positions in relation to each of the topics studied.


Each week: Lecture 1 (two hours); Lecture 2 (two hours); Tutorial (one hour).

Requirements of Entry


Excluded Courses



Class Test - short answer and/or multiple choice questions (15%)
Class Essay - 1500 +/- 10 % (35
Other coursework (viva of approximately 10 minutes) - based on essay and essa
y feedback (10%)
Examination (1.5 hours) (4

Main Assessment In: December

Course Aims

This course aims to:
(i) Encourage the student to develop a good critical awareness of a range of complex issues that directly affect the daily
lives of Scottish people today.
(ii) Familiarise students to distinctive theoretical approaches arising from ethics, social theory and political philos
ophy as they apply to contemporary issues.
(iii) Assist students in recognising the differences within and similarities between distin
ctive theoretical perspectives.
(iv) Foster and dev
elop oral and written presentational skills.
(v) Assist the students in developing transferable skills by encouraging group working and research skills using IT and library sources.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

Upon completion of the course students should be able to:
(i) Competently describe a contemporary issue (or issues) and identify theoretical posit
ions that are in conflict.
(ii) Critically evaluate theoretical positions in
relation to each of the issues.
(iii) Articulate and defend their own position in relation to these issues, with reference to identifiable political philosophies or ethical theo
(iv) Identify, and cite, pertinent sources relevant to the topic.

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.