Virtue Ethics PHIL4063

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Humanities
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Either Semester 1 or Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

One approach to answering the question, 'How should we live?' focuses on the traits of character that contribute to a well-lived life, including qualities like courage, wisdom, generosity and perseverance. Theories that take this approach are known as virtue theories. This course will look at important examples of virtue theory.


16 x 1hr lectures; 4 x 1hr seminars as scheduled on MyCampus. This is one of the Honours options in Philosophy and may not run every year. The options that are running this session are available on MyCampus.

Requirements of Entry

Successful completion of Junior Honours in Philosophy, and by arrangement to visiting students or students of other Honours programmes who qualify under the University's 25% regulation.

Excluded Courses





Essay 1 (2500 words) - 50%

Essay 2 (2500 words) -50%

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? Not applicable for Honours courses

Reassessments are normally available for all courses, except those which contribute to the Honours classification. For non-Honours courses, students are offered reassessment in all or any of the components of assessment if the satisfactory (threshold) grade for the overall course is not achieved at the first attempt. This is normally grade D3 for undergraduate students and grade C3 for postgraduate students. Exceptionally it may not be possible to offer reassessment of some coursework items, in which case the mark achieved at the first attempt will be counted towards the final course grade. Any such exceptions for this course are described below. 

Course Aims

This course aims to:

■ Introduce students to the academic study of virtue

■ Highlight key features required in a normative ethical theory

■ Provide students an opportunity to continue developing their ability to read challenging texts and to construct and critique arguments.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

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

■ Compare and critically assess different ways of defining the virtues

■ Explain important attempts to define right action in terms of virtue

■ Evaluate attempts to define right action in terms of virtue

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.