Introduction to Ethical Reasoning (BETH5101)


In this unit of study students gain the background in ethical philosophy necessary to engage in advanced analyses of issues in bioethics. Introduction to Ethical Reasoning familiarises students with classical theoretical frameworks such as virtue ethics, Kantian deontology, and utilitarianism that have been influential in the history of Western philosophy. The unit also examines more contemporary approaches to ethics, such as the capabilities approach, feminist ethics, human rights doctrines, and poststructuralist approaches. Across these different theoretical frameworks, discussions will focus on topics such as cultural relativism, universalism in ethics, difference and power.
All assessments must be completed to pass this Unit.

Our courses that offer this unit of study

Further unit of study information


13x2hr seminars or Distance Education (online). Attendance is compulsory if enrolled in face-to-face mode


1x 2000wd essay (35%); 1x 4000wd essay (55%); participation in seminars or online (10%)


Students are provided with a book of readings (in digital format). Supplementary readings can be accessed through the library or online.

Faculty/department permission required?


Unit of study rules

Additional Information

If an insufficient number of students opt to attend seminars on campus, the co-ordinator may choose to teach this Unit of Study in online mode only. Students will be contacted if this occurs.

Study this unit outside a degree

Non-award/non-degree study

If you wish to undertake one or more units of study (subjects) for your own interest but not towards a degree, you may enrol in single units as a non-award student.

Cross-institutional study

If you are from another Australian tertiary institution you may be permitted to underake cross-institutional study in one or more units of study at the University of Sydney.