Philosophy and Ethics

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This course is concerned with pursuing and answering questions of truth, knowledge, meaning and reality and exploring crucial ethical issues facing humanity. The approach taken is global, contemporary and applied, and enables you to develop as an analytical, critical and systematic thinker.

Philosophy and Ethics is offered as a Major, Joint or Minor component of a Combined degree. If you want to combine it with Study of Religions you should take the Religions, Philosophies and Ethics specialised award.

Why study Philosophy and Ethics?

‘What I love about this course is being able to discuss and explore topical issues within philosophy and religions with an open mind. Bath Spa has a very good reputation and there is a very personal feel to it’

Philosophy and Ethics at Bath Spa is concerned with pursuing and answering the kind of questions that lie behind all academic disciplines and subjects, for example:

  • what is truth?  
  • what can one know?
  • what is ultimately real?
  • what is the meaning of life?
  • how should one live in the world?

Arguably, nothing is outside the reach of philosophical and ethical enquiry.  All human activities are inevitably shaped by particular assumptions, beliefs and values.  It is the aim of philosophy and ethics to explore the nature of those assumptions, beliefs and values.  For example: what precisely is it that shapes our understanding of mind, religion or society?  In what ways are our thoughts limited by our environment, history or language?  How should one evaluate human relationships, the past or works of art?  

By developing and practising philosophical and ethical analysis and enquiry, you can explore any area of human interest with a level clarity, coherence and rigour unrivalled by other academic disciplines and subjects.

Philosophy and Ethics at Bath Spa University has developed a distinctive identity within the national marketplace for undergraduate philosophy provision.

World Philosophies: The programme is designed to allow you to explore philosophy and ethics as a global phenomenon.  That is, in addition to teaching you about Western’ philosophical and ethical perspectives, the subject introduces you to the philosophies and ethics of the Indian subcontinent and China.  This approach challenges the Anglo-American and analytic focus of philosophy departments in the UK and undermines the assertion that ‘Philosophy speaks Greek and only Greek’.

Doing Philosophy: Rather than teaching philosophy primarily as a history of ideas, Philosophy and Ethics at Bath Spa is concerned with enabling you to develop as analytical, critical and systematic thinkers.  The programme has been constructed to foreground teaching and learning events that promote the formation of subject-specific and employment-facing thinking and practical skills.

Contemporary / Applied: The programme is aimed at exploring how philosophical and ethical analysis can be applied to a range of contemporary debates, issues and problems.  Staff research interests usefully inform teaching and learning events at this point, notably through applied projects and the teaching of such topics as the ethics of war, ecological ethics and the philosophy of gender.

Course structure

In Year 1 we offer a core module which introduces philosophical and ethical enquiry, providing you with the tools of philosophical and ethical analysis, and critically examining core concepts in epistemology, metaphysics and ethics. There is an optional module in global religions and philosophies, looking at major traditions and movements, and key thinkers.

The core module in Year 2 focuses on philosophy in Indian and Chinese traditions. Optional modules include ethics within religious and humanist traditions, on topics such as medical ethics and social justice, and philosophy, religions and the environment, on topics such ecological degradation and nonhuman rights

There is also a Special Project in which you can explore topics of your choice, engage in a placement or project relevant to employment, or take part in a summer school in another country such as Korea.

In the third year, options include a philosophical module on the meaning of human existence, encompassing such topics as absurdity and purpose, identity and mortality and a module on religion, philosophy and gender. There is also a special research project which could focus on Applied Ethics, a Dissertation which allows for in-depth concentration on a topic of your choice, or an employment related project.

 

NOTE: You will need to study another subject to study with Philosophy and Ethics.

 

 

Modules

 

 

Year 1:

  • Beyond Belief: Introduction to the Study of Religions and Spiritualities (core module);
  • Truth and Value: Introduction to Philosophical and Ethical Enquiry (core module);
  • Global Religions and Philosophies

Year 2:

  • Darshana, Dharma and Dao: Philosophy in the Indian and Chinese Traditions (core module);
  • Ethics, Religion and Humanism: Contemporary Moral Dilemmas;
  • Special Project;
  • Philosophy, Religions and the Environment

 

Year 3:

  • Dissertation;
  • Employment related placement (alternative to Dissertation);
  • Religion, Philosophy and Gender;
  • Life and Meaning;
  • Advanced Special Project;
  • Culture and Counterculture: from Orientalism to the ‘Hippy Trail’.

Course assessment

Mainly by coursework such as essays, reports, projects, presentations, on- line discussion board participation. There are also some timed elements such as critical analyses or examinations.

The approach taken to the study of Philosophy and Ethics at Bath Spa is distinctive in taking a global approach. Philosophies studied include South and East Asian philosophies as well as Western approaches. We stress ‘doing philosophy’ and developing your own abilities to argue a case and analyse appropriate evidence. We apply philosophical and ethical thinking to address contemporary concerns such as gender and sexuality, environmental ethics, war and conflict and medical ethics. There are opportunities to follow up your own interests or career plans in a variety of special projects, employment related placements and a dissertation.

We offer excellent teaching with attention to individuals, and staff are active in research and scholarship in their specialist areas. We welcome non-traditional entrants and mature students.

Teaching methods

We offer excellent teaching with attention to individuals, and staff are active in research and scholarship in their specialist areas. We welcome non-traditional entrants and mature students.

Application method

All full time applications are through UCAS

International students should visit our international pages for more information about our entry requirements, fees and scholarships, and student support.

Course enquiries

Please contact our Admissions team (see above)

Typical offer range for UK / EU applicants

260–300 UCAS Tariff points.

Career opportunities

Philosophy and Ethics develops many skills valued by employers such as clarity and precision in thinking, the ability to recognise unnoticed assumptions, the expertise to present a strong case, and to see the ethical issues involved in everyday decisions. Graduate careers for which Philosophy is good preparation include: law, civil service, local government, journalism, financial institutions, management, and IT. Some of some of our students have gone on to teach Religious Education, Philosophy and/or Citizenship in secondary or primary schools, where there is a shortage of specialists. Others have gone on to further academic study.

Since 2010, employers such as Global Xchange. Ethicall, Citizens' Advice Bureau and Birmingham University have recruited graduates from this course. Students have also gone into roles including Healthcare Assistant, Fundraiser,  Children's Home Activities Coordinator and Assistant to the Communications Director.

What students say...

Lindsay Horler, Philosophy & Ethics with Study of Religions, Year 3:

“I chose to study this particular course because I was interested in studying Eastern as well as Western philosophy, and Bath Spa is probably the only University in the UK which offers such an in-depth enquiry into Eastern philosophical thought. While studying Philosophy & Ethics with Study of Religions at Bath Spa I have not only enhanced my intellectual skills, but I have also developed as a person. By thinking critically about philosophical ideas from Anglo-American, European and global perspectives, I have been able to think critically about my own philosophical beliefs.

What I enjoy most about Bath Spa University is that I can speak to my course tutors whenever I have questions to do with my course, or anything else for that matter.”