Morality, Culture and Relativism

Course Type: Lecture
Study Focus: VMC
Term: Spring

Teacher: Michael CAMPBELL

Course Code: JK09002

In this course we will consider issues around the understanding and evaluation of other cultures.


How far can moral judgements cross cultural contexts? What is necessary for cross-cultural judgements to be both true and appropriate? Under what conditions can we responsibly judge the behaviour of others? Is belief in a universal human nature either necessary or sufficient for justifying a stock of common moral commitments? We will
consider these questions through examining how moral philosophers have dealt with issues around relativism and the representation of individual and cultural difference. Along the way we will consider the plausibility of cultural relativism, and will examine what function evaluative judgements might serve when they cross cultural or temporal contexts. As well as introducing students to a central issue in moral philosophy, participants in this course will have the opportunity to engage with important contemporary thinkers working
at the forefront of issues around the nature and limits of moral judgement, including Cora Diamond and David Wong.
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Course Information

Module: Focus 1 – Foundations
CATS Requirements: MA 1st year or above

Day/Period: Thur/2
Location: Lec. 8
Credits: 2


Course Goals

  • To introduce students to philosophical controversies surrounding relativism, objectivity and the understanding of other cultures.
  • To familiarise students with some of the aims, methods and problems of contemporary moral philosophy.
  • To develop students’ ability to reason critically, to construct and critique arguments and to write philosophical essays in English.

Course Schedule and Evaluation

For a detailed course schedule, please visit KULASIS or the PandA eLearning platform.

Evaluation will be conducted via quiz (40%) and final essay (60%).