5510735: FU_Contemporary ethical debates

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Semester:SS 23
Lektionen / Semester:30.0 L / 22.5 h
Selbststudium:67.5 h



Bachelorstudiengang Betriebswirtschaftslehre (01.09.2012)
Fakultätsübergreifende Wahlfächer (01.09.2014)
Masterstudium Information Systems (01.09.2015)
Masterstudium Finance (01.09.2015)
Masterstudium Wirtschaftsinformatik (01.09.2019)
Bachelorstudium Architektur (01.09.2019)
Masterstudium Architektur (01.09.2019)
Masterstudium Entrepreneurship und Management (01.09.2020)
Masterstudium Finance (01.09.2020)
Bachelorstudiengang Betriebswirtschaftslehre (01.09.2021)


To practice philosophy means to engage with fundamental and complex issues about human life and society at large. This course will be looking into four contemporary issues discussed among ethicists and political philosophers: animal experimentation, euthanasia, immigration, and world poverty.
- Animal experimentation: Should experiments be practiced on animals? What are the philosophical positions regarding this issue? How are those positions justified?
- Euthanasia: How to justify at all the practice of euthanasia in light of the principle of sanctity of life? What arguments are pro-euthanasia putting forth to justify their position?
- Immigration: how to understand the issue of immigration in the context of sovereignty of states and freedom of movement of individuals? On which arguments are based the positions on open and/or closed borders?
- World poverty: How to understand world poverty in the context of global justice? Is world poverty a consequence of unjust distribution? Do wealthy people have obligations to assist the poor?


Participants will be able to:

  • Familiarize with the philosophical methods and approaches to deal with these complex issues.
  • Relate the theoretical standpoints to practical issues.
  • Understand the questions raised by these issues of concrete life-situations.
  • Develop critical thinking.
  • Formulate personal positions and arguments supporting it.



Presentations, reading assignments, discussions and a written examination (Essay).

In order to be well prepared to write the final Essay, students are highly recommended to attend at least two of the following assignments:

  • 25.02.2023: Written commentary on two texts chosen by the lecturer
  • 04.03.2023: Written commentary on two texts chosen by the lecturer
  • 11.03.2023: Written commentary on two texts chosen by the lecturer
  • 18.03.2023: Written commentary on two texts chosen by the lecturer

More details on these assignments will be given at the first lecture (18.02.2023) and in the presentation thereof.

Voraussetzungen (inhaltlich)

No prior knowledge on philosophy is required. But participants should have a genuine interest in these four issues.


Simon Blackburn, Ethics: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford: OUP, 2001).

Andrew I. Cohen, Christopher H. Wellman, Eds. Contemporary Debates in Applied Ethics (Oxford: Blackwell, 2005).

Peter Singer, Practical Ethics, 3rd Ed. (Cambridge: CUP, 2011).

Recommended literature:
Relevant Web-resources and academic articles (for each topic) will be available on Moodle.



Written examination: Essay

Essay exam (2500 - 3000 words, specific criteria will follow)

For the final Essay: Please sign in for the exam at the latest on 15.03.2023.
Sign in for the lecture series and the examination separately.

The topics for the Essay will be announced on the 18.03.2023.
Deadline to hand-in your Essay is 10.04.2023 at 23:55 (CET)


see Prüfungsmodalitäten


Fakultätsübergreifendes Wahlfach:
Es gelten spezielle Anmeldemodalitäten.


18.02.202308:30 - 14:00H3
25.02.202308:30 - 14:00H3
04.03.202308:30 - 14:00H3
11.03.202308:30 - 14:00H3
18.03.202308:30 - 14:00H3


  • P-FU_Contemporary ethical debates (SS 23, bewertet)