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General Ethics


Pellandini-Simányi L.

Docente titolare del corso


When going on holiday with friends, should everyone contribute to the costs equally, or should the better off friends take over some of the costs? When designing a self-driving car, in the case of an accident, should it be programmed to save the life of the driver or to minimize the total number of casualties? If you would discover that your brother is involved in criminal activities, do you have the moral duty to report him to the police or to protect him? 

Everyday life is beset with choices that involve fundamental ethical questions of right and wrong, fair and unfair at their core. The aim of this course is to enable students to identify the ethical dilemmas that underpin everyday choices and to equip them with analytical tools to understand, analyse and, potentially, resolve them.
The course consists of two connected elements. The philosophical-theoretical element introduces students to key concepts, theories, and debates in the field of ethics and political philosophy, covering utilitarianism, deontology, theories of distributive justice, virtue ethics, communitarianism and the ethics of recognition. The applied element of the course focuses contemporary ethical controversies around climate ethics, the ethics of media representations, affirmative action and digital technologies (technology-mediated morality, ethical dilemmas of algorithmic design and artificial intelligence).


The course enables students

  1. to understand key ethical and political philosophy concepts and theories
  2. to formulate and contrast ethical/moral arguments and distinguish them from descriptive arguments
  3. to identify ethical/moral questions underpinning real life controversies and to apply the theoretical tools learnt in the course to understand and reason about them
  4. to become familiar with key ethical debates in the field of consumption, media, and digitalization
  5. to be more reflexive about their own moral/ethical choices

Modalità di insegnamento

In presenza

Impostazione pedagogico-didattica

  • Lectures
  • Debates among students
  • Group project
  • Readings

Modalità d’esame

  • 30% group project and in-class presentation (in English)
  • 70% written final exam (questions in English, answers may be in English or in Italian)

6 is the threshold for passing the course.


Offerta formativa