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KAFP 3290 - Ethics and Public Policy

Type d'enseignement : Lecture and tutorials

Semester : Autumn 2017-2018

Number of hours : 60

Language of tuition : English


Students will need to spend about two hours preparing for each session (required readings and videos). The other requirements are as follows: questionnaires on the materials to be covered before each session (24%), a session summary due one month after the session in question (20%), a letter of gratitude due at mid-term (6%) and a group project due one month after the final class (50%). This course does not require any previous knowledge of philosophy or ethics

Course Description

This new course is designed to provide basic knowledge in applied ethics to postgraduate public affairs students. Its theoretical framework is based mainly on Anglo-Saxon moral philosophy, with some emphasis on the utilitarian/deontological debate. Practical cases are illustrated using real-life moral dilemmas. After two introductory lectures, each session will address contemporary ethical issues in various areas, such as public health, conflict of interest, transhumanism, immigration, gender discrimination, climate change and animal ethics. The invited lecturers are all leading experts in their respective areas of applied ethics. This course does not require any previous knowledge of philosophy or ethics.


  • GIBERT, Martin (Researcher in Philosophy at GRIN)
  • LE DONNÉ, Margaux (Teaching Assistant)

Pedagogical format

Apart from the two introductory sessions, each class will be composed of a one-hour lecture followed by an additional hour of discussion with the invited speaker. As students will have learned the background information ahead of time from the required texts and videos, they should arrive in class having already begun thinking about that session's ethical issues.

Course validation

A group project (such as a website) on an ethical debate covered in the course will count for 50% of the final score. Questionnaires on the required readings and videos (one questionnaire per session) will count for 24%. An individual summary of one of the sessions will count for 20%. Lastly, a letter of gratitude will count for 6% of the final score.

Required reading

All the texts and videos for this course (required and optional are included in or accessible from the ebook. The texts are articles or excerpts from books by contemporary applied ethics specialists.

Additional required reading

As an optional additional reading, we also highly recommend Peter Singer's book Practical Ethics (Cambridge University Press, 3rd edition, 2011).