Accueil > Ethics and public policy

KAFP 3290 - Ethics and Public Policy

Type d'enseignement : Lecture and tutorials

Semester : Autumn 2018-2019

Number of hours : 24

Language of tuition : English, French


No prerequisite.

Course Description

This 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 such as: Should we eat animals? Is there a moral obligation to open borders to immigrants? When are there conflicts of interest? Students will engage with these issues in various ways: by completing the materials (readings and videos) before each session to prepare for the invited lecturer's talk and class discussion, by preparing an individual summary of an assigned issue, and by participating in a group project on an issue of the group's choice. The invited lecturers selected by Martin Gibert are all leading experts in their respective areas of applied ethics. This course does not require any previous knowledge of philosophy or ethics.


  • BESCONT, Amelie (Doctorante à l'IEP de Paris)
  • GIBERT, Martin (Researcher in Philosophy at GRIN)

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.


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 two weeks 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%).

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

Peter Singer's book Practical Ethics (Cambridge University Press, 3rd edition, 2011).