Potential MA topics in Practical Philosophy
Areas of expertise
The Chair of Practical Philosophy combines theoretical ethics with extensive research in the field of applied ethics. We collaborate with Centre for Ethics - an interdisciplinary institution that combines our research with that of seven other faculties. Our chair will give students the opportunity to engage directly with real-world issues, including the ethics of sports, abortion, social justice or the ethics of education, to name a few. The breadth of our expertise in applied ethics is demonstrated both in our research and in teaching. We provide courses in bioethics, medical ethics, environmental ethics, ethics of engineering, ethics of sexuality, etc. But in addition to our focus on applied ethics, we also have both courses and ongoing research in theoretical ethics and political philosophy.
Kadri Simm: potential topics for supervision
Potential topics for supervision:
1. Bioethics and medical ethics. Various bioethics topics, both traditional (abort, euthanasia, organ donation) as well as more recent ones (moral enhancement, reproductive technologies). Methods of bioethics (incl. empirical bioethics). Medical ethics and public health ethics. Disaster bioethics.
2. Political philosophy. Theories of justice (distributive justice, global justice), solidarity, equality.Oftentimes questions of political philosophy and bioethics meet up, for example when we query about people's responsibilities towards their health or about the socio-economic determinants of health.
3. Moral philosophy, esp. moral motivation, methodology of ethics teaching.
4. Feminist theory, esp. feminist moral and political philosophy.
Siobhan Kattago: potential topics for supervision
I am keen to supervise students interested in the following areas of political and social philosophy:
- The politics of memory and representation
- Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism
- Jürgen Habermas, The New Conservatism
- Paul Ricoeur, Memory, History, Forgetting
- Memory, historical consciousness and tradition
- Maurice Halbwachs, On Collective Memory
- Friedrich Nietzsche, The Use and Abuse of History for Life
- Hans-Georg Gadamer, Truth and Method
- The problem of evil and political judgment
- Hannah Arendt, Eichmann in Jerusalem
- Zygmunt Bauman & Leonidas Donskis, Moral Blindness
- Human rights versus power and state sovereignty
- Immanuel Kant, Perpetual Peace
- Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan
- Carl Schmitt, Political Theology
I am also happy to supervise work on other topics in the history of political and social philosophy.
Francesco Orsi: potential topics for supervision
1. Meta-ethics and Moral Argument
It is common to distinguish between facts and values, between what is and what ought to be. But in what does this difference consist? And what does it imply for the moral debates we typically have with other people? While these questions have always been part of philosophy, since the XX century many philosophers have more explicitly and focusedly asked, and tried to answer, such questions in a variety of ways.
Geoff Sayre-McCord "Metaethics", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Geoff Sayre-McCord "Moral Realism", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Richard Joyce "Moral Anti-Realism", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
2. Normative Ethics and Particularism
Since Socrates philosophers have aimed to give a reasoned and systematic answer to the question 'how should I live'. Different models have been proposed throughout history and, in various forms and variations, many are still regarded today as plausible candidates: Aristotelian virtue ethics, Kantian deontology, utilitarianism, contractualism, and others. As a result, the current ethical debate is more alive than it has ever been before. Recently, philosophers known as 'particularists' have also started wondering whether an answer to 'how should I live' should at all be based on principles, as opposed to contextual and case by case judgment.
Walter Sinnott-Armstrong "Consequentialism", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Larry Alexander and Michael Moore "Deontological Ethics", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Rosalind Hursthouse "Virtue Ethics", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Jonathan Dancy "Moral Particularism", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
3. History of Ethics
I am also happy to supervise students interested in a more historical focus on particular periods, traditions, authors in the history of moral philosophy, ranging from the ancient Greeks to Modern and Contemporary philosophy.
4. Philosophy of Sexuality
Sexuality is a sphere of experience that can raise, and has raised, many philosophical and ethical questions: what is sexual desire? is there anything like a 'normal' sexuality? are there any special principles that should govern sexuality? But I am also happy to supervise projects in other areas of applied ethics (animal ethics, environmental, genetic engineering, etc.).
Sample titles of theses supervised: Bernard Williams' critique of ethical theory; The case for the legal rights of non-human animals; The problem of non-identity in the animal context.