Moral Issues | Arts and Science ONLINE

Moral Issues

PHIL 157/3.0

This course introduces diverse ethical frameworks representing ways that we do think, or can think, about how to respond to moral issues. We consider critical perspectives on some of the most dominant frameworks and reflect on our own beliefs about moral issues, the need for ethical teachings and how to best make use of them in our personal lives and in law and policy.

We emphasize skills related to carefully reading philosophical texts and others’ opinions more generally, as well as writing respectful and constructively critical reflections on your own and other’s opinions. A major focus is on developing a reasoned opinion on a selected moral issue and supporting it with a sound written argument.

The ethical frameworks we consider include Anishinaabe teachings, Kantian Deontology, Utilitarianism, Feminist Ethics of Care, Buddhist Ethics, and Ubuntu. Issues include lying, cheating, consensual sexuality and its regulation, unequal access to healthcare, climate crisis, violence and incarceration, our responsibilities for the well-being of others (including non-humans in the natural environment), and our responsibilities to address our own ignorance.

NOTE: The course is suitable for beginner students in any discipline, as well as for philosophy concentrators and upper year students who would enjoy the opportunity to reflect on their own views and reasonable alternatives.

Please note: This course is typically offered in the winter term.

Learning Outcomes

After successfully completing this course, students will be able to:

  • Actively read introductory level philosophical texts.
  • Recognize selected concepts and terminology in moral philosophy and ethical teachings.
  • Identify, appreciate, and critically evaluate your own and others’ assumptions, reasoning, and insights into selected moral issues.
  • Write a short argumentative essay expressing and defending your carefully considered opinion on a selected moral issue.
  • Value the practice of thinking carefully about how we, individually and collectively, identify and respond to moral issues.


Winter 2023
Course Dates: 
Jan. 9 - Apr. 10, 2023
Exam Dates: 
Apr. 14 - 27, 2023


10% - Annotated Readings (Perusall)
20% - Written Assignment 1: Preliminary Reasoned Opinion 
20% - Written Assignment 2: Considered Alternatives
30% - Written Assignment 3: Essay on Selected Moral Issue
10% - Learner Reflections

**Evaluation Subject to change.**


Dr. Jacqueline Davies (

Time Commitment

Students can expect to spend on average about eight to ten hours per week completing relevant readings, assignments, and course activities.

Course Resources


SOLUS is Queen’s Student On-Line University System. You’ll have access to a SOLUS account once you become a Queen’s student. You’ll use SOLUS to register for courses, add and drop courses, update your contact information, view financial and academic information, and pay your tuition.

About OnQ

onQ is Queen's online learning platform. You'll log into onQ to access your course. All materials related to your course—notes, readings, videos, recordings, discussion forums, assignments, quizzes, groupwork, tutorials, and help—will be on the onQ site.

About Credit Units

Queen’s courses are weighted in credit units. A typical one-term course is worth 3.0 units, and a typical two-term course is worth 6.0 units. You combine these units to create your degree. A general (three-year) BA or BSc requires a total of 90 credit units.

Computer Requirements

To take an online course, you’ll need a high speed internet connection as well as a microphone and speakers to be able to watch videos, hear sounds, and participate in interactive online activities. A webcam is recommended but not necessary.

System Requirements:

Computer Specifications

  • Windows 8.1 or newer
  • OSX 10.13 (High Sierra) or newer
  • Dual Core 2 GHz processor
  • 4 GB RAM
  • Soundcard
  • USB Headset
  • Webcam

Supported Browsers

  • Chrome (preferred - latest version)
  • Firefox (latest version)
  • Safari is not recommended as it causes several known issues in onQ
  • Edge is not recommended as it causes several known issues in onQ

Internet Connection

  • Wired high speed access: Cable or better
  • Wifi is not recommended


  • Latest version

Media Player

  • Flash (latest version)

Adobe Reader

  • Latest Version


The deadlines for new applications to Queen’s Arts and Science Online courses are in our Upcoming Application Dates section.

Grading Scheme

The information below is intended for undergraduate students in the Faculty of Arts and Science. Academic Regulations in other Faculties may differ.

Letter Grade Grade Point

GPA Calculators
Have your SOLUS grade report handy and then follow the link to the Arts and Science GPA calculators.

How does this affect my academics?
See the GPA and Academic Standing page.

Follow the link above for an explanation of how the GPA system affects such things as the Dean’s Honour List, requirements to graduate, and academic progression.

Frequently Asked Questions on the Grading Scheme
Please follow this link to the FAQ's

Tuition Fees

Tuition fees vary depending when you start, your year, faculty, and program. Fees for Summer Term 2018 first-year Distance Career Arts & Science Domestic students are as follows: for a 3.0-unit course, $685.90; for a 6.0-unit course, $1371.80 See also Tuition and Fees.

Campus Bookstore

All textbooks, if required, can be purchased at Queen’s Campus Bookstore.

Non-Queen’s Students

All Queen’s Arts and Science Online courses are open to students at other universities. Before applying as a visiting student, request a Letter of Permission from your home university that states that you have permission to take the course and apply it to your degree. See also Apply.

Academic Integrity

Please see Queen’s policy statement on academic integrity for information on how to complete an online course honestly.