Why Should We Be Moral?

Ref: C3743899

This course investigates a question posed by Glaucon in Plato’s Republic: why should we be moral? Answering this question will involve examining what we mean by moral statements, how we can access moral truths, and what there is to be said for the idea that morality is somehow “relative” to individuals or cultures, or that we live in a valueless world. We will examine these questions by looking both at influential historical philosophers such as Montaigne, Nietzsche, and Sartre, as well as the work of contemporary philosophers such as Simon Blackburn and Derek Parfit.

Course aim

The main aim of this course is to provide an introduction to the philosophical literature concerning the foundations of morality.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed
  • This course is for beginners
  • This course is for improvers
  • This course is suitable for beginners and improvers

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • Developing a knowledge of historical and recent philosophical literature
  • Engaging critically with philosophical material
  • Developing critical reasoning skills

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • You will have opportunities to discuss your progress with your tutor
  • You will be encouraged to share your work with the group and discuss your learning
  • You will be encouraged to consider other students work and give your opinions and suggestions

What else do I need to know?

  • All materials will be provided
  • It would be helpful if you had access to the internet (Mobile phone, tablet or computer at home or through a library etc.)

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • There is no pre-required reading, but a short, accessible, and well-written introduction to some of the questions we will consider is Bernard Williams' book 'Morality: An Introduction to Ethics'.

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Progress to a course with another provider

Download full course information sheet

Why Should We Be Moral?


As a registered charity, and to meet our funders’ requirements, we need to check a few things with you before you book. Please could we ask that you check the list below to ensure you meet our basic criteria:

  • You are paying the standard fee (with a credit or debit card) or you are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • You have a valid email address so that you can receive confirmation of your booking
  • You have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • You are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2018
  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

Not sure or have further questions? Contact courseenquiries@wea.org.uk

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