Ethics for Beginners


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Ethics by Marianne Talbot

Marianne Talbot was thrown out of school at 15. She came back to education at 26 when she took an Open University Foundation course during which she discovered philosophy.


Transferring to London University Marianne took First Class Honours then went to Oxford University to do graduate work. 


She taught for Pembroke College, Oxford from 1987 - 1990, for Brasenose College, Oxford from 1990-2000, and has, since 2001, been director of studies in philosophy at Oxford University's Department for Continuing Education.


In this introduction to ethics, Marianne considers the underpinnings of ethical thought, for example, what it is for an action to be right or wrong, whether we can have moral knowledge and whether freewill is essential to morality. Marianne reflects on four key ethical theories (virtue ethics, deontology, non-cognitivism and utilitarianism), looking at both their strengths and their weaknesses. She also looks at morality in the context of the individual and the context of society.