“Close readings of the Greatest Hits of Recent Ethical Theory” – OZSW and 3TU.Ethics graduate course

VU-Amsterdam_thumbnailThe Dutch Research School of Philosophy (OZSW) and the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam invite PhD students/ ReMa students in philosophy to register for the course “Close Readings of the Greatest Hits of Recent Ethical Theory” to take place in Spring 2016. This course is a merger with the Spring School ‘Ethical Theory and Applied Ethics’.

Organizing university

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam


3, 10, 17, 24 & 31 May


Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, room t.b.a.

Type of activity

5-day course

Type of activity

The study load is the equivalent of 5 EC

Primary target group

PhD students

If places available, also open to

2nd year ReMa students

Application/registration deadline

19 April

About the topic

In this course, we will conduct close readings of several of the most influential articles in ethical theory and metaethics that were published in the last 20 years. Most of the articles will be drawn from the Philosopher’s Annual and other highly reputed ethics journals and edited collections.

Aim / objective

In addition to familiarizing students with the state-of-the-art developments in these areas of ethical theory, close readings of single articles will allow students to attend to the formal and structural features of the articles in addition to their content.

Thus, the course is purposely designed to offer deep rather than broad studies of these topics. It is also expressly designed not to be an introduction to ethical theory, and thus should not be taken as a first ethics graduate course.


The plan is to meet 5 days over the course of two weeks. Each day will have two three-hour sessions, one in the morning and afternoon. In each session we will discuss 1-2 thematically related papers. The content of each day will be as follows:

Day 1: Value theory
Day 2: Consequentialism
Day 3: Deontology
Day 4: Virtue theory
Day 5: Responsibility theory

For each thematic day, background readings will be suggested, though the focus articles will be the only mandatory readings. Participants are strongly encouraged to read as general background several designated chapters from the book Moral Theory (2nd ed.) by Mark Timmons (ISBN: 0742564924).

Required preparations

The participants are expected to read all the assigned literature, to do assignments, to actively participate in the discussions and to write a paper at the end of the course. The course has a study load that is the equivalent of 5 ECs. Students who succesfully complete the course can get an OZSW certificate.


The course is free for:

  • PhD students who are a member of the 3TU.Ethics graduate school;
  • PhD students who are a member of the OZSW;
  • MSc students enrolled in the PSTS master of the University of Twente.
  • Research Master students who are a member of the OZSW

Other participants pay a tuition fee of 250 euro for the course.

Registration/application form


The organizers/lecturer of this course is dr. Philip Robichaud, assistant professor at the Philosophy Department of the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. e received his Ph.D. at Rice University, where he was advised by George Sher. His current research foci are moral responsibility, ethical theory, and neuroethics. In 2015 he was awarded an NWO Veni grant for his project “Nudging Responsibly – choice architecture and responsibility attributions”, which he is currently carrying out. He has published articles in these areas in journals such as Ethics, American Journal of Bioethics – Neuroscience, and the Journal of Consciousness Studies and has co-edited a volume titled Responsibility – the epistemic dimension that is forthcoming with Oxford University Press.


Contact info

This course is coordinated by Philip Robichaud. For further information related to the contents of this course, please contact him at the following e-mail address: p.robichaud@vu.nl. For practical inquiries, please contact secretariaat@ozsw.nl.