FIL2310 – Normative ethics and metaethics

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

Moral philosophy (ethics) can be divided, from the more theoretical to the more practical, into metaethics, normative ethics, and applied ethics. In this course, we explore central themes in metaethics and normative ethics. The course might have special focus on either metaethics or normative ethics at different semesters. Metaethics describes morality from different philosophical perspectives, such as semantics, ontology, and epistemology. The following type of issues are discussed: What is the meaning of moral terms (such as ‘right’, ‘wrong’) and moral sentences? Are moral sentences true or false? Are there any moral properties or facts in the world that can make them true? If so, what are they like? Is it possible to know what objects have these properties? If so, how do we reach such knowledge? Normative ethics concerns what ultimately explains the moral status of actions. The following type of issues are discussed: Is only consequences of actions relevant to determine their moral status? If not, what other aspects are morally significant? What is it that makes a person’s life good or bad? What is it that makes a state of affair good or bad?

Learning outcome

After having completed the course you are expected to:

• be able to demonstrate a thorough insight in problems of metaethics and/or normative ethics, and also be able to discuss different views critically in writing

• be able to demonstrate an overview of differences, similarities and connections between different views within metaethics and/or normative ethics

• be able to give critical assessments of the different views


Students who are admitted to study programmes at UiO must each semester register which courses and exams they wish to sign up for in Studentweb.

If you are not already enrolled as a student at UiO, please see our information about admission requirements and procedures.


Recommended previous knowledge

We reccomend that you complete  FIL1003 - Innføring i etikk before taking this course. A certain knowledge in metaphysics, FIL1001 - innføring i metafysikk/bevissthetsfilosofi, is also an advantage, but not essential.


12 double sessions that will be a combination of seminars and lectures. Active participation is expected. The course has the following compulsory tuition activities:

  • Drafts for both of the examination essays. You submit the drafts in Canvas.
  • Mandatory attendance at the seminars (you must be present at minimum 9 out of 12 seminars)
  • A summary/critique of a seminar reading (half a page, submitted in Canvas)
  • An oral presentation of the same seminar reading summary/critique (5-10 minutes, in the seminar)
  • A peer-review of a fellow student's essay 1 (half a page, submitted in Canvas)

You will find more information under 'More about the course' on the semester pages and later on in Canvas.

You are allowed to carry over what you have completed to the next two times the course is given as long as the course hasn't undergone any major changes. All compulsory tuition activities must be accepted as satisfactory in order to submit the final exam.

This is how you apply for a valid absence from compulsory activities/compulsory attendance <>.


A portofolio exam which consists of two essays, the first of approximately 1500 words, the second of approximately 4000 words. The portofolio will be given one final grade. You are entitled to individual tutoring.

You submit the portofolio in Inspera.

All compulsory tuition activities must be approved as satisfactory in order to submit the exam.

Assessment criteria spring 2019.


Use of sources and citation

You should familiarize yourself with the rules that apply to the use of sources and citations. If you violate the rules, you may be suspected of cheating/attempted cheating.

Language of examination

The examination text is given in English, and you submit your response in English.

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a scale from A to F, where A is the best grade and F is a fail. Read more about the grading system.

Explanations and appeals

Resit an examination

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.

Facts about this course






Spring 2019

The course will not be offered in the fall 2018.


Spring 2019

The course will not be offered in the fall 2018.

Teaching language