Undergraduate Module Descriptor

POL2028: Political Ethics: Theory and Case Studies

This module descriptor refers to the 2016/7 academic year.


NQF Level 5
Credits 15 ECTS Value 7.5
Term(s) and duration

This module ran during term 2 (11 weeks)

Academic staff






Available via distance learning


This module examines core themes on political ethics. The course contains a blend of political theory, case studies, and acclaimed literary texts which deal with some of the topics to be covered.


Specifically, we will explore the classical accounts of Plato, Machiavelli and Weber on the issues pertaining to the relationship between politics and ethics and use them as a starting point before expanding our analysis on whether moral reasoning should be part of politics; what kind of morality is appropriate for political conduct and which are the dominant moral guides available to us; and whether we should be separating our personal from our political conduct. We will examine these themes first from a theoretical perspective and then by probing into specific cases of lying in politics; violating moral principles in order to secure the common interest; justifying war; ‘whistle blowing’; and analysing the true meaning of the ‘dirty hands’ problem.  


The module only requires that you have a basic knowledge of political and moral theory and it is suitable for all those who want to develop further their knowledge of the intricacies of political reasoning. The module is also recommended to those students who want to apply their knowledge of ethical theory into real life scenarios which are ordinarily seen as morally confusing.

Module created


Last revised