Syllabus for Harm


A revised version of the syllabus is available.

  • 7.5 credits
  • Course code: 5FP066
  • Education cycle: Second cycle
  • Main field(s) of study and in-depth level: Practical Philosophy A1N
  • Grading system: Fail (U), Pass (G), Pass with distinction (VG)
  • Established: 2019-11-04
  • Established by: The Department Board
  • Applies from: week 01, 2020
  • Entry requirements: Fulfilment of the requirements for a Bachelor's degree in the humanities or a corresponding foreign degree
  • Responsible department: Department of Philosophy

Learning outcomes

After completing the course the students are expected to:

  • Have an overview of the main debates on harm
  • Be able to describe the most important theories of the nature and ethical significance of harm
  • Be able to describe the most important arguments for these theories
  • Be able to analyse the strengths and weaknesses of these arguments


What is harm, and what is its ethical significance? This course provides an introduction to the most important views on the nature of harm, and discuss various ethical issues where harm plays a major role. Topics covered include comparative vs. non-comparative accounts of harm, the non-identity problem in population ethics, abortion ethics, harm and well-being, the harm of death, and J. S. Mill's Harm Principle.


Lectures and seminars.


One longer essay and three shorter writing assignments. A student's active participation and good performance in class may be a positive factor in the overall assessment of the student's work for the course.

Master's students are expected to write somewhat longer and more comprehensive essays than C-level students, and the requirements concerning scholarly quality are higher.

Other directives

The course is given both as a first cycle or as a second cycle course.

Syllabus Revisions

Reading list

The reading list is missing. For further information, please contact the responsible department.