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The Open University

Global Ethics: An Introduction

The Open University via FutureLearn


Widespread poverty, closed borders and catastrophic climate change

In our interconnected world, we face challenges that demand global solutions. But how do you find the right solutions?

On this course, you will use key ethical theories to examine the most important global issues of our time. What should be done about widespread poverty? Can it be right for countries to control migration and close borders? And what about climate change: Why care about preserving the world for future generations anyway?

Upon completing this course, you’ll be better equipped to think about and debate some of today’s most complex global ethical challenges.

This course is for anyone interested in global ethics, or those considering further study in global challenges and philosophy.

There are no specific software requirements or tools needed to study this course.


  • Global ethics Now
    • What on Earth is global ethics?
    • Issues in, and approaches to, global ethics
    • Global ethics, justice and human rights
    • Global ethics and moral theory
  • Global inequality
    • Introducing global inequality
    • Utilitarianism as a moral theory
    • The example of Hardin’s raft
    • Common-sense morality: positive and negative duties
    • Complicity or benefit?
  • Migration: Are controlled borders unethical?
    • Introducing migration
    • The ethics of migration
    • Utilitarianism and migration
    • Deontology and migration
    • Tax, benefits and migration
  • Climate change: Should we care for future generations?
    • Introducing the ethics of climate change
    • Climate change: The facts and how we know them
    • Climate change as a ‘tragedy of the commons’
    • Should we really care about future generations?
    • Who should pay for climate change, and the ‘afterlife’?
    • Global ethical challenges

Taught by

Manuel Dries


4.5 rating at FutureLearn based on 82 ratings

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