Ethics, Religion and Law

Ethics, religion and law: three societal pillars on the basis of which cultures are built, wars fought and lives lived.

Why choose discovery modules from Ethics, Religion and Law?

Develop your skills and understanding of moral standards, faith and religion, politics and public policy, the law, crime and punishment, human nature and society – today and in times past.

Think about how human life is lived, and how it should be lived!

This Theme engages with the big questions in life, in death – and beyond. Explore questions of belief, prejudice, crime and punishment, equality and discrimination, diversity and inclusion. These questions resonate through history but are we any closer to ‘solving’ them; indeed – how can they be solved? Are we always destined to live in a world where difference breeds conflict, where crime and deviance are rife, and where moral, ethical and religious debates divide nations and trigger wars?

How do our societal institutions respond to these challenges? And what is the impact on individuals, families, specific genders or societal groups? How can we legislate or plan for a better, fairer world? Will we ever agree on what that world looks like or how it is run? Explore all of this and more in this diverse Theme.

 

If you have any questions about this Discovery Theme, you can contact the Theme Leader: Janet Holt hcsjh@leeds.ac.uk 

Make the most of your discovery modules

Depending on how your interests develop, you can opt to take further discovery modules within this Theme, or explore new topics in other Discovery Themes.

The Ethics, Religion and Law Discovery Theme is one of the broadest and most diverse, with over 250 modules spanning a wide range of ideas and methodologies. Sound daunting? It’s easy to make choices that will enable you to explore your interests, while building a clear pathway of knowledge and skills through your time in Leeds.

You can explore a particular theme, from one academic discipline or from a range of academic perspectives.

You can focus on an academic discipline, such as law, sociology or theology, and build your expertise in that area.

Need more help? Consider the following:

  • What themes or ideas interest you? Explore the sub-themes or search for modules on topics that spark your interest.
  • Once you’ve found some interesting modules, take time to look at the providing school. Understand their perspective and specialist methodologies – this will have a big impact on your learning experience.

You can then use this information to put together a good, coherent set of discovery modules. Here are two possible ways to do this:

  1. Choose a range of modules that build up your knowledge around a particular theme. These might be all from one academic discipline, or they might offer different disciplinary perspectives on the same topics.
  2. Choose an academic discipline (eg law, ethics, sociology, theology, history) and choose a set of modules which will enable you progressively to deepen your skills in that discipline.

You should think about what thematic areas are you most interested in. Browse the list of sub-themes and use these to bring together modules on topics that will be of interest. Or use the search facility to try to locate modules in the specific areas in which you are interested.

There is further guidance about choosing modules on each sub-theme page.

If you want to branch out into other Themes, ‘Power and Conflict’ offers modules which cover complementary subjects. Alternatively, learn about the relationship between technology and ethical responsibility by taking modules from the ‘Technology and its Impacts’ Theme.

The Sub-themes

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Ethics

What makes some things right and others wrong? Are kindness, honesty and integrity the best policy? Or are they a mug’s game?

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Religion

What are the central commitments of the major world religions – and what does this mean for individuals and communities? What about conflicting doctrines and religious practices? 

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Law

How do UK and international legal systems operate, and what are their effects? What leads some people, but not others, into crime?

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Crime, Sin and Vice

Why do some people conform and others rebel?

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Pluralism, Toleration and Diversity

“If we cannot end now our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity. For, in the final analysis, our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children's future. And we are all mortal.” (J. F. Kennedy)

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Business

“Relativity applies to physics, not ethics.” (Einstein) But where does this leave business?

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Gender and Sexuality

Masculinity, femininity, gender, equality, discrimination, love and sex. Explore all of this and more in this sub-theme.

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Politics and Public Policy

Why do we need politics, or politicians for that matter? What do policies, and the ideological positions that underpin them, actually say about the world – past, present and future?

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Professions and Professionalism

Medicine, the law, education, accountancy – what does it mean to be professional in these contexts?

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Environmental Issues

“The environment is everything that isn’t me.” (Einstein) Or are we part of it, inextricably bound up with its past and future? What does this mean for the way we live?

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