Course code Filz1009

Credit points 2

Practical Philosophy

Total Hours in Course80

Number of hours for lectures16

Number of hours for seminars and practical classes16

Independent study hours48

Date of course confirmation04.11.2020

Responsible UnitInstitute of Social Sciences and Humanities

Course developer

author Sociālo un humanitāro zinātņu institūts

Gunārs Brāzma

Dr. phil.

Course abstract

The aim of the course is to develop students’ understanding of practical philosophy, its aims, issues, and methods. The course focuses on issues of ethics and political philosophy. The course develops critical thinking and skills in analysing problems of practical ethics. In addition to lectures the course includes studies of philosophical texts, discussions in seminars and presentations of students’ papers.

Learning outcomes and their assessment

1. Knowledge: a student knows and understands terminology of practical philosophy, conceptions and argumentation in their historical development – seminars’ discussions, final written test.
2. Professional skills: a student is able to evaluate and compare philosophical ideas and arguments, to formulate topical philosophical and multidisciplinary problems, to select and critically assess information related to philosophical topics – seminars’ discussions, student’s paper and its presentation.
Soft skills: a student is able to plan tasks responsibly, to analyse information, to participate in group activities – seminars’ discussion, student’s paper and its presentation.

3. Competence: a student is able to perceive and solve responsibly multidisciplinary problems related to practical philosophy, to integrate these skills in further professional activity – seminars’ discussion, student’s paper and its presentation.

Course Content(Calendar)

1. Problems of theoretical and practical philosophy. Critical thinking. (lecture 1h, seminar 1h)
2. The emergence of philosophical thought in ancient Greece. (lecture 1h, seminar 1h)
3. The development of virtue ethics in ancient philosophy. Contemporary virtue ethics. (lecture 1h, seminar 1h)
4. Values, their variety and classification. (lecture 1h, seminar 1h)
5. The basic principles and approaches of normative ethics (lectures 3h, seminars 2h)
6. Environmental ethics. (lectures 2h, seminar 2h)
7. Bioethics. (lectures 2h, seminar 1h)
8. Professional ethics. Codes of ethics. (lecture 1h, seminar 1h)
9. Moral relativism in its critique. (lectures 2h, seminar 1h)
10. Problems of political philosophy. (lectures 2h, seminars 2h)
11. Presentations of students’ papers. (seminars 2h)

12. Final written test. (seminar 1h)

Requirements for awarding credit points

Literature chosen by a lecturer must be studied and discussed during the seminars. Student’s paper must be elaborated and presented. Final test in the end of the course.

Description of the organization and tasks of students’ independent work

1. The studies of literature chosen by a lecturer for preparation of seminars’ topics. Seminars’ topics are the same as mentioned in the course plan (see above).

2. The student’s paper (at least 8 pages) and its presentation about the topic chosen by a student and accepted by a lecturer. The paper must be submitted in electronic and printed forms.

Criteria for Evaluating Learning Outcomes

The grading of the study course is assessed as the arithmetic mean from three equally important components: 1) the assessment of seminars’ discussions based on the studies of literature, 2) the assessment of student’s paper and its presentation, 3) the assessment of the final written test.

Compulsory reading

1. Apsīte E., Brāzma G., Caune E., Leikuma I., Leikums L., Lūsis K., Poča S., Vuguls J. Praktiskā filosofija. Jelgava: LLU, 2008. 549 lpp.
2. Kūle M., Kūlis R. Filosofija. Rīga: Zvaigzne ABC, 1998. 656 lpp.

3. Stumpf S., Fieser J. Philosophy: a Historical Survey with Essential Readings. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Education, 2019. 426 p.

Further reading

1. Blekbērns S. Domā! Neatvairāms ievads filozofijā. Rīga: ¼ Satori, 2007. 304 lpp.
2. Brāzma G. Bioētika. Jelgava: LLU, 2010. 128 lpp.

3. Kivle I. Filosofija: teorētiska un praktiska mācība. R.: Autorizdevums, 2011. 263 lpp.

Periodicals and other sources

1. Žurnāls Rīgas Laiks. ISSN 1407-1622.
2. Žurnāls Philosophy now: a magazine of ideas. ISSN 0961-5970. Pieejams:

3. Online encyclopedia Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Pieejams:


Compulsory study course for Faculty of Engineering professional bachelor study programme “Machine Design and Manufacturing”, Faculty of Environment and Civil Engineering professional bachelor study programme “Land Surveying and Management” and the Second level professional higher educational programme “Civil Engineering”.