Philosophy & Ethics

Ian Richards


This course will explore both historical and contemporary theories and issues in philosophy and ethics. While it will cover the principal strands of philosophy – epistemology (the nature of knowledge), logic, metaphysics and ethics, much of the course will focus on the last of these, the basis upon which we distinguish between right and wrong.

Each weekly session will begin with a short presentation on theory and background before engaging is group discussions concerning both hypothetical and real life issues. Participants should be prepared to offer thoughtful contributions and to be respectful of a diversity of views!

Some questions that might be considered:

  • Is believing the same as knowing?
  • Is right and wrong just a matter of opinion?
  • Do we really have free will?
  • Does the end justify the means?
  • What is the best form of government?
  • Is religion useful?
  • Is it always wrong to kill?
  • Where do rights come from?
  • Should people be free to harm themselves?

Recent presentations: Click here to open

About the tutor

Ian studied physics at Monash University in the 1970s and went on to do a doctorate in computer science. He has had a lifelong interest in science, philosophy, ethics and politics. Before retiring to Pomona, Ian was a lecturer at the University of Southern Queensland where he taught computing, ethics and sustainability. He has previously tutored this course at U3A Hervey Bay.