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Theories of Ethical Reasoning 2017/2018

  • 3 ECTS
  • Taught in Portuguese
  • Both continuous and final Assessment


1 - Understand the concepts linked to ethics and psychology

2 - Making decisions in Psychology.

3 - Develop skills in ethical reasoning. ~

4 - To understand the dimensions of the psychologist's ethical principles.

Recommended Prerequisites


Teaching Metodology

Lectures; Exercises; Skills development based on the use of the library and other sources of knowledge; Sase studies; Practical work

Body of Work

1 - Definition of ethics and links with moral. Ethics as the science of relation.

2 - The person. Rational, relation and emotions. Concept of dignity and human life value.

3 - Ethics, deontology and law.

4 - Universal consensus of ethical principles and values.

5 - Decision making: the role of inteligence and emotions. Linked concepts.

6 - Intuitions and automatic toughts. Conscient and inconscient decisions.

7 - Moral judgment and ethical reasoning.

8 - Basis of psychologist ethical reasoning.

9 - Ethical Principles of Portuguese Psychologists.

Recommended Bibliography

Beauchamp, T. & Childress, J. (2002). "Princípios de ética biomédica. Barcelona: Masson, S.A. (Do original: Principles of Biomedical Ethics, 1994, 4th Edition)

Declaração Universal dos Direitos do Homem. (1948). Proclamada pelas Nações Unidas em 10 de Dezembro

Goleman, D. (1997). Inteligência emocional. Lisboa: Temas e Debates. (Do original: Emotional intelligence, 1995)

Haidt, J. (2001). “The Emotional Dog and Its Rational Tail: A Social Intuitionist Approach to Moral Judgment”. Psychological Review, Vol. 108, n.º 4, pp. 814-834

Ricou, M. (2014). A ética e a deontologia no exercício da psicologia. Lisboa: Ordem dos Psicólogos Portugueses.

Ricou, M. Sá, E. & Nunes, R. (2017). The Ethical Principles of the Portuguese Psychologists: A Universal Dimension. J med & Phyl 42

Ricou, M. (2017). Psicologia: uma profissão à procura da identidade. In Luís Fernandes (Coord.) Conhecimento de si na sociedade do conhecimento - cinco textos inquietos. Porto: Apuro Edições

Complementary Bibliography

Damásio, A. (2001). O Erro de Descartes – Emoção, Razão e Cérebro Humano. 22ª edição. Mem Martins: Publicações Europa-América.

Damásio, A. (2000). O Sentimento de Si. Mem Martins: Publicações Europa-América.

Damásio, A. (2010). O Livro da Consciência. A construção do cérebro consciente. Maia: Temas e Debates. Círculo de Leitores.

Engelhardt, H. T. (1998). Fundamentos da Bioética. São Paulo: Edições Loyola.

Gauthier, J. (2005). “Toward a Universal Declaration of Ethical Principles for Psychologists: A Progress Report”. In M.J. Stevens & D. Wedding (Eds.). Psychology: IUPsyS Global Resource. Hove, UK: Psychology Press

Gazzaniga, M. S. (2005). The Ethical Brain. New York: Dana Press

Jonas, H. (1990). Le principe responsabilité. Paris: Cerf.

Rawls, J. (1993). Uma teoria da justiça. Lisboa: Editorial Presença.

Weekly Planning

1 - Introduction.

2 - Ethics linked concepts.

3 - Person. Human dignity.

4 - Ethics, law and deontology.

5 - Human rights as a consensus ethics.

6 - Emotions. Primary and secondary emotions.

7 - Inteligence and social inteligence.

8 - Intuitions and automatic thoughts. Moral judgement and ethical reasoning. Wich differences?

9 - Test.

10 - Psychologist ethical reasoning. Conditions.

11 - Portuguese ethical principles. Universal metodology.

12 - Principles dimensions.

13 - Ethical reasoning. Pratical cases.

14 - Student presentations.

15 - Revision.

Demonstration of the syllabus coherence with the curricular unit's objectives

1 - Understand the concepts linked to ethics and psychology. It is important to build up a clear and operational ethics definition, as pratical concepts of person, dignity and human life.

2 - Making decisions in Psychology. It's important to undersatnd some dimensions as intuitions, emotions and racionality.

3 - Ethical reasoning needs a cluster of conditions for the psychologist to develop to increase the qaulity of his work. You need to be aware of the modern societies central values.

4 - The ethical principles are the cultural quore of the ethucal reasoning. So theprinciples should be used in the pratical discussion of ethical dillemmas.

Demonstration of the teaching methodologies coherence with the curricular unit's objectives

The adoption of a wide variety of techniques pretend to promote the students attention and interest. Psychology it's a profession based on professional autonomy, so it is important to develop the students resposibility, personal envolvment and work group.

relevant generic skillimproved?assessed?
Achieving practical application of theoretical knowledgeYesYes
Adapting to new situationsYesYes
Analytical and synthetic skills  
Balanced decision makingYesYes
Commitment to effectivenessYesYes
Ethical and responsible behaviourYesYes
Event organization, planning and managementYesYes
Foreign language proficiency  
Information and learning managementYes 
Problem Analysis and AssessmentYesYes
Relating to othersYes 
Understanding multiculturalism and valuing diversityYesYes
Written and verbal communications skills Yes
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