Australians are living longer, and our society is an ageing society. This unit will explore a range of ethical issues arising from the ageing of the individual person as well as that of an ageing society. Among the issues to be considered will be: • Transitions: into retirement; downsizing; high care; • Tensions: between health and lifestyle; living with limits, disability, and dementia; questions of identity, sexuality, and ethnicity; • Contexts: involving family, relationships and friends; society; church; • Meanings: experiences of life, death, grief; pain and suffering; choices about care at the end of life The thinking of Catholic moral theology will be the basis from which an analysis of the issues will proceed.

Unit code: DP9633C

Unit status: Approved (Major revision)

Points: 24.0

Unit level: Postgraduate Elective

Unit discipline: Pastoral Theology and Ministry Studies

Proposing College: Catholic Theological College

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Learning outcomes


Demonstrate an understanding of the ethical issues that arise from individual and societal ageing; central to this aim is the rich tradition of Catholic moral theological analysis;


Evaluate critically a number of ethical issues confronting the individual ageing person from philosophical and Catholic moral theological perspectives;


Analyse the social ethical dimensions of issues in an ageing society with particular reference to Catholic social teaching;


Formulate the implications, significance and scope of the ethical challenges arising from increased longevity and prevalence of aged persons in contemporary society.


Lectures, seminars, tutorials

Indicative Bibliography

  • Holstein, M.B., J.A. Parks, M.H. Waymack, eds. Ethics, Ageing, and Society. The Critical Turn. New York: Springer, 2011.
  • Jecker, N.S., ed. Aging and Ethics. Philosophical Problems in Gerontology. Totowa, NJ: Humana Press, 1992.
  • Jeffery, P. Going Against the Stream. Ethical Aspects of Ageing and Care. Leominster, UK: Gracewing, 2001.
  • Moody, H.R. and J.R. Sasser, Aging. Concepts and Controversies, 8th ed. Los Angeles: Sage, 2015.
  • Moses, S.M. Ethics and the Elderly. The Challenge of Long-Term Care. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2015.
  • Post, S.G. The Moral Challenge of Alzheimer Disease. 2nd ed. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2000.


Type Description Word count Weight (%)

Analysis Paper 1750 words

1750 25.0

Analysis Paper 1750 words

1750 25.0

Analysis Paper 1750 words

1750 25.0

Analysis Paper 1750 words

1750 25.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by John Capper on 4 Sep, 2017

Unit record last updated: 2021-06-07 08:43:50 +1000