Ethics in Therapeutic Recreation and Health Promotion

Humanities & Social Sciences
Course Code
PHIL 4706
Semester Length
Max Class Size
Method(s) Of Instruction
Course Designation
Certificate in Global Competency
Industry Designation
Typically Offered
To be determined


Course Description
This course is an introduction to the study of philosophy and ethics, and their application to therapeutic recreation and health promotion. Students will consider basic ethical theories and concepts, as well as the competing ways in which these can be employed to resolve moral issues, in order to develop an ethical foundation for professional practice. The course will begin by briefly reviewing the practice of philosophy, especially reasoning, argument and critical thinking. Next, students will learn about ethical theories, including deontology and consequentialism, virtue theory, rights theory and ethical relativism. Finally, the application of such theories to ethical problems specific to professional practice – problems such as client autonomy, rights and obligations, informed consent, notions of well-being, sexuality, conflict of values, truthfulness, fairness – will be studied. Students will be afforded the opportunity to analyze theoretical frameworks which can serve as the basis for reasoned ethical decisions, and to develop the practical facility to implement those decisions in specific, concrete situations.

PHIL 4706 is restricted to students in the Therapeutic Recreation degree programme.
Course Content

The course will involve a consideration of the following five areas:


1.  An introduction to reasoning and philosophical practice, including some consideration of the basic features of argumentation and critical thinking.


2.  An introduction to the foundation of ethics: the distinction between normative and critical ethics; the scope and nature of morality; the distinction between judgments of moral obligation, judgments of moral value, and non-moral judgments; the is/ought distinction. An introduction to difference ethical theories, for example: altruism, egoism, virtue ethics, deontology, utilitarianism, rights theory, social contract theory, ethics of care. 


3.  A consideration of moral ideas and concepts such as: character,  virtues, the mean, well-being, compassion, beneficence, self-sacrifice, self-love, selfishness, enlightened self-interest, pleasure, means and ends, intrinsic and extrinsic worth, duty, motive and intention, universalizability, obligation, rational freedom, conscience, autonomy and agency, principle, ideals, rights, public welfare, happiness, consequences, maximization, equality, paternalism, responsibility.


4.  The application of moral reasoning to ethical issues in Therapeutic Recreation and Health Promotion. For example:

  • competing notions of well-being
  • individual benefits and public costs
  • the scope of caring: client involvement
  • fair treatment and social justice
  • client autonomy and paternalism
  • honesty, integrity, whistle-blowing
  • private moral values and objective ethical principles


5.  Professional Ethical Conduct

  • ethical codes and their scope
  • client rights, informed consent, confidentiality
  • ethical review committees and professional regulation
  • collegiality and peer relationships: the working environment
  • ethical conduct and legal liability
Learning Activities

The course will be taught by a combination of informal lecture, seminar and structured class discussion. Class participation will be encouraged, especially in specific aspects of the course. As dialogue is essential to philosophical growth, time may be allowed for discussions between individual students and the instructor or between individual students. Students may be invited to participate in class instruction by giving presentations. Some audio-visual materials, focusing on particular ethical theories and/or problems, may be used. Group activities also may be employed.

Means of Assessment

Evaluation will be based on course objectives and will be carried out in accordance with Douglas College policy.  The instructor will provide a written course outline with specific criteria for assessment during the first week of classes.


Any possible combination of the following which equals 100%:


In-class tests, quizzes, short written assignments    20% - 40%
Written class presentation, essays, final exam  40% - 100%
Instructor's general evaluation
(may include attendance, class participation,
group work, homework, etc.)
   0% - 20%
Learning Outcomes

At the conclusion of the course the successful student should be able to:


  1. Demonstrate an ability to use reasoned argument in support of a conclusion, as well as recognize the role of relevance, inference and evidence in argument.
  2. Explain and in other ways demonstrate an understanding of the main ethical theories covered within the course.
  3. Express an understanding of the relationship between notions such as ethical principle, virtue, moral right, social utility and moral deliberation, and the professional activities of therapeutic practice and the goal of promoting health.
  4. Apply basic reasoning skills to the topics covered within the course, including the ability to reason from general ethical principles to their application to specific, concrete situations characterized by the main ethical issues in therapeutic recreation, such as honesty, paternalism, personal beliefs, codes of conduct, professional distance, client autonomy, public welfare.
  5. Explain the moral reasoning involved behind moral principles and/or values that directly or indirectly oppose one another, including the source of the conflict and the structure of any possible resolution.
  6. Develop some philosophical appreciation of the significance of a coherent ethical worldview, as well as the importance of morality in both public and private life, including the role of ethics in professions and social institutions.
  7. Critically analyze case-studies that pertain to ethical theory and issues arising from the practice of therapeutic recreation; in particular, the ability to articulate objective criteria employed in the justification of ethical decisions.
Textbook Materials

Textbooks and Materials to be Purchased by Students


Texts will be updated periodically. Similar texts may be used with Department approval. Text(s) may be supplemented or replaced by the instructor's Course Pack. One or more of the following:


Martin, Mike. Meaningful Work: Rethinking Professional Ethics. (London: Oxford University Press, 2000)

Parson, Richard. The Ethics of Professional Practice. (Toronto: Allyn & Bacon, 2001)

Oakley, Justin and Dean Cocking. Virtue Ethics and Professional Roles. (NY: Cambridge University Press,                 2001)

Pritchard, Michael. Professional Integrity: Thinking Ethically. (Lawrence: University of Kansas, 2006)

Rowson, Richard. Working Ethics. (London: Jessica Kingsley, 2006)

Callahan, Joan. Ethical Issues in Professional Life. (New York: Oxford University Press, 1988)

Cooper, David. Ethics for Professionals in a Multicultural World. (New Jersey: Pearson Education, 2004)

Corey, G., Corey, M. and Callanan, P. Helping and Ethics in the Helping Professions. (California:                Brooks/Cole, 2003)

McConnell, Terrance. Moral Issues in Health Care. (California: Wadsworth, 1997)




No corequisite courses.


No equivalent courses.

Course Guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester / year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

Course Transfers

These are for current course guidelines only. For a full list of archived courses please see

Institution Transfer Details for PHIL 4706
Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) KPU PHIL 4XXX (3)
Langara College (LANG) LANG PHIL 1106 (3)
Simon Fraser University (SFU) SFU PHIL 2XX (3)
Thompson Rivers University (TRU) Individual assessment
Trinity Western University (TWU) TWU GEN 4XX (1)
University of British Columbia - Vancouver (UBCV) UBCV PHIL 2nd (3)
University of Northern BC (UNBC) UNBC PHIL 2XX (3)
University of the Fraser Valley (UFV) UFV PHIL 3XX (3)
University of Victoria (UVIC) UVIC PHIL 2XX (1.5)

Course Offerings

Summer 2023