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PHL-330-20, Ethics (SP15)

INSTRUCTOR: Dr. Desirée Melton

SCHEDULE/DAY/TIME: T2/Wednesday/6:00-8:45 PM, 3/25/15-5/13/15

CONTENT:

This course introduces students to ethics, i.e., the study of good and bad and right and wrong as applied to the actions and character of individuals, institutions, and societies.  The course will combine developing an understanding of various ethical theories with reflection on pressing ethical problems such as: capital punishment, sexuality and marriage, global economic justice, pornography, and drug legalization. Among the questions we will address are:  What is the good life?  How should I live?  What is the right thing to do?  For what am I responsible?  How should I treat near and distant strangers? 

LEARNING OBJECTIVES:

At the completion of this course students will be able to:

-Understand and critically engage with a philosophical text or fundamental philosophical idea (summary/reaction papers, discussion)

-Construct and sustain a well-defended philosophical argument (summary/reaction papers, exams)

-Synthesize and critically engage the ideas of more than one author or time-period (exams)

-Critically discuss a philosophical idea or figure making use of some of the relevant secondary literature (exams, discussion)

-Critically discuss the major ethical theories: utilitarianism, Kantian moral theory, and virtue ethics (summary/reaction papers, exams, discussion)

-Apply the major philosophical theories to cases or examples in practical ethics or social philosophy (summary/reaction papers, exams, discussion)

-Express philosophical ideas clearly in written work (summary/reaction papers, exams)

METHODS:  

The format of this course is some lecture and a lot of discussion.  Philosophy is active, not passive! Everyone must come to class having completed all of the reading and be fully prepared to discuss the material.

REQUIREMENTS AND ASSIGNMENTS: 

Four 3 page writing assignments……..40% (10% each)

Two exams.…………….……………............30%

Group work…………………..…………………30%

Attendance

From the academic catalog:

“Consistent class attendance and participation are essential to academic success. Students are expected both to attend class and to contribute to discussions and group activities. A student who is absent misses an important educational experience and detracts from the experience of others. In the College of Adult Undergraduate Studies, attendance is expected at all class meetings. Attendance is required at the first meeting of the term because the foundation for the course is set for the semester. Students who cannot attend the first class session must withdraw. In addition, academic departments set absence and attendance policies for their courses. Students should familiarize themselves with those policies before the beginning of the semester and plan accordingly.” 

REQUIRED TEXT(S) OR MATERIALS: 

Introducing Ethics: A Critical Thinking Approach with Readings, Justin McBrayer, Peter Markie, Oxford University Press, 2013

RECOMMENDED READINGS OR MATERIALS: 

READINGS AND/OR ASSIGNMENTS TO BE DONE PRIOR TO THE FIRST CLASS:

Chapter 1: Introductions, pg. 3-4

Chapter 2: 2.6, Moral Reasoning, p. 13-17

Chapter 3-5, p. 18-32