"If one does not know to which port one is sailing, no wind is favorable."
Seneca, Roman statesman, dramatist and Stoic philosopher (4 B.C.-65 A.D.)

Syllabus 

Spring 2009 Southern Illinois University Edwardsville
Phil 320 002 - Ethics
Instructor: Ray Darr
Office Hours: 11:00 – 11:50 am  MWF Peck Hall 0224 Phone: ext 3428             
Email:   radar@charter.net
Web Page: http://webpages.charter.net/criticalthinking106/index.html (note: this URL is case sensitive)
Text: Great Traditions in Ethics, Denise, White and Peterfreund, Thomson Wadsworth, 11th Edition

Course Outline: This course is designed as an introduction to ethics. This course has several integrated objectives. We will formulate definitions of ethics, metaethics, normative ethics, and applied ethics. Throughout this course we will examine the historical development of important ethical debates and concepts.  This approach will involve study of the main philosophers. We will also survey the fundamental questions of ethics by examining many of the major philosophical theories. We will cover issues raised by the philosophical positions of relativism and subjectivism, emotion and reason, egoism and altruism, knowledge and virtue. We will compare various theories such as utilitarianism, pragmatism, hedonism, stoicism, natural law, duty theories, and divine command theories.     Although this is not a speaking intensive course you will be required to carefully articulate, not only your own ethical belief system, but also those beliefs that may be diametrically opposed to those that you hold so dearly.  We will discuss this procedure in a more detailed manner as the course proceeds.  Every idea must stand on its own merit.  There will be no "sacred cows" in this class. We will develop skills for thinking critically about everyday ethical decisions.

"An unexamined life is not worth living" Socrates (Apology 38a)

The goals of this course are: 1. Developing a knowledge of the history of ethical studies 2) Increasing the students sensitivity to subjective factors that influence ethical decision making strategies 3) Integrating these techniques into the individual’s decision making process and
4) Enabling the student to be able to identify and accurately express his or her own values and ethical beliefs. 

Attendance: Attendance is extremely important. If you feel that you can pass this course with out attending lectures, I am sure that I can arrange a proficiency exam for you to take.  If you don't think you could pass the proficiency exam I strongly suggest that you attend every class. Each student will be responsible for the lecture information.  If you can't attend a session please get the lecture notes from a fellow student.  Attendance will be taken at the beginning of every class.  Attendance will assume added importance in consideration of marginal grades. This course meets three times a week.  Since there are so many meetings of this you may feel you have the luxury of missing a couple of classes here and there.  I’m quite sure that you will find very early on that this is not the case.  This course is highly structured and will require your constant attention. A portion of your grade may depend upon the analysis of one of your classmate's presentation.  I intend to argue that often the difficulties embroiling our value decisions are a result of our failure to listen and understand just exactly what the other person is saying.
Participation: Your participation in class projects and discussion will help you as well as your fellow students.  You are encouraged to ask questions. There are no "dumb" questions.  I reserve the right to remove any student being disruptive during the course of this class. Respect and civility are products to be given as well as received.
Testing: Students are expected to complete homework assignments on a timely basis. There will be weekly homework assignments.  Late assignments will be accepted, however, there will be a 10% grade reduction per week on any assignment that is received after the designated due date. The homework assignments constitute a significant percentage of your final grade.  I have designed these assignments as an aid for reading and mastering the material we will be covering.  In order to accommodate “bad days”, the lowest homework grade will be dropped from the final average.  Periodically, quizzes will be given. For any course work completed in class, the student may use an individually prepared note (cheat) sheet.  The specifications on this sheet are: 1- 81/2 x 11 sheet of paper – both sides if necessary.  Cheating will not be tolerated.  I expect individually prepared note sheets.  Any student caught cheating will receive a zero for the test or quiz.   Requests for make-up exams must be attached to an autopsy report. There will also be a midterm test and a final exam     As time permits there will be opportunities for extra credit work.  This extra credit work may be in the form of a class presentation.  A student will have the opportunity to reply to any presentation and also gain extra credit points for his or her thoughtful analysis.  As these extra credit opportunities emerge more details will be provided.
                               

 

 

Grading:

93 - 100 %  -A                                                        Homework                              25%
80 - 92 %   - B                                                        Quizzes/                                  25%
70 - 79%    - C                                                        Midterm                                  25%
60 - 69%   -  D                                                        Final Exam                              25%                                                                                                        
Below 60% - E