Philosophy 20: Ethics

Pierce College

Department of History, Philosophy, & Sociology

Summer Session A, 2017

 

Contact Information

Instructor: Christopher Lay, Ph.D

Email: laych@piercecollege.edu and teach@christopherlay.com

Website: www.christopherlay.com/ethics.html

Office Location: Room 910 in the 900 building

 

Office Hours

A) Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 1:20PM to 2:20PM (no appointment necessary);

B) by appointment if you can't meet during normal office hours. 

 

Meeting Times and Place for Course # 1211

Lecture Meeting Times:  Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 10:45AM to 1:10PM

Meeting Location:  BRCH 1109

 

Catalog Course Description

"Students consider human conduct, study the rules and institutions of moral order, and philosophically examine a range of today’s moral issues, such as the just distribution of the social good, abortion, euthanasia, the environment, war, and world hunger." 

 

Prerequisite(s)

None. 

 

Student Learning Outcomes:

1. Student will demonstrate the ability to explicate, analyze, compare, and evaluate a variety of theories in normative ethics or meta-ethics using rigorous philosophical methods.

2. Students will demonstrate the ability to apply moral theories and concepts to contemporary problems such as war, capital punishment, euthanasia, poverty and others.

 

Required Texts

*

Links to required texts will be provided.

 

 

Recommended Texts

*

Relevant entries from the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

 

 

Course Grade and Assignments

In-Class Participation

5% of course grade

Group Exercise Participation

5% of course grade

Quizzes

10% of course grade

Essays

80% of course grade

 

 

Grading Scale

A

100 – 90%

B

89 – 80%

C

79 – 70%

D

69 – 60%

F

59 – 0%

 

General Ground Rules:

Do what you can to be collegial and respectful–and don't be intentionally offensive. 

 

Attendance (from the Pierce College Catalogue):

"Students are expected to be in class on time and to remain for the entire class period. Medical appointments, work, job interviews, child-care responsibilities, etc. should be arranged so as not to occur during class time. ... .  Any student who has unexcused absences equaling one week's worth of class time prior to census date may be excluded. Students may drop the class online, before the last day to drop. Students should never rely on the instructor to exclude them. Do not call the college offices to report absences … ."

"By the last day to add the class, students are responsible to inform the instructor of any anticipated absences due to observance of major religious holidays so that alternative arrangements may be made. Failure to do so may result in an inability to make other arrangements or a lower grade." 

"Students who are registered in a class and miss the first meeting may lose their right to a place in the class, but the instructor may consider special circumstances. Instructors will generally only exclude students through the census date for non-attendance. It is the student's responsibility to drop classes in time to avoid fees and/or grades of 'W'."

 

In-Class Participation

You are expected to do the readings on time (i.e. before the class period indicated) and come to class prepared to discuss them.  If you visit a tutor from the Center for Academic Success more than twice, keep track of your visits so that those visits (beyond the first two) can be applied to the In-Class Participation portion of your final course grade. 

 

Group Exercise Participation

At various times during the semester we will engage in group exercises.  Other, specific expectations for the group exercises will be spelled out in the group exercise prompts.  Note: at no point will you be graded on someone else's performance, or lack of performance. 

 

Quizzes

Quizzes will be administered during various course meetings.  The lowest three quiz grades will be dropped–so no make-up quizzes will be given, unless you have a credible excuse (e.g., doctor's note, jury summons, obituary notice, etc.). 

 

Essays

You will be given a prompt for each of the four essays, and approximately a week to complete it.  The single lowest of the four grades will be dropped.  Note: I will not drop an essay grade if the essay in question includes an instance of plagiarism.  The essays for this class must be philosophical.  Your essay must have an original thesis/argument and support for that thesis/argument.  Other, specific expectations for essays will be spelled out in their prompts.  Also, you will be expected to correct errors in mechanics, usage, grammar, and spelling.  

 

Drafts

You are encouraged (but not required) to submit rough drafts of assignments (except the final essay).  I will comment on your draft and offer advice and assistance where I can.  I will not comment on drafts submitted too close to the due date (like the night before the assignment is due).  If I get swamped with drafts two days before the assignment is due, I sometimes return comments two or three days later along with an extended due date so that you have time to take my comments into consideration. 

 

Late Paper Policy

If you have a credible excuse (e.g., doctor's note, jury summons, obituary notice, etc.) late take-home assignments will be accepted.  Extensions for take-home assignments will be given only when 1) a compelling reason is given and 2) permission is sought at least three days before the normal deadline.  Without a credible excuse, late assignments will be given a third of a letter grade penalty for each day the assignment is late for up to seven days, after which late assignments without a credible excess will only be accepted for half of the assignment's total value. 

 

Extra Credit

For a one-time total of 2.5% of extra credit, to be applied to your final course grade, attend some on-campus event (after the first half of the course, but before the end of finals) and apply the skills we've developed.  For another one-time total of 2.5% of extra credit, to be applied to your final course grade, seek out the assistance of a tutor from the Center for Academic Success at least twice. More details about both of these extra credit options can be found here: http://www.christopherlay.com/ethicsextracredit.html

 

Turn-Around Times for Emails, Rough Drafts, and Final Drafts

I am usually able to respond to emails within 24-hours, but sometimes I cannot (e.g., it is the weekend, or it is the day before an assignment is due and everyone is emailing me with last-minute questions, etc.)  I usually return rough drafts with comments about two days after they have been submitted to me, but sometimes it takes longer because there is a sudden flood of rough drafts (e.g., when the due date is two days away).  I usually return final drafts (with the exception of the final assignment of the semester) two or three weeks (or one week during a shorter session) after they have been submitted to me (which is not always the same thing as the assignment's due date).  Taking that amount of time to grade final drafts allows me to give you all of the comments I give—I try and give many, many comments.  The final assignment of the semester will be returned upon request only. 

 

Accommodations for Students with Disabilities (from the Pierce College Catalogue):

"Students with physical, psychological or learning disabilities are offered a wide range of services including registration, special parking and counseling. These services are also available to students with a temporary disability such as injury or post-operative recuperation. All services and equipment are provided free of charge to any qualifying disabled student."

"Deaf and learning disabled students are offered additional services including special classes, tutoring and computer-assisted instruction. The Disabled Students Office is located in the Student Services Building, room 48175. The office is open Monday through Thursday from 8:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. and Friday 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m." 

Phone: (818) 719-6430

Fax: (818) 710-4219

VP Number:(818) 436-0467

Email: special_services@piercecollege.edu

 

Three Attempts Policy

Familiarize yourself with the statewide policy regarding how many times (generally 3) you may attempt a class before you are ‘locked out’ of further attempts in the LACCD.  See the Pierce College Schedule of Classes, the Counseling Center, or me for more info. 

 

Name and Gender Policy

The campus provides me with a roster that lists the name that it has on record for you.  But you may prefer a different name. In such cases, please email me or correct me in class and I’ll gladly refer to you however you wish as best I can.  The same applies with gender identity: if you identify with a particular pronoun, set of pronouns, or always by your proper name, please let me know and I’ll gladly refer to you however you wish as best I can.

 

Current and Former Foster Students

Pierce College is making a special effort to support current and former foster youths at Pierce College. If you are a current or former foster youth you may qualify for other support services to help you achieve your educational goals.  Please contact our Guardian Scholars Program at (818) 710-3323 or send an email to guardianscholars@piercecollege.edu so you can get the support you are eligible for.

 

Reading and Assignment Schedule

(Subject to occasional change)

 

 

Week One

 

Monday

Syllabus & Course Overview

 

Notes on Group Work

 

Quiz on Premises and Conclusions

 

Tuesday

Aristotle Reading

Reading Notes for Aristotle reading

Lecture Notes for Aristotle reading

 

Group Exercise for Aristotle reading

Quiz for Aristotle Reading

 

Wednesday

Kant Reading

Reading Notes for Kant reading

Lecture Notes for Kant reading

 

Group Exercise for Kant reading

Quiz for Kant reading

 

Thursday

Mill Reading

Reading Notes for Mill reading

Lecture Notes for Mill reading

Group Exercise for Mill reading

Quiz for Mill reading

 

 

 

Week Two

 

Monday

Heilbroner's "What has Posterity Ever Done for Me?"

Reading Notes for Heilbroner reading

Lecture Notes for Heilbroner reading

 

Group Exercise for Heilbroner reading

Quiz for Heilbroner reading

 

Notes on Writing Philosophy Essays

 

Quiz on Introductions

 

Tuesday

Hardin's "The Tragedy of Commons"

Reading Notes for Hardin reading

Lecture Notes for Hardin reading

Optional Reading: Selterman's (2015) "Why I give my students a 'tragedy of the commons' extra credit challenge" from the Washington Post

 

Quiz on Number of Arguments 

 

Wednesday

Kelman's "Cost-Benefit Analysis: An Ethical Critique"

Reading Notes for Kelman reading

Lecture Notes for Kelman reading

 

Hardin's "The Tragedy of Commons"

Reading Notes for Hardin reading

Lecture Notes for Hardin reading

 

Group Exercise on Writing / Arguments

 

Quiz on Naysaying  

 

Thursday

Review: Kant Reading

 

Review: Mill Reading

 

Review: Heilbroner's "What has Posterity Ever Done for Me?"

 

Group Exercise on Writing / Objections

 

Quiz on Conclusions

 

Thursday, June 22nd

First Essay Due

 

 

Week Three

 

Monday

Baxter's "People or Penguins: The Case for Optimal Pollution"

Reading Notes for Baxter's "People or Penguins: The Case for Optimal Pollution"

Lecture Notes for the Baxter reading

 

Group Exercise on Animals

 

Quiz on Quotes (and when they are needed)

 

Tuesday

Baxter's "People or Penguins: The Case for Optimal Pollution"

Reading Notes for Baxter's "People or Penguins: The Case for Optimal Pollution"

Lecture Notes for the Baxter reading

 

Quiz on Paraphrasing

 

Group Exercise for the Baxter reading

 

Wednesday

Singer's "All Animals are Equal"

Reading Notes for Singer's "All Animals are Equal"

Lecture Notes for the Singer reading

 

Quiz on Sign Posting

 

Group Exercise on Writing / Arguments

 

Thursday

Singer's "All Animals are Equal"

Reading Notes for Singer's "All Animals are Equal"

Lecture Notes for the Singer reading

 

Group Exercise on Writing / Objections

 

Thursday, June 29th @ 6:00PM

Deadline for drafts for comments on the Second Essay

Saturday, July 1st

Second Essay Due

 

 

Week Four

 

Monday

Singer's "Famine, Affluence, and Morality"

Reading Notes for Singer's "Famine, Affluence, and Morality"

Lecture Notes for Singer reading

 

Group Exercise on Need and Affluence

 

Quiz on Singer's Prevention Principle

 

Tuesday

No Class

 

Optional Reading: Oelbaum's (2016) "The Hopeful Pragmatist: Ethicist Peter Singer on why working on Wall Street might be your most charitable act yet" from The Daily Good

 

Wednesday

Singer's "Famine, Affluence, and Morality"

Reading Notes for Singer's "Famine, Affluence, and Morality"

Lecture Notes for Singer reading

 

Group Exercise on Singer's Prevention Principle

 

Sample Essay Description

 

Group Exercise on Writing / Arguments

 

Thursday

Singer's "Famine, Affluence, and Morality"

Reading Notes for Singer's "Famine, Affluence, and Morality"

Lecture Notes for Singer reading

 

Group Exercise on Writing / Objections

 

Thursday, July 6th @ 6:00PM

Deadline for drafts for comments on the Third Essay

Saturday, July 8th

Third Essay Due

 

 

Week Five

 

Monday

Thomson's "A Defense of Abortion"

Reading Notes for Thomson's "A Defense of Abortion"

Lecture Notes for Thomson reading

 

Group Exercise on Thomson's Right to Life

 

Quiz on Thomson's version of the Right to Life

 

Tuesday

Thomson's "A Defense of Abortion"

Reading Notes for Thomson's "A Defense of Abortion"

Lecture Notes for Thomson reading

 

Marquis' "Why Abortion Is Immoral"

Reading Notes for Marquis' "Why Abortion Is Immoral"

Lecture Notes for the Marquis reading

 

Group Exercise on Marquis' Potential for a Future Like Ours  

 

Wednesday

Marquis' "Why Abortion Is Immoral"

Reading Notes for Marquis' "Why Abortion Is Immoral"

Lecture Notes for the Marquis reading

 

Quiz on Assumptions about Readers

 

Thursday

Review

 

Group Exercise on Writing / Arguments

 

Quiz on Quizzes

 

Grade Calculator

 

Saturday, July 15th  

Final Essay Due

 

 

Conduct on Campus for Students and Instructors (from http://info.piercecollege.edu/info/conduct/index.asp): 

"LACCD Board Rule 9803 STANDARDS OF CONDUCT"

"A student enrolling in one of the Los Angeles Community Colleges may rightfully expect that the faculty and administrators of the Colleges will maintain an environment in which there is freedom to learn. This requires that there be appropriate conditions and opportunities in the classroom and on the campus. As members of the college community, students should be encouraged to develop the capacity for critical judgment, to engage in the sustained and independent search for truth, and to exercise their rights to free inquiry and free speech in a responsible, non-violent manner. In the furtherance of the students' interest in free inquiry and the search for truth, it is also important that students be able to hear the views of non-students and engage in the free exchange of ideas with non-students."

 

Academic Honesty (from the Pierce College Catalogue):

"I . Violations of academic honesty and integrity occur when a student participates in any act in which he/she uses deception or fraud while performing an academic activity. Violations include, but are not limited to, the following:

"• Submitting for a grade the words, ideas, and/or written work (including laboratory notes and drawings) of another person without giving due credit to that person. This includes purchased papers or papers written by other students."

 

Student Grievances (from http://www.piercecollege.edu/offices/compliance/stdgrievance.asp): 

"The student grievance procedure is designed to provide a prompt and equitable means for resolving student grievances, including but not limited to the grading process. The grievance procedure may be initiated by a student or group of students who reasonably believe that they have been subject to unjust action or denied rights that adversely affect their status, rights, or privileges as a student. To initiate a student grievance, please contact the Office of Student Services at 818-710-6418."

"Informal Resolution"

"All parties involved in a potential grievance are encouraged to seek an informal remedy."

"The recommended steps for students to follow are:

"meeting directly with the faculty member(s) with whom the student has a problem"

"meeting with the department chair of the faculty member(s)"

"meeting with the department's Dean of Academic Affair" or

"meeting with the College Ombudsperson Ombudspersons are faculty members appointed by the Academic Senate to assist students in obtaining informal resolution of a grievance."