Philosophy 2: Society and Values

Pierce College

Department of History, Philosophy, & Sociology

Spring, 2017

 

Contact Information

Instructor: Christopher Lay, Ph.D

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

Website: www.christopherlay.com/societyvalues.html

Office Location: Room 910 in the 900/IRIS Building

 

Office Hours

A) Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 12:45 to 2:06PM (no appointment necessary);

B) or by appointment if you can't meet during A). 

 

Meeting Times and Place for Course #0594

Lecture Meeting Times:  Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2:15 to 3:40PM

Meeting Location:  BRCH 1109

 

Catalog Course Description

"Students study and evaluate some of the traditional and contemporary theories in social and political philosophy, covering topics such as rights, governments, social institutions, citizenship, and distributive justice."

 

Prerequisite(s)

None. 

 

Student Learning Outcomes:

1.  Students will demonstrate the ability to apply thinking skills to some of the major problems and responses central to philosophical questioning.

2.  Students will understand, comprehend, subdivide, and inter-relate major problems, philosophical questions, and responses central to social and political philosophy. 

 

Required Texts

*

All materials will be found, for free, online. 

 

 

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. Please do not make requests for exceptions. 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. 

 

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 four quiz grades will be dropped–so no make-up quizzes will be given. 

 

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 the essay will be spelled out in the essay 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.  Rough drafts should not exceed half of the final draft length (e.g. if the final assignment is three pages the rough draft submitted for comments should not exceed one and a half pages).  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 not be accepted for anything more than half of the assignment's value. 

 

Extra Credit

For 2.5% of extra credit, to be applied to your final course grade, seek out the assistance of our tutor at least twice.  For another 2.5% of extra credit, to be applied to your final course grade, attend some on-campus event (after week 12, but before the final essay is due) and apply some of the skills we've developed over the course of the semester.  More details about both of these extra credit options can be found here: http://www.christopherlay.com/SocietyValuesextracredit.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 new 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 be sure to my part.

 

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) (College Calendar)

 

 

Week One

Introductions, Morality, & Relativism

 

Reading: Course Syllabus including Schedule of Readings and Assignments  

 

Reading: excerpts from Midgley's "Trying Out One's New Sword"

Reading Notes for the excerpts from Midgley's "Trying Out One's New Sword"

Lecture Notes for the Midgley reading

 

First Essay Prompt

Notes on Writing Philosophy Essays

 

Week Two

Is ≠ Ought & Moral Relativism

 

Reading: excerpts from Midgley's "Trying Out One's New Sword"

Reading Notes for the excerpts from Midgley's "Trying Out One's New Sword"

Lecture Notes for the Midgley reading

 

Notes on the Value of Group Work

Group Exercise on Moral Relativism

 

First Essay Prompt

Notes on Writing Philosophy Essays

 

Quiz on Introductions

 

Week Three

Knowledge and Morality  

 

Reading: excerpts from Midgley's "Trying Out One's New Sword"

Reading Notes for the excerpts from Midgley's "Trying Out One's New Sword"

Lecture Notes for the Midgley reading

 

First Essay Prompt

Notes on Writing Philosophy Essays

 

Quiz on Number of Arguments 

 

Group Exercise on Writing / Arguments

 

Week Four

Duty Theory

 

Reading: excerpts from Kant's Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals

Reading Notes for the excerpts from Kant's Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals

Lecture Notes for Kant reading

 

First Essay Prompt

Notes on Writing Philosophy Essays

 

Quiz on Naysaying  

 

Group Exercise on Writing /Objections

Friday, March 3

First Essay Due

 

Week Five

Duty Theory

 

Prompt for the Second Essay

 

Reading: excerpts from Kant's Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals

Reading Notes for the excerpts from Kant's Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals

Lecture Notes for Kant reading

 

Quiz on Kant reading  

 

Week Six

Duty & Utilitarianism

 

Reading: excerpts from Kant's Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals

Reading Notes for the excerpts from Kant's Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals

Lecture Notes for Kant reading

 

Reading: excerpts from Mill's Utilitarianism

Reading Notes for the excerpts from Mill's Utilitarianism

Lecture Notes for Mill reading

 

Quiz on Mill reading

 

Group Exercise for Mill's Utilitarianism  

 

Week Seven

Utilitarianism

 

Reading: excerpts from Mill's Utilitarianism

Reading Notes for the excerpts from Mill's Utilitarianism

Lecture Notes for Mill reading

 

Quiz on Number of Arguments 

 

Group Exercise on Writing / Arguments

 

Week Eight

Review

First Meeting

Review

 

Quiz on Naysaying  

 

Group Exercise on Writing / Objections

 

Second Meeting

No Class

 

Friday, March 31

Second Essay Due

 

Week Nine

Spring Break

 

No Classes

 

Week Ten

Mill's Principle of Harm

 

Reading: excerpts from Mill's On Liberty

Reading Notes for the excerpts from Mill's On Liberty

Lecture Notes for Mill reading

 

Group Exercise for Mill's Harm and Pains

 

Week Eleven

Mill's Principle of Harm

 

Reading: excerpts from Mill's On Liberty

Reading Notes for the excerpts from Mill's On Liberty

Lecture Notes for Mill reading

 

Group Exercise for Mill's Harms and Taxation

 

Quiz on Sign Posting

 

Week Twelve

Mill's Principle of Harm

 

Reading: excerpts from Mill's On Liberty

Reading Notes for the excerpts from Mill's On Liberty

Lecture Notes for Mill reading

 

Group Exercise on Writing / Arguments

Group Exercise on Writing / Objections

 

Quiz on Mill's Principle of Harm

 

Friday, April 28

Third Essay Due

 

Week Thirteen

Justice / Fairness

 

Reading: excerpts from Rawls' "Justice as Fairness"  

Reading Notes for the excerpts from Rawls' "Justice as Fairness"

Lecture Notes for the Rawls' reading

 

Group Exercise on Fairness  

 

Quiz on Assumptions about Readers

 

Week Fourteen

Justice / Fairness

 

Reading: excerpts from Rawls' "Justice as Fairness"  

Reading Notes for the excerpts from Rawls' "Justice as Fairness"

Lecture Notes for the Rawls' reading

 

Optional Reading: Singer's "All Animals are Equal"

Reading Notes for those excerpts

 

Optional Reading: excerpts from Nozick's "Distributive Justice" in Anarchy, State, and Utopia

Reading Notes for those excerpts

 

Group Exercise on Difference and Inequality

 

Week Fifteen

Justice / Fairness

 

Reading: excerpts from Rawls' "Justice as Fairness"  

Reading Notes for the excerpts from Rawls' "Justice as Fairness"

Lecture Notes for the Rawls' reading

 

Quiz on Rawls Reading

 

Optional Reading: excerpts from Paine's "Agrarian Justice"

Reading Notes for those Paine excerpts

 

Group Exercise on Writing / Arguments

 

Week Sixteen

Ethics and Political Philosophy

 

Reading: excerpts from Rawls' "Justice as Fairness"  

Reading Notes for the excerpts from Rawls' "Justice as Fairness"

Lecture Notes for the Rawls' reading

 

Group Exercise on Writing / Objections

 

Quiz on Conclusions

 

Thursday, May 25

Last day to turn in optional drafts of the Final Essay for comments 

 

Week Seventeen

Finals Week (Schedule)

Tuesday, May 30

Final Essay due via email by 11:59PM (but I will be in the normal classroom during the scheduled final exam time, Tuesday, May 30th from 2:15PM to 4:15PM.) 

 

 

 

 

 

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."