Phil 102B F10: Schedule and Syllabus


Philosophy 102B: Introduction to Philosophy: Values

Fall 2010

CRN 87130 F 9:00-12:10 PM Location: H307

Instructor Information  

Dr. Ian M. Duckles
Office Hours: By Appointment

Course Objectives: My goal in this course is to briefly introduce you to some of the major, western ethical theories, and then explore in some detail how these ethical theories apply to contemporary problems that confront us as human beings and as citizens of the world. My hope is that this will lead you to see the importance and relevance of ethical inquiry, and the ways in which such inquiry helps you to lead an authentic and meaningful human existence.

Methodology: In an effort to make the class more effectively reflect your own interests, much of the course will be designed by the students. After the introductory material is covered in the first few weeks, students will then vote on which topics they want to read about and discuss next. Our text has eight topics from which to choose. 

Texts: There is only one text for the class, and all readings are from it. The text is:

Contemporary Moral Problems, 9th edition. James E. White ed. Thomson-Wadsworth, 2009.
Reading assignments can be found on the schedule. You can also use the 8th edition of the text. Special accommodations for users of the 8th edition will be presented in class.

Assignments: Your grade in the course will be based on your performance on three types of assignments:

  1. Weekly Quizzes: Almost every week there will be a quiz at the beginning of class on the material we covered the previous week. These quizzes will collectively be worth 20% of your grade. These quizzes cannot be made up if missed.
  2. Class Participation: This is worth 10% of your grade and is based on attendance and participation in class activities. Student who are very tardy or who leave early will be considered absent.
  3. Exams: In addition to the first midterm, there will be an exam for each unit covered in class. Each exam will count the same for a total of 40% of your grade in the course.
  4. Final Exam: The final exam will be comprehensive, and count for 20%
  5. Final Project: All students will complete a final project during the last few weeks of the course. Though this project is only worth 10% of your grade, failure to complete the project will result in an F in the course. More details about the project will be announced in class and on this site at a later date. 

Grade Scale:

    ≥ 90 = A
    ≥ 80 = B
    ≥ 70 = C
    ≥ 60 = D
    < 60 = F

Academic Integrity and Conduct: Mesa College students are bound by the Student Code of Conduct, Policy 3100.  In this course, cheating, plagiarism, disruptions of instructional activity, fraud and/or lying will result in, at a minimum, a grade of “F” for the assignment/test with no make up permitted.  Any of these infractions may result in an “F” for the course as well and formal disciplinary action by the Dean of Student Affairs as described in the code (as published in the catalog or online).

Accommodations for Students with Disabilities: Students with disabilities who may need accommodations in this class are encouraged to notify the instructor and DSPS. DSPS can be found at or they can be contacted by phone at 619-388-2780.


All readings can be found in Contemporary Moral Problems 9th edition. James E. White ed. Thomson-Wadsworth, 2009. Page numbers refer to this edition. Reading assignments are subject to change and are expected to be completed for the day on which they are assigned.

Week 1
August 27: Introduction, Aquinas, “The Natural Law”; Hume, “Morality is Based on Sentiment”; Shaw, “Ethical Relativism”; Mill, “Utilitarianism” (pp. 27-44).

Week 2
September 3: Kant, “The Categorical Imperative”; Aristotle, “Happiness and Virtue"; Rawls, “A Theory of Justice”; Grimshaw, “The Idea of a Female Ethic” (pp. 44-73).

Week 3
September 10: Rawls, "A Theory of Justice"; Grimshaw, "The Idea of a Female Ethic."

Week 4
September 17: Review and

Week 5: Drugs and Liberty
September 24: 
Drugs and Addiction Introduction; Mill, "On Liberty" PDF Download. 

Week 6: Drugs and Liberty
October 1: Dworkin, "Paternalism" PDF DownloadSzasz, "The Ethics of Addiction" (pp. 281-288)

Week 7: Drugs and Liberty
October 8: 
USDEA, "Speaking Out Against Drug Legalization" (pp. 289-298) PDF DownloadShapiro, "Addiction and Drug Policy" (pp. 298-304) 

Week 8: Gay Rights and Same -Sex Marriage
October 15: Introduction; Vatican Statement on Sexual Ethics (PDF) and Review for second exam.

Week 9: Drugs and Liberty
October 22: 

Week 10: Gay Rights and Same-Sex Marriage
October 29: Gay Rights and Same-Sex Marriage

Week 11: Gay Rights and Same-Sex Marriage
November 5: 
Nussbaum, "Gay Rights" (pp. 242-248)

Week 12
November 12: NO CLASS (Veteran's Day)

Week 13: Ethics of Food and US Food Policy
November 19:
 Introduction of Paper Topic; watch film in class Food Inc. Lecture on Corn


Week 15: Gay Rights and Same-Sex Marriage
December 3: 
Finish Same-Sex Marriage, Jordan, "Is It Wrong to Discriminate on the Basis of Homosexuality?" (pp. 248-257), Rauch, "Who Needs Marriage?" (pp. 257-266)

Week 16: Gay Rights and Same-Sex Marriage
December 10: Continue Previous Discussion; In Class Peer-Editing, Review for Final

Week 17
December 17: 
FINAL EXAM (Final Paper Due)