Phil 102B: Schedule and Syllabus

Changes and additions are in red; deletions are in strikethrough.

Philosophy 102B: Introduction to Philosophy: Values

Fall 2009

CRN 42136 MW 2:35-4:00 PM Location: D205

Instructor Information  

Dr. Ian M. Duckles
Office Hours: M 1:30-2:30 PM, W 3:00-4:00 PM or by appointment
Location: I will hold my office hours in the new coffee shop in the D-100 building

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 Monday 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 on September 1623, 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: Miramar 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 619-388-7312.


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

Monday, August 24: Introduction
Wednesday, August 26: Aquinas, “The Natural Law”; Hume, “Morality is Based on Sentiment”; Shaw, “Ethical Relativism”; Mill, “Utilitarianism” (pp. 27-44).

Week 2

August 31: Continue Discussion from Previous Day
September 2: 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 7: NO CLASS
September 9: Continue Discussion from Previous Day

Week 4

September 14: Review Rawls, "A Theory of Justice"
September 16: First Midterm Grimshaw, "The Idea of a Female Ethic"

Week 5

September 21: Review
September 23: FIRST MIDTERM


September 28: Drugs and Addiction Introduction
September 30: Mill, "On Liberty" PDF Download

Week 7

October 5: Dworkin, "Paternalism" PDF Download
October 7:
Szasz, "The Ethics of Addiction" (pp. 281-288)

Week 8

October 12: USDEA, "Speaking Out Against Drug Legalization" (pp. 289-298) PDF Download
October 14: Shapiro, "Addiction and Drug Policy" (pp. 298-304)

Week 9

October 19: Review


October 26: Gay Rights and Same-Sex Marriage Introduction
October 28: Vatican Statement on Sexual Ethics (PDF)

Week 11

November 2: Nussbaum, "Gay Rights" (pp. 242-248)
November 4: Jordan, "Is It Wrong to Discriminate on the Basis of Homosexuality?" (pp. 248-257)

Week 12

November 9: Rauch, "Who Need Marriage?" (pp. 257-266)
November 11: Gallagher, "What Marriage is For" (pp. 266-270)

Week 13

November 16: Review
November 18: THIRD MIDTERM


Week 15

November 30: Review Introduction of Paper Topic
December 2: THIRD MIDTERM Lecture on Food and Food Policy

Week 16

December 7: Lecture on Food and Food Policy Con't
December 9: In-Class Peer Editing (Bring two copies of your rough draft to class)

Week 17

December 14: Review for Final
December 16:  FINAL EXAM (Final Paper Due)


Ian Duckles,
Sep 26, 2009, 10:45 AM
Ian Duckles,
Sep 26, 2009, 10:45 AM
Ian Duckles,
Oct 6, 2009, 4:28 PM
Ian Duckles,
Oct 13, 2009, 5:44 PM