Phil 102B: Schedule and Syllabus

Philosophy 102B: Introduction to Philosophy: Values

Spring 2010

CRN 92548 TTH 5:00-8:10 PM Location: MCASM 5305

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 Essay: All students will complete a final essay 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
 March 23
Introduction; Aquinas, “The Natural Law”; Hume, “Morality is Based on Sentiment”; Shaw, “Ethical Relativism”; Mill, “Utilitarianism” (pp. 27-44).
  March 25
Kant, “The Categorical Imperative”; Aristotle, “Happiness and Virtue"; Rawls, “A Theory of Justice”; Grimshaw, “The Idea of a Female Ethic” (pp. 44-73).
  March 29-April 2
 Week 2
 April 6
Continue Previous Discussion
Review for Exam
  April 8
Midterm 1
 Week 3
 April 13
Drugs and Addiction Introduction
Mill, "On Liberty" PDF Download
  April 15
Dworkin, "Paternalism" PDF Download
Szasz, "The Ethics of Addiction" (pp. 281-288)
 Week 4
 April 20
USDEA, "Speaking Out Against Drug Legalization" (pp. 289-298) PDF Download
Shapiro, "Addiction and Drug Policy" (pp. 298-304)
  April 22
Midterm 2
 Week 5
 April 27
Capital Punishment, an Introduction
US Supreme Court, Gregg v. Georgia (pp. 200-209)
  April 29
Kant, "The Retributive Theory of Punishment (pp. 210-212)
Ernest van den Haag, "The Ultimate Punishment (pp. 212-217)
 Week 6
 May 4
Jeffrey H. Reiman, "Justice, Civilization, and the Death Penalty" (pp. 218-228)
David Gelernter, "What do Murderers Deserve?" (pp. 229-233)
  May 6
Midterm 3
 Week 7
 May 11
Introduction of Paper Topic
Lecture on Food and US Food Policy
  May 13      
 Week 8
 May 18
In-class Peer Editing (Bring two drafts of your paper to class)
  May 20
Final Exam
Final Paper Due