Phil 102B S19: Schedule and Syllabus

Philosophy 102B: Introduction to Philosophy: Values

Spring 2019

CRN 74807 MW 9:35-11:00 Location: SB-212

Instructor Information  

Dr. Ian M. Duckles
Office Hours: MW 11-12:00pm; TTH 10-11:00am; T 5-6:00pm
Office: SB 311-H
Phone: 619-388-2294

Course DescriptionThis course provides an introductory study of the aims, methods, types and problems of philosophy focusing on values and their place in an individual's daily life. Materials for this survey may be drawn from classical and contemporary thinkers. Students are encouraged to articulate, analyze, and evaluate their own beliefs/positions in the context of meaningful philosophical inquiry regarding value theory. This course is for anyone interested in the origin and justification of values and their application to everyday life. Associate Degree Credit & transfer to CSU. CSU General Education. IGETC. UC Transfer Course List. 

Course Objective
This course will introduce you to some of the major ethical theories and apply these theories to a host of contemporary problems.

Course Learning OutcomesStudents who complete PHIL 102B will be able to:

  1. Critical Thinking: Think critically in reading, writing, and/or speaking about the aims, methods, types, and problems of philosophy and philosophical inquiry at an introductory level, with a focus on values and their place in an individual’s life, thereby identifying problems, theses, arguments, evidence and conclusions;
  2. Communication: Write or speak about the aims, methods, types, and problems of philosophy and philosophical inquiry at an introductory level, with a focus on values and their place in an individual’s life, thereby addressing problems, formulating theses, making arguments, analyzing and weighing evidence, and deriving conclusions;
  3. Self-awareness and Interpersonal Skills: Demonstrate an ability to analyze one’s own beliefs/positions in the context of meaningful philosophical inquiry regarding value theory;
  4. Global Awareness: Articulate similarities and contrasts among cultures, times, and environments, demonstrating an understanding of cultural pluralism.

Requisites and Advisories: Advisory: ENGL 101 with a grade of "C" or better, or equivalent or Assessment Skill Level R6/W6; or ENGL 105 with a grade of "C" or better, or equivalent or Assessment Skill Level R6/W6.

Textbooks: There is one text required for this class. You may use the 3rd edition of the text. In addition, an eBook is also available:

  • Exploring Ethics: An Introductory Anthology, 4th edition. Steven M. Cahn ed. Oxford University Press, 2017
    ISBN: 9780190273637
Reading assignments can be found on the schedule.

Schedule: (topics and important dates included): Homework will be due daily and assignments will be announced in class. Do not be concerned if we fall ahead or behind on this schedule. The most important goal is that everyone understand the concepts and problems. This schedule is subject to change. All changes will be announced in class and posted on the course website. Students should check the course website (this one) regularly. All readings come from Exploring Ethics.

Week 1: Introduction

Monday, January 28: Introduction, What is Philosophy

Wednesday, January 30: Chapter 12, "The Categorical Imperative" (pp. 102-113)
Homework Due: In class we discussed four elements that make up an action. Which of these elements do you think is most important for moral evaluation? Why? 

Week 2: Moral Theories

February 4: Chapter 14, "Utilitarianism" (pp. 118-129)
Homework Due: Chapter 15 in our text describes a number of objections to utilitarianism. Identify one of those objections. How could a utilitarian respond?

February 6:  Chapter 16, "The Nature of Virtue" (pp. 139-144)
Homework Due: According to Aristotle, what is the function of a human being? How does he reach this conclusion? 

Week 3: Moral Theories

February 11: Continue Discussions
Homework Due: Come up with a conception of the function for a US Citizen. Having identified this function, come up with a virtue that would contribute to this function. In describing that virtue be sure to identify the emotion or appetite it is concerned with, as well as the vices of excess and deficiency. 

February 13: Chapter 19, "The Ethics of Care" (pp. 148-153); Chapter 20, "The Social Contract" (pp. 154-161)
Homework Due: Identify some of the major advantages and disadvantages of a democracy and of a monarchy.

Week 4: Moral Theories

February 18: NO CLASS!!

February 20: Chapter 21, "A Theory of Justice" (pp. 162-167)
Homework Due: What sorts of problems or concerns led to the perceived need to develop an Ethic of Care?

Week 5: Moral Theories

February 25: Watch Film in Class, Crimes and Misdemeanors

February 27: Continue Film and Discuss

Week 6: Exam

March 4: Review for Exam


Week 7: Abortion

March 11: Introduction to Abortion

March 13: Chapter 21, "A Defense of Abortion" (pp. 166-184)
Homework Due:  What qualities or characteristics do you think are most important for moral status? How would those qualities or characteristics impact the issue of abortion?

Week 8: Abortion

March 18: Chapter 23, "Why Abortion is Immoral" (pp. 203-211)
Homework Due:  
Identify one of the thought experiments that Thompson considers in her essay. Explain the example and then explain its relevance to the issue of abortion.

March 20: Abortion Continued. 
Homework Due: According to Don Marquis, why is killing wrong?

Week 9: Spring Break!!

March 25: NO CLASS!!

March 27: NO CLASS!!

Week 10: Life and Death

April 1: Chapter 45, "The Trolley Problem"; Chapter 46, "Turning the Trolley" (pp. 428-434)

April 3: Chapter 47, "Death" (pp. 435-444)
Homework Due: Come up with a different and new version of the Trolley Problem. What is the right way to decide your modified version of the problem? Why?

Week 11: Exam

April 8: Review for Exam

April 10: Second Exam

Week 12: Food Inc.

April 15: Watch Film in Class Food Inc., Introduction of Paper Topic

April 17: Continue Film, discuss paper writing.  

Week 13: Animal Rights

April 22: Chapter 35, "The Case for Animal Rights" (pp. 325-338)
Homework Due: What is Regan's criticism of Utilitarianism? What is Regan's account of moral status? How does it apply to animals? 

April 24: Chapter 36, "Why Animals Have No Rights" (pp. 339-343)
Homework Due: Select a topic for your final paper. Also, Cohen considers two objections to his view. What are these objections? How does he respond to them? 

Week 14: Animal Rights

April 29: Chapter 37, "Speaking of Animal Rights" (pp. 344-354)
Homework Due: What are Warren's criticisms of Regan's view? 

May 1: Animal Rights Continued; In-class Peer Editing 
Homework Due: Bring two copies of a draft of your paper to class for in-class peer-editing. 

Week 15: Posthuman and the Meaning of Life

May 6: Post- and Transhumanism, readings to be announced

May 8: Post- and Transhumanism Continued; Final Paper Due

Week 16: Posthuman and the Meaning of Life

May 13: Read Taylor, "The Meaning of Life" (pp. 446-456)

May 15: Read Wolf, "Meaning in Life" and Vitrano, "Meaningful Lives" (pp. 457-464) 

Week 17: Finals

May 20:  Review for Final

May 22: Final Exam

: Your grade in the course will be out of 500 points and will be based on the following assignments:

  • Exam 1: 100 points.
  • Exam 2: 100 points.
  • Final Exam: 100 points.
  • Final Paper and Pre-Writing: 50 points. More information on this assignment will be provided later.
  • Homework and In-Class Exercises: 50 points. Each homework assignment will be worth 2.5 points. These are due at the start of the class for which they are assigned. Late assignments will not be accepted.
  • Pop Quizzes: 100 points. Each quiz will be worth 10 points. These will be given at the start of class and will cover material from the previous class. They cannot be made-up if missed, but I will drop the lowest quiz score.

Grade Scale:

    ≥ 450 points = A
    ≥ 400 points = B
    ≥ 350 points = C
    ≥ 300 = D
    < 300 = F

Student Responsibility to Drop/WithdrawIt is the student’s responsibility to drop all classes in which he/she is no longer attending. It is the instructor’s discretion to withdraw a student after the add/drop deadline (February 8) due to excessive absences. Students who remain enrolled in a class beyond the published withdrawal deadline (April 12) will receive an evaluative letter grade in the class.

Attendance: During the first two weeks of class, students will be dropped for any absence. Starting during the third week, students may be dropped for missing two classes. In addition, students who arrive unreasonably late or leave unreasonably early will be marked absent.

Professionalism: It is assumed that students will conduct themselves in a professional manner with a positive attitude. An open mind is one of the most important tools required for success in academia. If a student is negative and feels as is there is nothing of value to be gained by the college experience or this course, he or she will not do well in this course.

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 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 academic accommodations should discuss options with their professors during the first two weeks of class. You should also contact DSPS. DSPS can be found at or they can be contacted by phone at 619-388-2780.

TIPS FOR SUCCESS IN THIS COURSE (Thanks to Professor June Yang):

  1. Be optimistic about your ability to learn from the textbook, the instructor, and each other.
  2. Do all homework and all the readings. The homework will be collected every time, and spot-checked, and the readings will help you understand the course material.
  3. Be prepared to spend time outside of class working on class material, doing readings, homework, preparing for quizzes and exams, etc.
  4. Ask questions if you don't understand something.
  5. Remember that you are gifted with more education and intelligence than many persons on this planet. If you try, you are sure to get it, or at least most of it!
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