Phil 102B Su16: Schedule and Syllabus

Philosophy 102B: Introduction to Philosophy: Values

Summer 2016

CRN 61345 MW 1:00 PM-4:10 PM Location: SB-212

Instructor Information  

Dr. Ian M. Duckles
Office Hours: By Appointment
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.

Textbooks: There is one text required for this class:

  • Exploring Ethics: An Introductory Anthology, 3rd edition. Steven M. Cahn ed. Oxford University Press, 2014
    ISBN: 9780199946587
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. All readings come from Exploring Ethics.

Week 1

Tuesday, June 7: Introduction, Chapter 1, "Morality and Moral Philosophy" (pp. 2-5), "Phaedo" (pp. 22-26), "Letter from a Birmingham Jail" (pp. 27-43)

Homework: Please do the reading and answer the following questions. Your answer should be 1-2 pages total. 

  1. What is individual ethical relativism? What reasons speak in favor of it? Why is it ultimately rejected? (Chapter 5)
  2. What is cultural ethical relativism? What reasons speak in favor of it? Why is it ultimately rejected? (Chapter 7)
Thursday, June 9: Challenges to Morality, Chapters 5-8 (pp. 45-70)
Homework: Please answer the following questions for class on Tuesday. These are all drawn from Chapter 9. Your answer to all the questions should be 1-2 pages:
  1. Explain the difference between Psychological Egoism and Ethical Egoism.
  2. Explain one argument that supports Psychological Egoism.
  3. Why does Rachels reject Ethical Egoism?

Week 2

June 14: Challenges to Morality Part II, Chapters 9-11 (pp. 71-96)

June 16: EXAM 1

Week 3

June 21: Kant and Mill (pp. 98-134)
Homework: Identify two objections to utilitarianism. How would a utilitarian respond?

June 23: Aristotle and Virtue Ethics (pp. 135-143)
Homework: Explain some of the major differences between Hobbes' and Rawls' different conception of the social contract. Your answer should be 1-2 pages long.

Week 4

June 28: Ethics of Care and the Social Contract (pp. 144-163)

June 30: Watch Film in class, Crimes and Misdemeanors; discuss film

Week 5

July 5: EXAM 2

July 7: Watch Food Inc., Introduction of Paper Topic

Week 6

July 12: Terrorism: Read "Terrorism" and "Is Terrorism Distinctively Wrong?" (pp. 266-280)

July 14: Abortion: Read "A Defense of Abortion" and "On the Moral and Legal Status of Abortion (pp. 166-202); Pick a topic and bring your thesis statement to class.

Week 7

July 19: Read "Why Abortion is Immoral" and "Virtue Theory and Abortion" (pp. 203-224)

July 21: Watch The Thin Blue Line, In-class Peer Editing. Bring three copies of a draft of your paper to class for peer editing.

Week 8

July 26: Read "The Morality of Capital Punishment" and "The Death Penalty as a Symbolic Issue" (pp. 311-323), Final Paper Due

July 28:  FINAL EXAM 

Assignments: Your grade in the course will be based on your performance on the following assignments:

  • 20% Exam 1
  • 20% Exam 2
  • 20% Final Exam
  • 10% Final Paper: This due the penultimate day of class. Though only worth 10% of your grade in the course, failure to complete this assignment or the associated pre-writing will result in an F in the course. More information on this assignment will be provided later.
  • 10% Homework and In-Class Exercises: These are due at the start of the class for which it is assigned. Late assignments will not be accepted.
  • 20% Pop Quizzes: These will be given at the start of class and will cover the previous classes material. They cannot be made-up if missed, but I will drop the lowest quiz score.

Grade Scale:

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

Student Responsibility to Drop/Withdraw
: It is the student’s responsibility to officially add, drop, or withdraw from the course stated in the class schedule. Failure to do so can result in a failing grade. 
Students who remain enrolled in class beyond the published withdrawal deadline, as stated in the class schedule, will receive an evaluative letter grade in the class.

Attendance: During the first week of class, students will be dropped for any unexcused absence. Starting during the second week, students may be dropped for missing two classes. In addition, students who arrive unreasonably late or leave unreasonably early will be marked absent. I will not accept a vacation as an excuse. If you know that you will be missing a significant portion of the class or an exam due to summer plans, you should drop the course.

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 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.

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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!