USD Phil 330-05 F12: Journal Instructions

Each week you are expected to write a two-page journal on a topic assigned the previous week. The journal should be typed, double-spaced in 10-12 point legible font. These journals should be emailed as attachments to The attachments should be in .doc, .docx, .pdf, or .rtf format. They are due before the start of class on Monday. I will not accept any late assignments. Specific assignments are below:

Journal 6, Due Monday, November 5: For this journal I want to learn about your conception of personhood. What qualities or characteristics must an entity possess in order to qualify as a person? Under your conception, can non-human animals be persons? Why or why not? Can some humans be non-persons? Why or why not? How relevant is issue of personhood to the abortion debate? I realize some of you covered this in the previous journal, but I am looking for a discussion of this topic that goes beyond its application to the abortion debate.

Due Monday, October 29: What is your opinion about the morality or immorality of abortion? Do you think it is morally permissible? Why or why not? Do you think the question of the morality of abortion turns on the personhood of the fetus? What 
qualifications should be satisfied for an entity to count as a person? Do not feel that you need to answer all these question in your journal. I am primarily interested in your opinion about the morality or immorality of abortion.

Due Monday, October 1: As we have seen, Aristotle closely ties the notion of virtue to the concept of a function. In addition, he provides a detailed account of the structure of a moral virtue. For this journal, I want you to use this framework to think about the USA. In particular, I want you to consider what the function of an American citizen might be. Then, I want you to think about what several virtues of an American citizen might be. In articulating this part of your journal, be sure to discuss the emotion or appetite the virtue is concerned with as well as the associated vices of excess and deficiency. 

Due Monday, September 24: A consequence of Utilitarianism is that it can be moral to sacrifice the life of one individual so long as it maximizes overall happiness. By contrast, Kant argues that such a sacrifice would be seriously immoral. What do you think? Are there situations where one could be morally required to sacrifice the life of one person to benefit others? Why or why not? If you do think it can be moral, please provide an example.

Due Monday, September 17: What do you think of Hume's criticism of Aquinas and the role that reason plays in morality. Is Hume correct when he argues that, "reason is and ought only to be the slave of the passions?" Why or why not?

Due Monday, September 10: Describe your own personal moral code. What are your moral values? Where do they come from (not who did you learn them from, but what is their source? God, Reason, something else)? Why do you feel bound by them or obligated to follow them?