USD Phil 330-05 F12: Schedule and Syllabus

Philosophy 330: Ethics; Section 05
Fall 2012
CRN: 2659   MW 5:30-6:50    Location: Loma Hall 004

Instructor Information: 
Dr. Ian M. Duckles
    Office: Founders Hall 167C
           Office Hours: MW 3:00-4:00 or by appointment

Course Objectives: Student should be able to:
  1. Describe the main tenets of the major ethical theories (Utilitarianism, Kantianism, etc.) in essay form.
  2. Identify specific moral problems and apply these theories to them.
  3. Identify the ethical principles that are important for their own activities, and examine those principles in light of the views encountered in the course.
Methodology: In an effort to make the class more effectively reflect student's 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 selected from the text that they want to read about and discuss next.

Texts: There is only one text for the class, and all readings are from it. The text is:
Contemporary Moral Problems, 10th edition. James E. White ed. Thomson-Wadsworth, 2012. ISBN: 978-0-8400-3378-9. You may also use the 9th edition of the text which can be found online for far less money. Reading assignments can be found on the schedule.

Assignments: Your grade in the course will be based on your performance on three types of assignments:
  1. Weekly Journal Entries: Each week a two-page journal entry reflecting on the past weeks readings and discussions will be due. More information on this assignment will be announced in class. These journals will collectively be worth 20% of your grade.
  2. Essay: There will be a final essay (4-6 pages) due on the last day of class. It will be worth 10% of your grade. Though this assignment is only worth 10% of your grade, failure to complete it will result in an F in the class. More information on this assignment will be announced in class.
  3. Exams: In addition to the first exam, there will be an exam for each unit covered in class. Each exam will count the same for a total of 60% of your grade in the course.
  4. Attendance and Participation: You will be expected to attend class and participate in class discussions. This is worth 10% of your grade.

Schedule: All readings can be found in Contemporary Moral Problems 10th edition. James E. White ed. Thomson-Wadsworth, 2012. Page numbers refer to this edition, page numbers in parentheses refer to the 9th edition. Reading assignments are subject to change and are expected to be completed for the day on which they are assigned.

Week 1: Introductions
Wednesday, September 5: Introduction

Week 2: Ethical Theories
Monday, September 10: Aquinas, "The Natural Law" pp. 28-30

Wednesday, September 12: Hume, "Morality is Based on Sentiment" pp. 30-33

Week 3: Ethical Theories
September 17: Mill, "Utilitarianism" pp. 38-46

September 19: Kant, "The Categorical Imperative" pp. 46-51

Week 4: Ethical Theories
September 24: Aristotle, "Happiness and Virtue" pp. 52-60

September 26: Rawls, "A Theory of Justice" pp. 61-67

Week 5: Ethical Theories
October 1: Lindemann, "What is Feminist Ethics?" pp. 67-73

October 3: Extra Day, Exam Prompt Distributed

Week 6: Abortion
October 8: Introduction to Abortion

October 10: US Supreme Court, Roe v Wade, pp. 87-96.

Week 7: Abortion
October 15: Extra Day

October 17: Noonan, "An Almost Absolute Value in History," pp. 97-101, First Exam Due

Week 8: Abortion
October 22: Thomson, "A Defense of Abortion," pp. 102-111.

October 24: Thomson Continued

Week 9: Abortion
October 29: Warren, "On the Moral and Legal Status of Abortion," pp. 111-121.

October 31: Marquis, "An Argument that Abortion is Wrong," pp. 122-132.

Week 10: Drugs
November 5: Introduction to Drugs, Distribute Second Exam Prompt

November 7: Mill, "On Liberty" PDF

Week 11: Drugs
November 12: Dworkin, "Paternalism" PDF

November 14: Szasz, "The Ethics of Addiction" PDF

Week 12: Drugs
November 19: Extra Day,
Second Exam Due

November 21: No Class!! Thanksgiving Break!!

Week 13: Drugs
November 26: Szasz continued

November 28: USDEA, "Speaking Out Against Drug Legalization" PDF

Week 14: Drugs
December 3: 
Wilson, "Against Legalization of Drugs" PDF

December 5: Shapiro, "Addiction and Drug Policy" PDF

Week 15: Food Ethics
December 10: TBD, Distribute Final

December 12: TBD, Essay Due

The Final Exam will be due by email on Wednesday, December 19 by 7:00 PM.

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.

Class Attendance: A student may be disenrolled from the course after two absences; however, a student will be disenrolled from the course after three absences without exception. (This count will begin on teh first day of class) ATTENDANCE IS VERY IMPORTANT FOR THIS PARTICULAR COURSE.

Tardiness/Early Departure: If a student arrives unreasonably late or leaves early without notifying the instructor before the event, then that student will be considered absent for that class session.

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: Plagiarism, cheating and poor student conduct will not be tolerated. Students are expected to familiarize themselves with the USD Integrity Policy. This can be found at

Accommodations for Students with Disabilities: Students with disabilities who may need accommodations in this class are encouraged to notify the instructor and Disability Services. Information can be found at