Introduction to Ethics Syllabus for 2021-2022
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PHIL-2306-008 Introduction to Ethics


Course Description

The systematic evaluation of classical and/or contemporary ethical theories concerning the good life, human conduct in society, morals and standards of value.

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Notice to Students enrolled in an educational program for preparation of issuance of certain occupational licenses:

Students enrolled in an educational program in preparation for obtaining certain occupational licenses are potentially ineligible for such license if the student has been convicted of an offense. For further information, please contact:

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(3 sem hrs; 3 lec)

Class Type

Online Course

Syllabus Information


1. Optional:  Blackburn, Simon, The Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy, 2nd Edition Revised, Oxford University Press, 2008.


Your textbooks, syllabus, notetaking materials, and access to a computer to complete assignments and review class materials.  Access to reference materials through the library or online is necessary for the successful completion of this course.  Access to films may be necessary if you cannot attend on the days we view and discuss contemporary movies.

Student Performance


Online communication will be achieved between students and the professor by using AC Connect.  It is the student's responsibility to check for email messages and announcements regarding this class by clicking on AC Connect at the top of the Amarillo College home page, and then clicking on the icon identifying this class.  You will be able to communicate with both your classmates and professor, check your syllabus, find required supplemental materials, assignments, and grades posted there.  Instructor response to student emails may take up to 24 hrs.

All exams, except for Exam #1, will be taken in class.  Other assignments, including weekly assignments and the research project, will be submitted through Blackboard.  If you need assistance submitting assignments through Blackboard, contact the Student Technology Help Center, the Writing Lab, or Writer’s Corner,.  All assignments are due at the beginning of the class period.  Assignments submitted after the beginning of the class period will be considered late.

Late Assignments:  10 pts will be deducted from the grade for late assignments for each day they are late.  After three days, late assignments will receive a zero..  

OBJECTIVES AND GOALS: We will identify history’s leading paradigmatic philosophers and analyze their philosophies through assigned readings, lectures, discussions and the viewing of appropriate movies and movie clips.

POLICY CONCERNING SENSITIVE SUBJECT MATTER:  In the college experience, students encounter diverse views and new subject matter which expand their knowledge and perspective.  In all Humanities or Philosophy courses, we might observe, read, and discuss some works with subject matter that could include (but not be limited to) death, violence, sexuality, race, potentially offensive language, and political or religious viewpoints different from your own.  If any sensitive subject matter is a concern for you, please arrange a meeting with the instructor.


Upon successful completion of the course, students will:

  1. Read, analyze, and critique philosophical texts.
  2. Demonstrate knowledge of key concepts, major arguments, problems, and terminology inPhilosophy.
  3. Present logically persuasive arguments both orally and in writing.
  4. Demonstrate critical thinking skills in evaluation and application of philosophical concepts to various aspects of life.
  5. Evaluate the personal and social responsibilities of living in a diverse world.

THE STUDY OF PHILOSOPHY: Philosophy is an important part to the foundation of a liberal arts education. Courses in philosophy help to provide a deeper understanding of the concepts which have formed human cultures while at the same time helping to develop the students’ skills in critical analysis, their ability to write and interpret texts from all cultures, and to examine the ideas behind theoretical thinking.


  1. Regular attendance and classroom participation. Two unexcused absences will result in the loss of one letter grade for the semester. Four unexcused absences will then result in the loss of two letter grades. Absences may be excused if they are the result of illness, official Amarillo College business, or personal emergencies.It is your responsibility to talk with the instructor about this.
  2. A careful reading of all the assigned sections of the textbooks (see the class outline on this syllabus to find your specific reading assignments). Reading the assigned portions of the textbooks before coming to class is necessary for the successful completion of this course.
  3. The successful completion of three examinations, including the final examination. See the course outline in the syllabus for the dates of these exams.
  4. In addition, students will complete one of the research project assignment options described in class Content (Blackboard).:
  5. No extra credit is available for this eight week course.
  6. Tutoring is required for students who score below 70% on an exam or writing assignment.  Student's will receive a tutoring referral form from the instructor and must attend tutoring before the next assigned work will be accepted for grading.

Students Rights and Responsibilities

Student Rights and Responsibilities

Log in using the AC Connect Portal

In order to receive your AC Connect Email, you must log in through AC Connect at .

If you are an active staff or faculty member according to Human Resources, use "Exchange". All other students, use "AC Connect (Google) Email".

Expected Student Behavior


All matters of academic dishonesty including plagiarism, collusion, fabrication, and cheating will result in a failing grade for the assignment in question.  All violations will be reported to the proper college authorities for review. 


In order to not interrupt the class, students are asked to turn off or silence all cell phones prior to the beginning of each class session.  Personal computers are allowed for taking notes and/or looking up materials that will contribute to our class discussion.  However, the improper use of cell phones and/or computers will not be tolerated.


Your instructor wants this class to be both interesting and fun, but any form of disruptive classroom behavior will not be tolerated.


All students are required to follow the AC Student Rights/Responsibilities Statement (On the internet, go to  and look under the “campus bookmarks”).

Grading Criteria

 Weekly Assignments      20%  
 First Examination           20%  90-100                 A
Second Examination      20% 80-89                   B
Final Examination          20% 60-69                   D
Research Paper             20% 0-59                     F


Regular attendance and classroom participation are required.  Students will be expected to sign in for each class meeting.  Students who do not attend either of the first two classes will be administratively dropped from the course.

Absences:  Two unexcused absences will result in the loss of one letter grade for the semester.  Four unexcused absences will then result in the loss of two letter grades.  Absences may be excused if they are the result of illness, official Amarillo College business, or personal emergencies.   It is your responsibility to talk with the instructor about absences. 


Part I: Introduction

Class #1                    

 Porter, preface and Introduction

Introduction/Course Requirements/Maximizing Your Course Syllabus, Textbook, Home Page, Lecture Notes, Films and Discussions

What is Philosophy, and who is a Philosopher?                                                                                

The Branches of Philosophy

Defining Moment Assignment (Common Assessment)


Part II: Eastern Philosophy                                                                                                              

Class #2

Defining Moment Paragraph(Common Assessment) Due

Confucius, Hindu Scripture and Philosophy, and The Buddha’s Deer Park Sermon      

“Bhagavad Gita” and “Deer Park Sermon”

Receive Confucius Quotes Assignment (Due next class).

Groundhog Day Clips.  

            FIRST EXAM—TAKE HOME, OPEN-BOOK (Due Class #4).


Part III: Western Philosophy

Class #3                      

Confucius Quotes Assignment Due

Porter, pp. 11-17, 51-55.

Finish Groundhog clips.  Intro to Epistemology Plato's Cave.


Class #4

Take Home Exam Due--Please bring the completed exam with you to class tonight to turn in.

Epistemology: Obtaining Reliable Knowledge—Plato’s Republic

Start The Truman Show clips

Porter, pp. 18-27

Porter, pp. 28-41


Class #5 

Empiricism, Rationalism

Finish The Truman Show movie clips

Porter pp. 77-88, 109-119


Class #6

Metaphysics:  The Nature of Reality

The Truman Show questions due

Porter, pp. 125-133.

2001, A Space Odyssey and The Matrix


Class #7

The Matrix questions due.

Metaphysics.  The Philosophy of Religion.  Thomas Aquinas—Five Ways.

Porter, pp. 207-226,236-245.

“Contact” movie clips


Class #8

Finish Contact movie clips

The Philosophy of Religion.  C.S. Lewis.

Porter, pp. 227-235, 251-259.

View Exam #2 Study Guide (Optional--due next class period if you choose to complete it).


Class #9

          Exam #2 Study Guide Due.

          Exam #2 in Class


Class #10

Contact questions due

Intro to Ethics--ethical dilemmas.  Why study ethics?

Porter, pp. 139-150, 170-174.

Crash, Vertical Limit, and On the Waterfront movie clips


Class #11 

On the Waterfront questions due

Ethics:  Ways of Viewing Moral Behavior.  Utilitarianism and Duty Ethic

Porter, pp. 151-169, 175-202.

Saving Private Ryan movie clips


Class #12 

Obtain signature tonight if you intend to drop.  Last day to drop without a failing grade is Oct. 5.

Saving Private Ryan questions due.

Virtue Ethics and Aristotle’s Golden Mean

Read:  The Declaration of Independence.  United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Group Discussion on Ethics, Human Rights, and Pol. Philosophy..  Paragraph Writing Assignment (Common Assessment) due Class# 14.


Class #13

Research Project Due.  Peer Evaluations.


Class #14

Group Discussion Assignment (in Common Assessment) due.

Political Philosophy:  The Individual and Society

Porter, pp. 265-295 and 316-332.

John Locke, Thomas Jefferson, and American Democracy  Basic Human Rights.  Aristotle.  Social Contract. 

To Kill a Mockingbird Clips

View Final Exam Study Guide (Optional).


Class #15

Final Exam in Class.  Optional Final Exam Study Guide Due.


Movie clips listed in this syllabus will be shown as time allows.  It is possible that some will not be viewed in class due to time constraints.

Additional Information


            Last Day to Withdraw without a Failing Grade:     Oct. 5th       

Syllabus Created on:

08/03/21 8:15 PM

Last Edited on:

10/01/22 4:33 PM