Introduction to Ethics Syllabus for 2021-2022
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PHIL-2306-010 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


Shafer-Landau, Russ.  The Ethical Life.  5th Edition. Oxford University Press, 2021.

Shafer-Landau, Russ.  The Fundamentals of Ethics.  5th Edition.  Oxford University Press, 2021



Your textbooks and regular computer access to this course through Blackboard.

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.  Course content contains a file listing sources for help with Blackboard and other issues.

All assignments and exams will be available through Blackboard.  All assignments are due by Friday at 5pm for the week in which they are assigned.  Exams are due on the date they are assigned and within the time allotted for the exam.

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..  

Students who do not actively participate online within the first week of class will be administratively dropped from the course (see AC policy on attendance requirements).

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


Upon successful completion of the course, students will:

1.         Read, analyze, and critique philosophical texts in ethics. 

2.         Demonstrate knowledge of key concepts, major arguments, problems, and terminology in the field of ethics..

3.         Present logically persuasive arguments both orally and in writing. 

4.         Demonstrate critical thinking skills in evaluation and application of philosophical concepts in ethics as they apply 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 online participation in discussion boards and submissions of weekly assignments through Blackboard.

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 is necessary for the successful completion of this course. 

3.         The successful completion of two online examinations (midterm and final). See the course outline for the dates of these exams.

4.       Completion of a critical analysis (research project) on a current problem in ethics.  See Content for specific guidelines and due date.

4.       Extra Credit is not available for 6-8 week courses.   

5.       Students who receive a grade below 70 on writing assignments or exams will be referred for tutoring.  Tutoring must be completed before future assignments will be accepted for a grade.

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. 

Online Etiquette:

Misuse of technology that violates College Policies on harassment or disrupts this class in any way 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”).

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.

Grading Criteria

COURSE GRADE BREAKDOWN:                        COURSE GRADING SCALE:                

     Weekly Assignments                          20%                           90-100                   A

     Reflection Paragraphs                        20%                           80-89                     B   

     Midterm Examination                          20%                           70-79                     C

     Critical Analysis Paper                        20%                           60-69                     D

     Final Examination                               20%                            0-59                       F      




Part I: Introduction

Week #1                       

  Introduction to Ethics--What is Ethics?  Why Study Ethics?  Current issues in Ethics.    

Open "Start Here!" Folder in Content.  Read through basic information about this course.

View Notes/Videos in Week #1 Folder in Content.

Read Introduction (pgs. 1-19) in The Fundamentals of Ethics.   

Read Introduction (pgs 1-8) in The Ethical Life.

Read Chapter 1 John Stuart Mill in The Ethical Life.                                              i

Complete Defining Moment in Ethics (Reflection Paragraph in Common Assessment).  

Participate in Discussion of Ethical Dilemma #1(Discussion Board).


Week #2

Read Chapter 1: Hedonism: Its Powerful Appeal in The Fundamentals of Ethics

Read Chapter 2: Robert Nozick in The Ethical Life

Read Chapter 2: Is Happiness All that Matters? in The Fundamentals of Ethics.

Read Chapters 9 and 10 from The Fundamentals of Ethics (Consequentialism).

Week #2 Folder--View Notes/Videos.

Complete Assignments A and B.

Participate in Discussion of Ethical Dilemma #2 (Discussion Board).


Week #3         

Read Chapter 9: Immanuel Kant in The Ethical Life.

Read Chapter 11: The Kantian Perspective in The Fundamentals of Ethics.

Read Chapter 12: The Kantian Perspective in The Fundamentals of Ethics.

Week #3 Folder--View Notes, Videos.

Complete Assignments C and D.

Complete Critical Thinking in Ethics Assignment (Short Essay in Common Assessment).

Participate in Discussion of Ethical Dilemma #3 (Discussion Board).


Week #4

Midterm Exam (timed--online).--Complete this first.  The following material will not be included on the Midterm but will be on the Final.

Read Chapter 12:  Aristotle--Nichomacean Ethics in The Ethical Life

Read Chapter 17:  Aristotle--Virtue Ethics in The Fundamentals of Ethics

Week #4 Folder--view notes, videos.

Complete Assignment E. 

Complete Virtue Ethics Reflection Paragraph (Common Assessment).


Week #5

Read Chapter 14: David Hume in The Ethical Life

Read pages 76-80 (David Hume on Natural Law) in The Fundamentals of Ethics.

Read Chapter 17:  Harry Gensler--Cultural Relativism-- in The Ethical Life.  (Note:  Some editions of the textbook do not include this chapter by Harry Gensler for chapter 17.  If this is the case--skip this reading.

Read Chapter 19:  Ethical Relativism: Its Powerful Appeal in The Fundamentals of Ethics.

Week #5 Folder--View Notes/Videos.

Complete Assignments F and G.

Last Day to Withdraw without a Failing Grade--.Oct. 5th, 2021


Week #6

Read Chapter 18: David Enoch (Why I am an Objectivist . . .) in The Ethical Life

Week #6 Folder--View Notes/Videos.

Complete Assignment H 

Complete the Ethics and Human Rights Reflection Paragraph (Common Assessment).

Participate in Discussion of Ethical Dilemma #4 (Discussion Board).


Week #7

Week #7 Folder--View Notes/Videos (if any).

Work on your Critical Analysis (Research Project) due next week!

Participate in Discussion of Ethical Dilemma #5 (Discussion Board--Sophie's Choice).


Week #8

Week #8 Folder--View Notes/Videos (if any).

Submit Critical Analysis (Research Project).

Final Exam(timed--online).  Class ends at 5:00pm on Oct. 14, 2021 .  Submissions received after 5:00pm on Oct. 14th will not be accepted for a grade.


Additional Information


            Last Day to Withdraw without a Failing Grade:  Oct. 5th, 2021

Syllabus Created on:

08/09/21 5:41 PM

Last Edited on:

08/09/21 5:56 PM