Introduction to Ethics Syllabus for 2021-2022
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Parcells/Byrd 200H

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M, W: 2:30-4:30


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PHIL-2306-001 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.

Student ResourcesStudent Resources Website

Department Expectations

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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


Required textbooks:

Shafer-Landau, Russ, The Fundamentals of Ethics, Oxford University Press, 2021. ISBN: 978-0-19-999723-7

Shafer-Landau, Russ, The Ethical Life, Oxford University Press, 2021. ISBN: 978-0-19-999727-5


Your textbooks, syllabus, a computer.

Student Performance

Upon successful completion of this course, students will:

1. Read, analyze, and critique philosophical texts.

2. Define and appropriately use important terms such as relativism, virtue, duty, rights, utilitarianism, natural law, egoism, altruism, autonomy, and care ethics.

3. Demonstrate knowledge of major arguments and problems in ethics.

4. Present and discuss well-reasoned ethical positions in writing.

5. Apply ethical concepts and principles to address moral concerns.

6. Apply course material to various aspects of life.

7. Discuss ways of living responsibly in a world where people have diverse ethical beliefs.

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

Students are expected to participate in the class regularly, which includes submitting discussion posts and completing all scheduled assignments in a timely manner. Everyone begins the course with full credit for participation, 40 points. You lose points for not posting to an assigned discussion thread by the deadline. 5 points are taken off your participation score for not posting by the deadline.

If you want to receive credit for posting to a discussion thread, I will expect you to submit a thoughtful and substantive post.

Grading Criteria

Syllabus Quiz: 5%

Participation: 20%

Exam 1: 20%

Paper: 30%

Exam 2: 25%

Grading Scale:

180-200 A

160-179 B

140-159 C

120-139 D

0-119 F


Students who have not posted on the discussion board by the census date will be dropped from the class.


Week 1 (8/23 - 8/26): 

Read Introduction in The Fundamentals of Ethics

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

Read John Stuart Mill, Hedonism, in The Ethical Life

Syllabus Quiz due (8/26)

Post on the discussion board (submission due on 8/26)

Week 2 (8/30 - 9/2):

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

Read Robert Nozick, The Experience Machine, in The Ethical Life

 Post on the discussion board (submission due on 9/2)


Week 3 (9/7 - 9/9):

Exam 1 (exam due on 9/7)

Read chapter 9: Consequentialism: It's Nature and Attractions in The Fundamentals of Ethics

Read chapters 10: Consequentialism: It's Difficulties in The Fundamentals of Ethics

Post on the discussion board (submission due on 9/9)

Week 4 (9/13 - 9/16): 

Read chapter 11: The Kantian Perspective: Fairness and Justice in The Fundamentals of Ethics

Read chapter 12: The Kantian Perspective: Autonomy and Respect in The Fundamentals of Ethics

Post on the discussion board (submission due on 9/16)


Week 5 (9/20 - 9/23):

Paper due (paper due on 9/20)

 Read Judith Jarvis Thomson, A Defense of Abortion, in The Ethical Life

Read Don Marquis, Why Abortion is Immoral, in The Ethical Life

Post on the discussion board (submission due on 7/8)

Week 6 (9/27 - 9/30): 

Read Igor Primoratz, Justifying Legal Punishment, in The Ethical Life

Read Stephen Nathanson, An Eye for an Eye?, in The Ethical Life

Post on the discussion board (submission due on 9/30)

Week 7 (10/4 - 10/7):

Listen to YouTube Lecture 15, Michael Huemer, America's Unjust Drug War

Read Peter de Marneffe, Against the Legalization of Drugs, in The Ethical Life

Exam 2 (exam due on 10/7)

Week 8 (10/11 - 10/14): 

Further Activities



The Course Calendar is subject to change based on unexpected events or situations. It is the student's responsibility to check all email, announcements, and all other forms of correspondence issued by the instructor regarding changes to the due dates.

Additional Information

Syllabus Created on:

08/20/21 1:09 PM

Last Edited on:

10/01/21 12:46 PM