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-2306-004 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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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

On Campus Course

Syllabus Information


Shafer-Landau, Russ, The Fundamentals of Ethics, Oxford University Press, 2015. ISBN: 978-0-19-999723-7

Shafer-Landau, Russ, The Ethical Life, Oxford University Press, 2015. ISBN: 978-0-19-999727-5


Your textbooks, syllabus, pen and paper.

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 ehics.

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 completing all scheduled assignments in a timely manner. Everyone begins the term with full credit for participation (40 points). You will lose points for having your phone out in class. Having your phone out in class will result in 4 points being taken off your participation grade.

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

Syllabus Quiz: 5%

Participation: 20%

Exam 1: 20%

Paper: 30%

Exam 2: 25%

Grading Schema (percentage):

89.50 - 100 A

79.50 - 89.49 B

69.50 - 79.49 C

59.50 - 69.49 D

00.00 - 59.49 F


200 - 180 A

179 - 160 B

159 - 140 C

139 - 120 D

119 - 0 F


Students who have not attended by the census date will be dropped from the class.


Week 1 (1/18 - 1/20): 

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: 1/21

Week 2 (1/24 - 1/27):

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

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

Week 3 (1/31 - 2/3):

Exam 1: 1/31

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

Week 4 (2/7 - 2/10): 

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

Week 5 (2/14 - 2/17):

Paper due: 2/14

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

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

Week 6 (2/21 - 2/24): 

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

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

Week 7 (2/28 - 3/3):

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

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

Exam 2: 3/3

Week 8 (3/7 - 3/10): 

Further Activities

Additional Information

Syllabus Created on:

01/13/22 4:07 PM

Last Edited on:

01/13/22 4:07 PM