Introduction to Ethics Syllabus for 2021-2022
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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.

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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 Ethical Life (5th Edition). Oxford University Press, 2020.

Shafer-Landau, Russ.  The Fundamentals of Ethics (5th Edition).  Oxford University Press, 2020.



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 exams and assignments will be posted in Blackboard (Content) and must be submitted through Blackboard.  If you need assistance taking exams or submitting assignments or through Blackboard, view the Blackboard 101 tutorial video in the "Start Here" folder or contact the Student Success Center.  All assignments are due at by 5:00pm on Friday for the week they are assigned.   All assignments submitted after this time 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..  

Students who do not attend class or submit an assignment by the Census Date of May 27th 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, notes, discussion boards 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 attendance and classroom participation.  Students will also participate in all discussion boards (if any) and submit all 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 syllabus for the dates of these exams.

4.       Completion of a the Critical Thinking in Ethics assignment (4-5 page paper) in Common Assessment.  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                          25%                           90-100                   A

     Reflection Paragraphs                        15%                           80-89                     B   

     Midterm Examination                          20%                           70-79                     C

     Critical Thinking in Ethics Paper         20%                           60-69                     D

     Final Examination                               20%                            0-59                       F      




Part I: Introduction

Week #1--Due date for all assignments each week is Friday @5pm unless noted otherwise.  For Week #6, the due date will be Thursday, June 30th at 5pm (official end of the semester).

Class #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.

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

Read Introduction (pgs 1-7) in The Ethical Life.

Class #2

Read Chapter 1:  Hedonism (John Stuart Mill) and Chapter 8: Utilitarianism in The Ethical Life.

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

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


Week #2

Class #3

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

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

Read Chapter 2: The Experience Machine (Robert Nozick) in The Ethical Life.

Complete Assignment A

Class #4

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

Complete Assignment B.

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


Week #3

Class #5         

Read Chapter 9: The Good Will and the Categorical Imperative (Immanuel Kant) in The Ethical Life.

Complete Assignment C

Complete Ethical Issues Analysis (Reflection Paragraph in Common Assessment).

Class #6

Read Chapters 11 and 12: The Kantian Perspective in The Fundamentals of Ethics.

Complete Assignment D.

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


Week #4

Class #7--No class meeting tonight.  Complete the Midterm exam online through Blackboard.

Midterm Exam (timed--online).--Set aside adequate time for this exam.  Once you start you must complete it in one sitting.

Class #8

Read Chapter 12:  Nichomacean Ethics (Aristotle) in The Ethical Life

Read Chapter 17:  Virtue Ethics (Aristotle) in The Fundamentals of Ethics

Complete Assignment E. 

Complete Virtue Ethics Reflection Paragraph (Common Assessment).


Week #5

Class #9

Read Chapter 14: Moral Distinctions Not Derived from Reason (David Hume) in The Ethical Life

Complete Assignment F.

Class #10

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

Complete Assignment G.

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

Important:  Last Day to Withdraw without a Failing Grade--Thursday June 23.  Contact the instructor NLT June 21st to receive information on procedures for withdraw from the course.  


Week #6

Class #11

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

Complete Assignment H 

Participate in Discussion of Ethical Dilemma #5 (Discussion Board).

Class #12--No Class Meeting tonight.  Take the Final Exam (online through Blackboard) and submit your Critical Analysis in Ethics Paper (Common Assessment).  Both due Thursday by 5pm as noted below.  

Submit Critical Analysis in Ethics Paper (Common Assessment).  Due Thursday, June 30th by 5pm.  Submissions received after 5:00pm will not be accepted for a grade.

Final Exam(timed--online).  Due Thursday, June 30th by 5pm.  Submissions received after 5:00pm will not be accepted for a grade.


Additional Information


            Last Day to Withdraw without a Failing Grade:                    June 23, 2022

Syllabus Created on:

05/18/22 9:08 AM

Last Edited on:

05/18/22 9:17 AM