Phil 1100: Intro to Ethics

Spring 2014


Course Syllabus

Schedule and Readings (Subject to Change)

M, Jan 13

Lecture Topic: About this course—An Intro to Intro to Ethics
No reading assignment

W, Jan 15

Morality & Rationality
Reading: Rachels, Chapter 1

F, Jan 17

Rationality and Critical Thinking
Reading: Haskins, “A Practical Guide To Critical Thinking” (p.1-8)

M, Jan 20

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day- No Classes!

W, Jan 22

Critical Thinking and Ethical Reasoning
Reading: Haskins, “A Practical Guide To Critical Thinking” (p.9-15)

F, Jan 24

Logic (soundness and validity)
 Reading: none

M, Jan 27

Logic (continued)
No Required Reading
          Suggested  humorous reading: Dave Barry “How to Win an Argument

W, Jan 29

Logic (soundness and validity)
Reading: Layman, “Logic Ch.1” 

F, Jan 31

Logic (continued)
No Required Reading

M, Feb 3

Common Fallacies in Arguments about Ethics
Reading: Informal Fallacies (pdf)

W, Feb 5

More on Validity

F, Feb 7

Reread: Informal Fallacies (pdf)
Suggested: Another Reading on Validity:

M, Feb 10

Basic Concepts of Ethical Theory
Suggested: Reading on Deduction vs, Induction:

W, Feb 12

Cultural Relativism
Reading: Rachels, Ch. 2 (Make sure you have your textbooks!)
Suggested film: “Apocalypto”

F, Feb 14

Cultural Relativism (continued)
Reading: none
Rewatch Video:

M, Feb 17

Ethical Subjectivism
Reading: Rachels, Ch. 3

W, Feb 19

Morality and Religion - Is God the source of morality?
Reading: Rachels, Ch. 4

F, Feb 21

Morality and Religion - Continued
Suggested Reading: Shafer-Landau- "Does Ethical Objectivity Require God?"
Suggested Video: TED talks: A.J. Jacobs- My Year of Living Biblically

M, Feb 24

Morality and Religion - Continued
Suggested Reading: Shafer-Landau- "Does Ethical Objectivity Require God?"
Optional Reading: Quick Guide to Arguments for God's Existence

W, Feb 26

Ethical Egoism
Reading: Rachels, Ch. 5                     
       Suggested video: Ayn Rand

F, Feb 28

Mill’s Utilitarianism
Mill, “Utilitarianism” (excerpt- pdf)
                           Suggested film: “Sophie’s Choice”

M, Mar 3

Reading: Rachels, Ch. 7
Video: “The Trolley Problem”
                          Suggested film: “Cabin in the Woods” or “Watchmen” 

W, Mar 5

Utilitarianism- Continued
Reading: Rachels, Ch. 8
Nozick, “Experience Machine” (pdf)
                          Suggested film: “The Village” or any of the “Saw” series

F, Mar 7

Objections to Utilitarianism
Reading: Ursula K. Le Guin, “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas” (pdf)

M, Mar 10

Objections to Utilitarianism (continued)

W, Mar 12


F, Mar 14


M, Mar 17

Applied ethics- World hunger
Reading: Singer, “Famine, Affluence, and Morality

W, Mar 19

Applied ethics- World hunger
Foreign Aid Infographic

F, Mar 21

No CLASS- Enjoy your break!

M, Mar 24

Spring Break

W, Mar 26

Spring Break

F, Mar 28

Spring Break

M, Mar 31

Exams Returned & Discussed, Continue Singer Discussion

W, Apr 2

Homework assignment due!
Reading: Rachels, Ch. 9

F, Apr 4

(Office hours cancelled)
Kantian Ethics
Reading: Rachels, Finish Ch. 9, and begin Ch. 10  

M, Apr 7

Deontology Continued
Kantian Ethics
Reading: Finish Rachels, Ch. 10  

W, Apr 9

Moderate Deontology
Reading: Ross, “What Makes Right Actions Right?” (excerpt)

F, Apr 11

Moderate Deontology (continued)
Reading: none

M, Apr 14

Virtue Ethics
Reading: Rachels, Ch. 12

W, Apr 16

Virtue Ethics
Reading: Reread Rachels, Ch. 12
Short excerpt from Ben Franklin's Autobiography

F, Apr 18

Summary and Take Away from Ethical Theory section
Reading: Rachels Ch.13

M, Apr 21

The Meaning of Life
Reading: Taylor, “The Meaning of Life
                       Suggested films: “I (heart) Huckabees”, “The Razor’s Edge”

W, Apr 23

The Meaning of Life
Reading: Taylor, “The Meaning of Life

F, Apr 25

The Meaning of Life (continued)
Reading:  Nagel, “The Absurd
                            Strongly suggested film: "Meet Joe Black"

M, Apr 28

The Meaning of Life (continued)
Reading: TBA
Video: TedTalk- Dan Gilbert
                       Suggested film: “Monty Python and the Meaning of Life”

W, Apr 30

Topic and Reading TBA

F, May 2

Review day

Final Exam              on official day/time scheduled by Registrar’s office (Posted in your mycuinfo)

Summer time, summer time, sum-sum-summer time, YAY!!!!



Additional Resources for Students

Guidelines on writing a philosophy paper (J. Pryor)
Writing Philosophy Essays (M. Tooley)
Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy


Oh the power of learning philosophy...

7/3/19: I am thrilled to have accepted a position as an Instructor at the University of Colorado at Denver! I was extremely impressed by the students and community when last I was there, and am excited to be returning to now teach all the core classes for the UCD Philosophy of Science Minor!

5/6/16: I'm honored to be the first person to receive both the CU Boulder Philosophy Department Morriston Teaching Award (2016) and the University of Colorado-Boulder Graduate Teaching Excellence Award (2014-2015)! My thanks go out to the many great teachers and students with whom I've been lucky enough to learn!

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