syllabus - PHIL 3000 PHILOSOPHICAL ETHICS SHANE MAXWELL...

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PHIL 3000. PHILOSOPHICAL ETHICS SHANE MAXWELL WILKINS Office: Collins Hall 112 Office Hours: MR, 2:30-4:30 1. Course Description How do you live a good life? That’s what ethics is about. As you can imagine, many people have had important things to say about this question. Some of those people were religious thinkers, fiction writers, visual artists and musicians as well as philosophers. In a survey course such as this it is not possible to discuss the whole history of this huge field of philosophy, so we will focus our inquiry on a pair of related questions right at the heart of ethical inquiry: (i) What is justice? and (ii) What is it to act rationally? We will use these two questions as a lens through which we’ll try to understand the history of ethical theory in Western philosophy. 2. Course Objectives I have two goals for this class. First, I want you to come away from this class with an integrated intel- lectual framework within which you can understand and evaluate these ideas from philosophers and others about the good life. To acheive this goal I am framing the course historically, trying to account for the di- verse, sometimes conflicting strains of moral thinking that we encounter today by tracing them to their historical roots. Second, I want you to see how ethical theories are not just abstract claims that philosophers debate; claims about the good life shape concrete social institutions like the University, the Corporation and so on which exercise enormous control over our lives. 3. Course Texts There are three required texts for this course. Note the numbers of the editions. Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics , tr. Terence Irwin, 2nd ed., Hackett, 1999. ISBN-13: 978-0872204645 E-mail address : [email protected] . Date : January 19, 2016. 1
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2 PHIL 3000. PHILOSOPHICAL ETHICS Figure 1. Grade Components Outlines 40% Exams 2 @ 20% = 40% Quizzes 10% Attendence & Participation 10% Total 100% Immanuel Kant, Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals, 2nd ed., ed. Mary Gregor, Cambridge University Press, 2012. ISBN-13: 978-11- 07401068 John Stuart Mill, Utilitarianism, Ed. George Sher, Hackett 2002. ISBN-13: 978-0872206052 In addition, there will be a number of other required and optional readings. These will be distributed electronically. 4. Class Assignments and Grading There will be essentially five different kinds of assignments for this course. Outlines: Every student will write five 500 word short essays called outlines. Together, the outlines will be worth 40% of the total grade. Some of the outlines will be graded pass/fail, some may be peer-graded in class. Exams: There will be two exams, the midterm and the final. Each exam will be worth 20% of the total grade, for a total of 40%. Reading Quizzes: will be worth 10%. Attendance & Participation: will be worth 10% of the total grade. Your final numerical grade will be the weighted sum of your grades on each individual component. I will then convert each final numerical grade into a letter grade according to Figure 2 (taken partially from the Fordham Undergraduate Bulletin, p. 19).
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