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SYLLABUS

PHIL 160 C Introduction to Ethics


Cypress College Hum-225
Spring Semester 2010 MW 8:00 – 9:30 A.M.
Dr. Robert Greg ‫ ריע‬Cavin Office: Hum 221 Phone: 484-7007

Office Hours: MTuWTh 12:30 – 1:50 P.M. To Contact Me: Please leave messages in my
mailbox in the Social Science Division Office (SEM-127) or in my voicemail box at 484-7007 or
write me at rgcavin@cypresscollege.edu. NB: I do not answer emails on weekends.

Course Description

This course is an introduction to metaethics, normative ethics, and applied ethics. Fundamental
ethical concepts, theories, and arguments in classical, medieval, modern, and contemporary
ethical thought are presented, analyzed, and critically evaluated. Eligibility for English 100
recommended.

Instructional Objectives

Upon completion of this course the student will be able to:

Explain, analyze, illustrate, and compare and contrast fundamental ethical concepts.
Explain, analyze, apply, and compare and contrast metaethical theories, normative ethical
theories and applied theories.
Critically evaluate metaethical theories, normative ethical theories and applied theories.
Construct and critically evaluate ethical arguments.

Student Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this course the student will be able to:

1) State, explain, and critically evaluate the key concepts, theories, and arguments of
Metaethics.
2) State, explain, and critically evaluate the key concepts, theories, and arguments of
Normative Ethics.
3) State, explain, and critically evaluate the key concepts, theories, and arguments of
Applied Ethics.

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Course Assignments

Readings: You are expected to spend at least two hours of study at home for each hour spent in
class. Assigned material must be carefully read and studied before I lecture on it and we discuss
it in class. Merely reading the assigned material is not sufficient. It is necessary to carefully
study it. See the Course Schedule for the list of readings.

Quizzes: I shall give pop quizzes as necessary should I find that the class is not studying the
assigned material or is not prepared to discuss it. Each pop quiz will consist of one short essay
question. Pop quizzes do not contribute positively to the total course grade and may contribute
negatively to the total course grade as follows: an “A” on a pop quiz is worth 0%, a “B” is
worth −1.25%, a “C” is worth −2.5%, a “D” is worth −3.75%, and an “F” is worth −5%.

Exams: There will be a midterm and a comprehensive final exam. The midterm is an in-class
essay exam and counts 33.33 % of the total course grade. It is tentatively scheduled on Wednes-
day, March 17th, 2010. The final is also an in-class essay test which counts 33.33 % of the total
course grade. It is scheduled from 8:00 to 10:00 A.M. on Wednesday, May 19th, 2010. Together
the midterm and the final exam are worth 66.66 % of the total course grade. Midterms may be
taken early in the case of valid extenuating circumstances. No late final exams will be given. No
exceptions! The midterm and the final exam are designed to aid in your development of critical
thinking skills. Note well: the date stated above for the midterm is tentative and may need to be
changed; it is your responsibility to be in class if a change is announced. See Make-Up Policy
below.

Papers: There will be one research paper demonstrating your ability to think critically about
some topic of interest to you that relates to the material covered in the readings and lectures.
Some general topics include Moral Relativism, God and Morality, Social Contract Theory,
Utilitarianism, and Capital Punishment. The paper counts 33.33 % of the total course grade. The
paper must be 5 - 10 pages in length, typed in a 12 (or 13) point font, double-spaced, carefully
proofread (use a spelling and grammar checker and consult the attached list of common errors in
grammar and punctuation), and stapled. Please do not submit the paper in a folder. Only new
and original work is acceptable. You must approve your paper topic with me and show me a
two-page typed outline of your paper—or a completed rough draft—at least three class sessions
before the paper is due, unless you choose to write on one of the suggested topics on the term
paper assignment sheet. The paper must exhibit your critical thinking about two opposing
schools of thought on your topic (e.g., Regan versus Machan on Animal Rights). Although there
is no "rewrite" option for papers, I will be pleased to comment on drafts during office hours
before the due date. The tentative due date for the paper is at the beginning of class on Wednes-
day, April 21st, 2010. To ensure fairness to all, extensions on the paper will be granted only with
my consent to a VALID excuse PRIOR to the due date. Note well: Late papers that are not
excused will be accepted but at most 75% credit. Absolutely no exceptions! The paper is
designed to aid in the development of your critical thinking and writing skills.

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Class Participation

You are required to attend class regularly and to participate in class discussions. It is also
necessary for doing well on quizzes, midterm, and final exam since half of the questions on these
tests will come from class lectures. Improvement and quality of class participation will be
considered in the determination of the final course grade in borderline cases.

Late Policy

It is your obligation to arrive for class on time and to remain for the entire class period.
Latecomers and early leavers disrupt class and will not be permitted to attend (unless prior
arrangements have been made with me). I reserve the right to lock the classroom door in order to
prevent latecomers from entering the classroom and/or to ask latecomers to leave the classroom.

I will pass out the role sheet at the beginning of class. If you do not sign at that time, you will be
counted as absent for the class session. If you come to class late and the door is locked, do not
disrupt class by knocking on the door and expecting me to stop class in order to let you in; you
will be counted as absent for the class session.

Forgery

Signing the roll sheet for another student is forgery and a violation of the Cypress College
Academic Honesty Policy. Cypress College has severe penalties for violators. Read the Cypress
College Academic Honesty Policy.

Absence Policy

Note Well: Each student is allowed exactly two excused absences, for any reason whatever.
However, each additional absence after these first two, regardless of the reason, is counted as
unexcused.

Note Well: For each unexcused absence 1½ percentage points will be deducted from the
student’s total score for the course. For example, if a student has a total score of 91 points, but
has two unexcused absences, 3 points will be deducted from the student’s total score, yielding 88
points, i.e.: 91 (total points)  3 (points deducted for two unexcused absences) = 88 (final course
grade). Attendance is still necessary even after the final withdrawal date deadline.

Note Well: Any student who misses more than four class sessions up through the final with-
drawal deadline (May 1st) will no longer be considered as being in the class — I will no longer
accept the midterm, term paper, or final exam from the student — unless the student presents me
with proof of valid extenuating circumstances at the next class session. The student must go to
the Registrar’s Office and withdraw from the class in order to avoid receiving the grade of “F.”

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Note Well: If you have interviews, business trips, or vacations planned for this semester that
will require more than the two excused absences, you should carefully weigh the consequences to
your grade and perhaps reconsider taking this class at another time. Again, if you come to class
late and the door is locked, you will be counted as absent for the class session.

Note Well: If you miss a class session, it is your responsibility to find out what you missed. It
might be necessary, in particular, to reschedule the midterm or term paper due dates. This will be
announced in class. If a due date is changed, it is your responsibility to determine this by
checking with me (or, less advisably, with a classmate). “I wasn’t there.” is not acceptable. You
are encouraged to exchange phone numbers with a classmate so you can find out that you need to
see me about what you missed if you have been absent. Similarly, since handouts, study
questions for the midterm and final, and the term paper assignment will be given out in class, it is
your responsibility to procure these from me (or, less advisably, from a classmate) if you are
absent at a time these are passed out.

Note Well: I can guarantee the availability of back copies of assignments and handouts for only
a week.

Make-up Quiz, Midterm, Late Term Paper, and Final Policy

No make-up pop quizzes will be given. Midterms may be taken early in the case of valid
extenuating circumstances. Late term papers will be accepted but given at most 75% credit. The
final exam can only be taken from 8:00 to 10:00 A.M. on Monday, May 24th, 2010.

Course Disruption Policy

Conversations during lecture or when students are asking me questions or we are having class
discussion is rude and disruptive and absolutely forbidden. So are cell phones, pagers, iPods, etc.
Surfing the Internet on laptops is also strictly forbidden. Students who disrupt class in these (or
any other ways) will be required to leave the classroom immediately or to lecture in my place.

Cell Phones and Texting

Note Well: You are not allowed to use cell phones or texting devices once you have entered the
classroom. Students who are caught violating this policy during class will be given the choice of
leaving the class for the day and being counted absent or coming to the front of the class to take
over my lecture.

Warning

This class includes highly controversial topics and concepts and language that some may find
offensive. If you do not wish to be exposed to these, do not take this class!

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Drop Policy

Any student who misses more than four class meetings up through the final withdrawal deadline
(May 1st) will no longer be considered as being in the class — I will no longer accept the mid-
term, term paper, or final exam from the student — unless the student presents me with proof of
valid extenuating circumstances at the next class session.

Note Well: The student must go to the Registrar’s Office and withdraw from the class in order
to avoid receiving the grade of “F.” Students who disrupt class will be dropped from the course.

Student Conduct, Academic Honesty, and Plagiarism Policies

Students must completely familiarize themselves with the Cypress College Student Conduct,
Academic Honesty, and Plagiarism policies. Plagiarism is taking the words and/or ideas of an-
other author (professional or student) and passing them off as one’s own. Any student who
plagiarizes any part of an exam or assignment in this class will receive the grade of “F” on that
exam or assignment. Note well: Term papers or exams that are identical or nearly identical
will be considered plagiarized.

Grading Policy

The course grade (100%) will be an informal function of: (1) the midterm (worth 33.33 %); (2)
the term paper (worth 33.33 %), and (3) the final exam (worth 33.33 %)—minus any negative
percentage points on pop quizzes and/or for unexcused absences. The letter grades for the course
will be determined using the following scale:

A= 90 - 100 percent of total possible


B= 80 - 89 percent of total possible
C= 70 - 79 percent of total possible
D= 60 - 69 percent of total possible
F= 0 - 59 percent of total possible

Textbook (Required)

Fieser, James. Metaethics, Normative Ethics, and Applied Ethics: Historical and Contemporary
Readings. Belmont, California: Wadsworth, 2008 edition. Note Well: No earlier editions are
acceptable!

Supplemental Reading (Required)

Some brief supplemental reading material may also be required as the semester progresses if the
instructor thinks this would be beneficial to the students. Such supplemental reading material
will be placed on reserve in the Cypress College Library.
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Additional Required Items

Two blue books for the midterm and two blue books for the final exam; and pencils or pens.

Final Course Grades

These will be written on the final exams. The final exams will be placed in boxes in my office,
H-277.

Note well: Remaining in this class constitutes your acknowledgment of and agreement to abide
by all of the course requirements and policies stated herein. If you are not willing to abide by
these, then you must drop the class now.

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TENTATIVE COURSE SCHEDULE


LECTURE AND DISCUSSION TOPIC ASSIGNMENT
Orientation and Introduction Natalie Portman Video
Applied Ethics—Part 1
Applied Ethics 369-70
Abortion 407-10
Judith Jarvis Thomson: “A Defense of Abortion” (1971) 423-34
Don Marquis: “An Argument that Abortion is Wrong” (1996) 413-22
Euthanasia 386-88
James Rachels: “Active and Passive Euthanasia” (1975) 391-94
Thomas D. Sullivan: “Active and Passive Euthanasia: An Impertinent 395-98
Distinction?” (1977)
James Rachels: “More Impertinent Distinctions and a Defense of Active 398-406
Euthanasia” (1978)
Metaethics—Part 1
Metaethics 1
Moral Relativism and Moral Absolutism 2-3
James Rachels: “The Challenge of Cultural Relativism” from the Elements 12-21
of Moral Philosophy (1999)
Moral Realism versus Moral Skepticism 22-24
Plato: “Moral Forms” from The Republic (4th Century BCE) 24-29
J. L. Mackie: “Moral Skepticism” from Ethics: Inventing Right and Wrong 29-38
(1977)
God and Morality 39-42
Thomas Aquinas: The Treatise on Law from Summa Theologica (c. 1270) 44-53
Kai Nielsen: “God and the Basis of Morality” (1982) 70-77
Normative Ethics
Normative Ethics 139
Virtue Theory 140-44
Aristotle: Moral Virtues” from Nicomachean Ethics (4th Century BCE) 144-51
Social Contract Theory 175-79
John Rawls: Excerpt from A Theory of Justice (1971) 204-14
Natural Rights Theories 222-24
John Locke: “Natural Rights” from Second Treatise of Government (1690) 225-33
Theories of Moral Duties 248-54
Immanuel Kant: “The Categorical Imperative” from The Foundation of the 225-33
Metaphysic of Morals (1785)
Hedonism and Utilitarianism 297-303
Jeremy Bentham: “The Principle of Utility” from Principles of Morals and 310-12
Legislation (1789)

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Applied Ethics—Part 2
Capital Punishment 435-36
Hugo Adam Bedau: Excerpt from The Case Against the Death Penalty 444-51
(1996)
Ernest van den Haag: “The Ultimate Punishment” (1986) 452-55
Animal Ethics 456-59
Tom Regan: “The Case for Animal Rights” (1985) 464-72
Tibor Machan: “Do Animals have Rights?” (1991) 472-79
Feminist Ethics 348-50
Mary Wollstonecraft: Excerpt from A Vindication of the Rights of Women 350-52
(1792)
Michael Levin: “Is There a Female Morality?” (Unpublished Essay) 361-68
Gay Rights
Michael Levin: “Why Homosexuality is Abnormal”
Timothy F. Murphy: “Homosexuality and Nature”
Metaethics—Part 2
Metaethics 1
Ethical Non-Cognitivism & Emotivism
A. J. Ayer: “Emotivism” from Language, Truth, and Logic (1936) 126-31
th
FINAL EXAM: 8:00 to 10:00 A.M., Wednesday, May 19 , 2010

IMPORTANT CLASS DATES:

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 17th, 2010 (tentative): MIDTERM

MONDAY, MARCH 29th - FRIDAY, APRIL 2st, 2010: Spring Recess

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 21st, 2010 (tentative): TERM PAPER DUE

SATURDAY, MAY 1st, 2010: LAST DAY TO DROP WITH "W"

WEDNESDAY, MAY 19th , 2010, 8:00 – 10:00 A.M.: FINAL EXAMINATION

Note: This Course Schedule (including the Midterm and Paper due dates) is tentative and subject to change.

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Academic Accommodation

If you have a disability and believe that you will need accommodations, you are encouraged to
contact both your instructor and the Disabled Student Programs & Services Office as soon as
possible. The DSPS Office is located in the Cypress College Complex, 1st floor, (714) 484-7104
(voice) (714) 761-0961 (TDD). The Cypress College Complex is the old Administration
Building.

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Academic Honesty

Students are expected to abide by ethical standards in preparing and presenting material which demonstrates their level of
knowledge and which is used to determine grades. Such standards are founded on basic concepts of integrity and honesty. These
include, but are not limited to, the following areas:

(1) Students shall not plagiarize, which is defined as stealing or passing off as one’s own ideas or words of another and as
using a creative production without crediting the source. The following cases constitute plagiarism:

(a) paraphrasing published material without acknowledging the source.

(b) making significant use of an idea or a particular arrangement of ideas, e.g., outlines.

(c) writing a paper after consulting with persons who provide ideas and incorporating these ideas into the paper without
acknowledging the debt.

(d) submitting under one’s own name term papers or other reports which have been prepared by others.

(2) Students shall not cheat, which is defined as using notes, aids, or the help of other students on tests or exams in ways
other than those expressly permitted by the instructor; and as misreporting or altering the data in laboratory or research
projects involving the collection of data.

(3) Students shall not submit an original paper or project to more than one class without approval from the second
instructor. Instructors who do not accept previously submitted papers should so inform the students in the course
syllabus.

(4) Students shall not furnish materials or information in order to enable another student to plagiarize or cheat.

An instructor who has evidence that an act of academic dishonesty has occurred, after speaking with the student, is obligated to
take the following steps:

(1) Assign an appropriate academic penalty such as an oral reprimand (as in cases where there is reasonable doubt that the
student knew that the action violated the standards of honesty); or assign an “F” on all or part of a particular paper,
project, or exam (for example, where there was proof that it was a one-time occurrence).

In cases where an “F” was assigned, report the incident to all appropriate personnel. (See Step 3).

(2) In cases where the dishonesty was serious, premeditated, or part of an ongoing scheme, request an ad hoc review board
made up of at least three faculty from the department or division of the instructor involved. This review board is to be
appointed by the Academic Senate President or his/her delegate in consultation with the department coordinator, or if
none is in place, with the members of the department. Supply to the review board the documents which are suspect and
any other documents completed by the student which might help determine if academic honesty occurred. It would then
be the responsibility of the review board to determine academic penalties as appropriate.

(3) Report to the student involved, to the department coordinator, to the Division Dean, and to the Vice President for
Student Services the alleged incident of academic dishonesty, including relevant documentation, and recommendations
for action that he or she deems appropriate.

(4) The Vice President for Student Services shall maintain an academic dishonesty file of all cases of academic dishonesty
with the appropriate documentation.

(5) Students shall be informed when their names are inserted into the file and provided with copies of any appeals or
disciplinary procedures in which they may become involved. The Vice President for Student Services or his/her
designees may initiate disciplinary proceedings under Education Code, Article 3, Section 76030-76037; when two or
more incidents involving the same student occur, he or she shall do so.

(6) Students charged with violations resulting in disciplinary action have the right to appeal the findings to the Petitions
Committee under the Rules and Procedures of Due Process.

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Guidelines for Student Conduct

The following are guidelines for minimum student conduct. Students enrolling in the college assume an obligation to conduct
themselves in a manner compatible with the college’s function as an educational institution. All students will be expected to
observe the laws and regulations of the state, county, city, district, and of the college of attendance. Misconduct for which
students are subject to discipline, and constitutes good cause for disciplinary action, suspension or expulsion, includes, but is not
limited to the following:

(1) Failure to comply with reasonable directions of college official acting in the performance of their duties.

(2) Failure to identify oneself for just cause when requested to do so by college officials acting in the performance of
their duties.

(3) Cheating or plagiarism in connection with an academic program at a college.

(4) Forgery, alteration or misuse of college documents, records, or identification, or knowingly furnishing false
information to a college.

(5) Misrepresentation of oneself or of an organization to be an agent of the college.

(6) Obstruction or disruption, on or off college property, of the college’s educational process, administrative process, or
other college functions.

(7) Physical or verbal abuse or any threat of force or violence on or off college property or the person, property or
family of any member of the college community.

(8) Theft of or non-accidental damage to college property, or property in the possession of, or owned by, a member of
the college community.

(9) Unauthorized entry into, unauthorized use of, or misuse of college property.

(10) The sale of knowing possession of dangerous drugs, restricted drugs, or narcotics, as those terms are used in California
statutes, or the sale or knowing possession or use of alcoholic beverages on college property except when alcohol,
drugs, or narcotics are lawfully permitted for the use of research, instruction or analysis.

(11) Willful or persistent smoking in any areas where smoking has been prohibited by lawful authority.

(12) Knowing possession or use of explosives, dangerous chemicals, or deadly weapons on college property or at college
functions without prior authorization of the college President or designate.

(13) Engaging in lewd, indecent, or obscene behavior on college property or at a college function.

(14) Violation of municipal, state or federal laws.

(15) Soliciting or assisting another to do any act which would subject a student to expulsion, suspension, probation, or other
discipline pursuant to this policy.

(16) Attempting to do any of the causes for disciplinary action identified above.

(17) Any other cause not listed above which is identified as good cause by the Education Code.

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COMMON ERRORS IN SPELLING, GRAMMAR, AND PUNCTUATION

Do NOT allow your work to contain the following mistakes in spelling, grammar, and/or
punctuation:

Sentence Fragment = Incomplete sentence:

Example: “The topic of this paper is abortion. Which is very important.” (incorrect)
“The issue of this paper is abortion, which is very important.” (correct)

Comma Splice = Joining clauses or complete sentences with a comma only:

Example: “John is in the house, Carla is outside.” (incorrect)


“John is in the house; Carla is outside.” (correct)
“John is in the house, and Carla is outside.” (correct)
“John is in the house—Carla is outside.” (correct)

Number Disagreement = Inconsistent use of singular/plural forms:

Example: “Every person [singular] has their [plural] job to do.” (incorrect)
“Every person has his/her job to do.” (correct)

Example: “Everyone has their rights.” (incorrect)


“Everyone has his or her rights.” (correct)

Pronoun Confusion:

Confusion of ―their‖ (possessive pronoun), ―there‖ (pronoun of place), or ―they’re‖


(contraction of ―they are‖):

Example: “There time to succeed has come.” (incorrect)


“Their time to succeed has come.” (correct)

Example: “Put your signature their.” (incorrect)


“Put your signature there.” (correct)

Example: “Their coming over tonight.” (incorrect)


“They’re coming over tonight.” (correct)

Confusion of ―its‖ (possessive pronoun) and it’s (contraction for ―it is‖):

Example: “Its a fun thing to do” (incorrect)


“It’s a fun thing to do” (correct)
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Example: “I know it’s worth” (incorrect)


“I know its worth” (correct)

Unclear referent of pronoun:

Example: “With this we can see . . . ”


Problem: What noun does “this” refer back to?
Solution: “With this program we can see . . . ”

―Of‖ for ―Have‖: ―could of‖ ≠ “could have”

Example: “I could of danced all night.” (incorrect)


“I could have danced all night.” (correct)

Then/Than Confusion:

Example: “If you eat this, than you will get sick.” (incorrect)
“If you eat this, then you will get sick.” (correct)

Example: “Rhonda has more jelly beans then Lorraine.” (incorrect)


“Rhonda has more jelly beans than Lorraine.” (correct)

Missing Punctuation

Run Together Sentences:

Example: “The man was going to the store was in the mall.” (incorrect)
“The man was going to the store which was in the mall.” (correct)

If/Whether Confusion:

Example: “Kai wanted to know if Sheila was going to the party.” (incorrect)
“Kai wanted to know whether Sheila was going to the party.” (correct)

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