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PHIL 1300—Introduction to Ethics

Three Semester Hours

DN 1/13



Course Overview

Discussion of classic and/or modern philosophical views of human values, ideals, and morality. Provides introductory survey of some main problems, concepts, and results of ethics including selected philosophers of past and present.

Methods of Course Instruction

All material for this course is print-based. Instructor and students communicate and exchange materials through postal mail. 

E-Print Option

In this course, an option exists to use e-mail to submit your lesson assignments. Your assignment will be returned to you either as an e-mail attachment or as a hard copy sent through the postal mail, depending on the preferences of the instructor and/or program. 

Textbooks and Supplies

Clark, Kelly James and Anne Poortenga. The Story of Ethics: Fulfilling Our Human Nature. 1st ed. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 2003. [ISBN: 9780130978400]

Number of Lessons

The course has eight lessons, including a midcourse examination and a final examination.  These lessons include:

  • Lesson 1: Introduction 
  • Lesson 2: The Ancient World 
  • Lesson 3: The Medieval World  
  • Lesson 4: The Modern World 
  • Lesson 5: Midcourse Examination 
  • Lesson 6: The Late Modern World
  • Lesson 7: The Postmodern World  
  • Lesson 8: Final Examination 

Types of Writing Assignments

The writing assignments at the end of each lesson consist of short-answer questions to check your understanding of the terms and concepts presented in that lesson, and essay questions that ask you to develop and present a fuller analysis or demonstrate your ability to apply what you have learned to specific problems or situations. 

Some things I will be looking for in your essays include: 

  • Is there evidence you have read the text? Direct quotations and page numbering can help. 
  • Is there evidence you have understood the text? If you can restate ideas from the text in your own words without distortions, omissions, or misinterpretations, it will help. 
  • Is there evidence you have read the course guide? Your interaction with the guide will help me know if I am clarifying or obscuring the text. 
  • Is there evidence you can avoid personal bias? Your primary task is to read and understand the thoughts and thinkers presented—that you can understand the point of view of another person without agreeing with it. Don’t rant. Never substitute your personal reaction to a thinker for an explanation of their views, and even if I ask for your personal opinion or choice on a topic, make that the minor part of the answer. 
  • Is there evidence you have written thoughtfully? Try to be as clear as possible in your writing. Organize your thoughts before you put them down. I’m not a stickler for grammar and punctuation, but do the best you can.

Grading Criteria

Your grade will be computed out of 300 points, as follows: 

  • Written Assignments — 100 points 
  • Midcourse Examination — 100 points 
  • Final Examination — 100 points 
  • Total — 300 points