Philosophy 4: Introduction to Ethics University of California, Santa Barbara │ Summer 2012 (Session B) General Information Lecture Time: MTWR 11-12:05 Location: Phelp 1160 Course Webpage: www.albert-
shin.com/teaching/phil4.html Instructor Information Instructor: Albert Shin Office Hours: T/R 12:30-1:30 PM or by appointment (South Hall 5720) Email: [email protected]
TA Information TA: Philip Atkins Office Hours: M/T 3:30-4:30 PM or by appointment (South Hall 5717) Email: [email protected]
I. Course Information Course Description When we reflect on the intentions, actions, and character of others as well as ourselves, we not only see what they are, but also what they ought to be. We are, in other words, concerned with how we ought to live our lives. And ethics, or moral philosophy, is the study of just this question. We will begin the course by addressing some challenges to morality, like doubts about the existence of morality and objective moral standards. Then we will turn to some ethical theories, theories that attempt to explain what makes an action right or wrong, an intention morally good or bad, and a character virtuous or vicious. Finally, we will look at some ethical dilemmas, and how ethical theories inform our judgments about what we ought to do in particular situations. By the end of the course, students should have an understanding of the traditional moral theories, their application, and challenges to them. Moreover, through the reading and writing requirements, along with discussion of the content of the course material, my aim is for students to develop their reading, writing, and critical thinking skills. Ultimately, through deep reflection, students should gain a better grasp of their own moral judgments and the principles that guide those judgments. Required Text Exploring Ethics: An Introductory Anthology (2nd Ed., 2011), ed. Steven M. Cahn The majority of the readings are the same as the first edition, but you will need to obtain the missing chapters if you use the first edition. I will also post handouts that will supplement the readings. These handouts will also contain questions meant to spark discussion (but by no means are discussions restricted to these questions).
Course Webpage The course webpage will contain the syllabus, (partial) powerpoint slides, handouts, and any updates for the course. I will post slides for each lecture one week prior to the date of the lecture. You should have any slides and handout available in class, either in print or electronically, so that you spend less time taking detailed notes, and more time discussing the course content. I highly recommend that you check the website on a consistent basis to make sure you are up-to-date with assignments and course material. Updates I reserve the right to make any changes to the syllabus, including assignment due dates and exam schedule. Any changes and updates will be announced in class and posted on the course webpage. Also, both the TA and I may need to send information by email. We will do so through UCSB’s ULists service, which means emails will be sent to your Umail address. If you have a different primary email account, make sure to set up email forwarding.
II. Course Requirements Overview Section Attendance Paper #1 (Tentatively Due 8/20) Midterm (Tentatively 8/30) Paper #2 (Tentatively Due 9/14)
10% 20% 30% 40%
Attendance and Participation You are expected to attend and participate in lecture. Though not officially part of your grade, you will not be able to do well in the course without attending lecture. The lectures will help clarify the readings, which are quite difficult at times, and will contain material not available elsewhere. Section attendance is part of your grade. But more importantly, you should seek to participate actively in section because doing so will help you gain greater clarity on course material as well as on your own thoughts in preparing for both paper assignments. Paper Assignments First Paper Assignment: 2-3 pages (Tentatively Due 8/20) This assignment is designed to give you an introduction to writing in philosophy. You will be asked to clearly and concisely present various views discussed in the course. You will be given extensive feedback to help you on your second paper assignment. Second Paper Assignment: 6-8 pages (Tentatively Due 9/14) This assignment will ask you not only to present views discuss in the course, but also your own insights on the issue. Because you will have to show philosophical depth, you should reflect on your own views, consider possible objections, and respond to those objections. I highly encourage you to discuss your own thoughts with others, especially with the instructor or teaching assistant, so that you can develop greater clarity and precision. There are various handouts and links on the ‘Resources’ section of the course website specifically aimed at helping you write philosophy papers. The grading rubric is also available on the website.
Midterm The midterm will be in-class and will focus, but not exclusively, on the second unit of this course (on ethical theories). I will provide a review sheet to give you an idea of what to expect on the exam. I will also hold a review session (date and time to be determined). Academic Dishonesty You are responsible for knowing the university policy on academic dishonesty (available online at: http://judicialaffairs.sa.ucsb.edu/AcademicIntegrity.aspx). If you are having difficulty with the course, you should notify me as soon as possible so that I can work with you (see Support Available). Support Available I want to ensure that students receive the highest quality education. If at any point, you would like assistance with the course material, I suggest you see me. I am available during office hours and by email. I am also readily available by appointment if you cannot make it to office hours. If I cannot help, I will do my best to connect you to appropriate campus resources. If you are facing any serious difficulty of any kind (e.g. medical condition, family crisis), please contact me so we can resolve it together.
III. Readings (Tentative) [0.1] Introduction: Ethics and the Nature of Ethical Discourse Morality and Moral Philosophy (William K. Frankena) Handout #1 [Optional] The Nature of Ethical Disagreement (Charles L. Stevenson) Unit 1: Challenges to Morality [1.1] Moral Nihilism How Not to Answer Moral Question (Tom Regan) [Optional] Moral Skepticism in Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Walter Sinnott-Armstrong) Handout #2 [1.2] Ethical Relativism The Challenge of Cultural Relativism (James Rachels) [1.3] Ethical Egoism Egoism and Moral Skepticism (James Rachels) Right and Wrong (Thomas Nagel) [Optional] Happiness and Immorality (Steven M. Cahn and Jeffrie G. Murphy) [Optional] Republic Book II (Plato) *not in textbook [1.4] God and Morality God and Morality (Steven M. Cahn) [Optional] Euthyphro (Plato) *not in textbook Unit 2: Ethical Theories [2.1] Deontology The Categorical Imperative (Immanuel Kant) A Simplified Account of Kant’s Ethics (Onora O’Neill) Handout #3
[2.2] Utilitarianism Utilitarianism (John Stuart Mill) Strengths and Weaknesses of Utilitarianism (Louis P. Pojman) [Optional] Utilitarianism: For and Against (J. J. C. Smart and Bernard Williams) Handout #4 [2.3] Virtue Ethics The Nature of Virtue (Aristotle) Virtue Ethics (Bernard Mayo) Handout #5 Unit 3: Applied Ethics [3.1] Abortion A Defense of Abortion (Judith Jarvis Thompson) Why Abortion is Immoral (Don Marquis) [Optional] On the Moral and Legal Status of Abortion (Mary Anne Warren) [Optional] Virtue Theory and Abortion (Rosalind Hursthouse) Handout #6 [3.2] World Hunger Famine, Affluence, and Morality (Peter Singer) World Hunger and Moral Obligation: The Case Against Singer (John Arthur) Handout #7 [3.3] Torture Torture (Henry Shue) Ticking Bombs, Torture, and the Analogy with Self-Defense (Daniel J. Hill) Handout #8 [3.4] Affirmative Action Two Concepts of Affirmative Action (Steven M. Cahn) What Good Am I? (Lawrence Thomas) Handout #9 [3.5] Animal Rights The Case for Animal Rights (Tom Regan) The Case for the Use of Animals in Biomedical Research (Carl Cohen) Handout #10 [3.6] Environmental Ethics We Are What We Eat (Tom Regan) Philosophical Problems for Environmentalism (Elliot Sober) Handout #11