Intro To Ethics: Syllabus

Part 1: The Good Life

1. Opening Discussion: What is a good life?
2. The Good Life as Pleasure. Epicurus: Letter to Menoeceus.
3. The Good Life as Virtue. James Bond Stockdale: The World of Epictetus
4. Virtue Con’t. Epictetus:  Enchiridion  Discussion Questions and Notes
5. In-Class Assignment/Activity (Before class watch Black Mirror Season 3 Episode 1: Nosedive)
6. The Good Life Living According to Reason. Plato: The Republic.  [Margin Numbers/Letters: 580d-583b
7. Reason Con’t. Plato: The Republic.  [Margin Numbers/Letters: 583b-592b; you can skip 587b-588b]
8. The Good Life Contrary to Reason. Dostoevsky 1: Selections from Notes from the Underground. p. 27-45
9. Dostoevsky Cont’d.
10. The Good Life as Overcoming/Power. Nietzsche: Selections from The Anti-Christ. Sections 1, 257, 258, 259, 260, 

  1. Supplementary Reading: Nietzsche and the Alt-Right

11. Short Paper: What can philosophy teach us about skyrocketing student anxiety and depression?

  1. Student Anxiety and Depression 1
  2. Student Anxiety and Depression 2
  3. Student Anxiety and Depression 3

Part 2: Why Be Moral?

1. Plato: The Republic, Glaucon’s Challenge. [Margin numbers/letters 357a-360d and 365a-367a]
2. Aristotle Part 1: Ethics Book 1
3. Aristotle Part 2: Ethics Book 2

      1. Supplementary Reading: Meaning is Healthier than Happiness

Part 3: Meta-Ethics: The Foundations of Morality

1. Plato: The Euthyphro
2. Hobbes: Leviathan, Selections p. 100-109 (Textbook)
3. Mackie, The Subjectivity of Values, p. 174-182 (Textbook)
4. Hume/Michael Smith Part 1Preview the documentView in a new window [From Smith reading skim p. 459-460; read Are There any Moral Facts. Stop at Foot’s and Harmon’s Objections]
5. Smith Part 2Preview the documentView in a new window
6. Rachael’s: The Challenge of Cultural Relativism

Part 4: Normative Ethics: What’s the Right Thing to Do?

1. Kant: Groundwork Part 1: Shafer-Landau Textbook p. 89-93
2.  Kant: Groundwork Part 2: Textbook p. 93-98
3.  Mill: On Utilitarianism Part 1: Textbook p. 17- 1st half of 22.
4.  Mill Part 2: Textbook p. 22-end.

  • In Class Assignment/Activity (Surveillance, Security, and Rights)

5. Existentialist Ethics 1: Existentialism is a Humanism, Sartre pp. 17-27 

6. Existentialist Ethics 2: Existentialism is a Humanism, Sartre pp. 27-39
7. Existentialist Ethics 3: Existentialism is a Humanism, Sartre pp. 39-53
8. Hilde Lindemann: Feminist Ethics Part 1 p. 135-p. 142. (Shafer-Landau Textbook)
9. Feminist Ethics Part 2 p. 142-146.
10. Ethics of Care: Tove Petterson 

Part 5: Applied Ethics

Ethics of Dating

1. Gender Norms and Female Dating Rules: The Philosophy of Dating: Buy My Love. READ: First full paragraph on p. 105-end of p. 111.
2. Ethics of Male Pick Up Strategies: The Philosophy of Dating: Evolutionary Psychology and Seduction Strategies. READ: Skim from 201-middle of 204 but read carefully last paragraph on 202 and first paragraph on 203. Then read carefully 204-208.
3. Lying to Get Laid: Sex, Lies, and Consent Dougherty. Read at least from 717-722. If you can, also read 722-727
4. That’s What She Said: The Language of Sexual Negotiation. Quill Kukla

Social Media, Quality of Life, and Moral Responsibility

1. Opening Discussion: Social Media, Smart Devices, and Quality of Life
2. Technology, Quality of Life, and Moral Responsibility

  1. Primary Reading:
  2. Supplementary Reading:

3. Technology and Student Life

  1. (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.

4. Technology and Quality of Life: Mob Justice and Social Media 

Please read at least one or two of the articles before class:
Suggestion for Instructors: Use Jigsaw Method

  1. Twitter Mob Serves a Purpose and Hastac Social Media and Social Justice
  6. How Social Media is Changing Law Enforcement

5. Free Speech, Nazis, and Conceptions of Harm:

In Class, watch: (20 min)  If short on time, watch 0:00-9:00 then skip to 18:00-end.

Note to Instructors: This unit is intended to briefly familiarize students with some competing views on hate speech. A much deeper examination of existing arguments is of course possible. The purpose of this unit is primarily to provoke discussion and appreciation of competing arguments. You can use the jigsaw method and do this unit over 2 classes or do readings 4, 5, 6 first then in your second period cover 1, 2, 3 (amongst other possibilities).

  1. Democracy and Hate Speech (full), Stewart (Summary) read pp. 9-14 (read the rest if you can, too)
  2. Current Affairs
  3. Free Speech and 2nd Amendment
  4. ACLU Defense of Hate Speech
  5. SEP On Free Speech Section 1, Section 2.0, 2.3
  6. Mill: On Liberty, Selections.