David L. Hildebrand, Ph.D., Philosophy

Spring 2009 Phl 1020 Ethics and Society

Spring 2009, Dr. David Hildebrand, (hilde@yahoo.com)

PHIL 1020-005, TTh, 8:30-9:45 a.m.   (PL 114)
PHIL 1020-006, TTh 10-11:15 a.m. (PL 114)


Jump to readings: Schedule of Readings

Course Description: All who live in this world must choose what to do. Yet to live in the world we must live with people. When we make choices involving people we are engaged in ethical activity. Ethical debates arise from those situations where there is disagreement about: 1) how we should treat others and 2) the reasons (or arguments) for treating them in one way rather than another. This course will examine specific ethical theories as well as more concrete issues such as abortion, consumerism, sexual morality, and the effect of consumerism on ethical inquiry, etc. Our goal will be to gain a better understanding by reading, thinking, and talking carefully and critically.

Course Objectives:

  1. Familiarization. Gain a good sense of what is at stake in issues of course.
  2. Comprehension. Be able to comprehend the arguments offered by various philosophers.
  3. Critical analysis. Be able to criticize those arguments by pointing out where they lack evidence, make an unreasonable leap, hold a false assumption, etc.
  4. Demonstration of (1) - (3) through exams, writing.
  5. Verbalization. Be able to summarize a philosophical position, without notes, using your own words. Be able to criticize a position this way.
  6. Conversation and Debate. Be able to discuss issues in a focused and informed way with others in the class. This will involve listening closely to their points, then responding in a way that moves the discussion ahead.

Required Texts: Available at Auraria and Big Dog Textbooks (1331 15th Street). Also, if you desire, online (see, for example, http://used.addall.com). If you buy your book online, make sure (1) that it is the correct edition, and (2) that you have it in time for class. See also http://www.bigdogtextbooks.com here in Denver. 

1. Social Ethics: Morality and Social Policy 6th or 7th edition, Ed. Mappes and Zembaty (McGraw Hill)
2. Online. Occasionally there will be readings at one of the following places:
(a) on my website: www.davidhildebrand.org (DH)
(b) at our blackboard site http://blackboard.cuonline.edu/ (BLACKBOARD)



Exam 1--25%
Exam 2--25% (covering material after first exam)
Final exam--35% (take home, comprehensive)

Blackboard/Website: There are two online sites related to this course. Familiarize yourself with them right away. Both will offer you access to information about the course such as study questions, announcements, grades, extra credit assignments.

  1. The first and most important one is our course Blackboard site: https://blackboard.cuonline.edu. On this page are INSTRUCTIONS TO ENROLL. Please make sure you enroll right at the beginning of the class.
  2. The second site is my home page at http://www.davidhildebrand.org. Here there are a variety of general study tips and resources in philosophy.

Time Per Week: Many of us have responsibilities that compete with this class. Though I am sympathetic, these will not excuse poor attendance or late work. If short term, non-emergency illnesses or other contingencies create problems with attending class or completing assignments in a timely manner, students must notify me before class time by leaving a message on my office telephone. I will discuss the matter with students during the next class meeting or schedule an appointment at that time if needed. I will only consider an extension if I receive notification prior to the class or deadline except in cases of documented emergency.

Readings: It is expected that you have done the readings before we discuss them. As you read, copy out important points and questions you have onto a separate sheet of paper. (These will help you with your short reflection papers.) You may also want to note problem passages (e.g., with a "?" or "Q.") in your text as you read. These are good points for class discussion. You should come to each class able to discuss the main issues of the reading and you could be asked during class to present the main points to the class. Your well-prepared participation is crucial for a successful class. Please see the Tips for Understanding Philosophy and for Writing Philosophy Papers on my home page. See also this page for tips on participating and reading. Very important: please set aside about 10 minutes shortly before class to look back over (skim-review) the readings and whatever you have written for that day.

Attendance This class includes SEMINAR Days where attendance is optional. This means that for the remaining class days attendance is absolutely required (and will be taken) except in cases of illness, emergency, or special circumstances. An absence may be excused, exams may be made up, or homework may be turned in late only if (1) the absence has been approved in advance by the professor or (2) the absent student can document illness or emergency. Documents about absence must be brought to professor within one week of returning to class. Unexcused absences from required class days can lower your final average by a letter grade or more.

Seminar Days: On your schedule of classes (below) you will see days marked as “SEMINAR Days.” These are not "regular" class meetings and will cover no new readings. Each SEMINAR DAY will focus on the material of the time since the last SEMINAR DAY, usually about two class meetings. Their purpose is to facilitate more intense discussions with those who have informed themselves by carefully doing the readings. Except for the last one, SEMINAR DAY attendance is optional, though recommended; those who are not interested in attending can be assured that there will be no penalties: no attendance taken, no quizzes, no new material covered. You have the day off. However, attending will be highly beneficial to learning the material. Students who attend SEMINAR DAY have, in the past, done better on exams than those who do not attend.

Exams: Likely a mixture of short answer, multiple choice, and essay. Bring a blue book to each in class exam. The final exam is take home and it must be typed. no make-up exams will be given without extenuating circumstances and arrangements made prior to the exam. Such circumstances include severe medical problems; talk to me for the full list of acceptable excuses.

Plagiarism/ Academic Dishonesty Plagiarism is a form of stealing. It occurs when an author uses the words or ideas of others as if they were the author’s own original thought. (It may include word-for-word copying, interspersing one’s own words with another’s, paraphrasing, inventing or counterfeiting sources, submitting another’s work as one’s own, neglecting quotation marks on material that is otherwise acknowledged.) Plagiarism is often unintentional. It can be avoided by always acknowledging one’s debt to others by citing the exact source of a quotation or paraphrase. Since plagiarism is such a serious violation of academic honesty, the penalty for it will be an automatic “F” for this course.
Academic dishonesty is the intentional disregard of course or university rules. This may include (but is not limited to) collaborating with others when rules forbid or using sources/experts not permitted by an assignment. The CU handbook has a more complete description of plagiarism and academic dishonesty.

Grades: I use the plus/minus system. Values for those letters, as well as the policies regarding other grades such as Incomplete, are available in the CU Academic Policies and Regulations section of the handbook. I have set out my standards of what a grade means on my FAQ section of my website.

Access, Disability, Communication: The University of Colorado at Denver and Health Sciences Center is committed to providing reasonable accommodation and access to programs and services to persons with disabilities. Students with disabilities who want academic accommodations must register with Disability Resources and Services (DRS), 177 Arts Building, 303-556-3450, TTY 303-556-4766, FAX 303-556-2074. I will be happy to provide approved accommodations, once you provide me with a copy of DRS’s letter. [DRS requires students to provide current and adequate documentation of their disabilities. Once a student has registered with DRS, DRS will review the documentation and assess the student’s request for academic accommodations in light of the documentation. DRS will then provide the student with a letter indicating which academic accommodations have been approved.]

Students called for military duty: If you are a student in the military with the potential of being called to military service and /or training during the course of the semester, you are encouraged to contact your school/college Associate Dean or Advising Office immediately.

Course Communication: In addition to announcements made and written handouts distributed in class, I may need to contact you between classes, which I'll do through individual and group email messages. One of the requirements for this course is that you maintain an email address, check it regularly for messages, be sure it is working, and let me know if you change your email address. You are responsible for any messages, including assignments and schedule changes, I send you via email. You also may contact me via email, in addition to seeing me during office hours or calling me.

Civility and Technology: Laptops are not permitted. Turn off beepers and cell phones during class. Text messaging, web surfing, and other electronic distractions may result in expulsion from class and will be counted as an "absence" from class. Students who are speaking deserve your attention and respect as much as I do. Listen to one another. Adherence to the Student Conduct Code is expected.

Phone 303-556-8558
E-mail: hilde@yahoo.com; Website: http://davidhildebrand.org
Office and Hours: Plaza M108; Hours TTh 11:30-12:30 a.m. or by appointment.

Purpose: I strongly encourage you to participate by dropping by during office hours. We can talk about the class readings and lectures, exams and papers, your progress, or just philosophy in general. Note: If you are a student with a disability, I will make myself available to discuss appropriate academic accommodations. Before accommodations will be made, you may be required to provide documentation. Students with disabilities will be accommodated. Students with disabilities are required to register disabilities with the UCD Disability Services Office, and are responsible for requesting reasonable accommodations at the beginning of the term.

Please note: All course requirements are subject to change at the discretion of the instructor.

Course help is available at my web address: http://DavidHildebrand.org

Schedule of Readings : Theme, Reading and Exam Schedule

This reading schedule will give you a rough idea of what we’re going to read and when.
Readings may be added as we go along. Any changes will be announced in class.

Key: (SE) = Social Ethics; all else is either a film or ONLINE on Blackboard or my website. SE page numbers refer to 6th edition.

T 20 Introduction to Course: Ethical situations, the role of theories in practice No readings
Th 22 Ethical theory and reading philosophy; LaFollette, "Theorizing About Ethics" and "Reading Philosophy" (ONLINE)

T 27 Ethical theory Consequentialism: Utilitarianism; Hinman, "The Ethics of Consequences: Utilitarianism" to end of page 156. (ONLINE)
Th 29 SEMINAR DAY; No New Readings

T 3 Ethical theory Consequentialism: Utilitarianism; Hinman, "The Ethics of Consequences: Utilitarianism" pp. 157 to end. (ONLINE)
Th 5 Ethical theory Kantian ethics; Timmons, "A Moral Theory Primer and Kantian moral theory" (ONLINE)

T 10 SEMINAR DAY No New Readings
Th 12 Abortion:  Film on abortion: The last abortion clinic

T 17 Exam 1 in class
Th 19 Abortion: biological facts and philosophical implications; (SE): Textbook’s abortion introduction, Legal arguments; (SE) Roe vs. Wade case

T 24 Abortion: Catholic argument; Catholic Position: (SE) Pope JP II
Th 26 SEMINAR DAY No New Readings

T 3 Abortion: pro-choice argument; (SE) Warren
Th 5 Abortion: pro-life (anti-choice) argument; (SE) Marquis

T 10 Abortion: Feminist argument; (SE) Sherwin
Th 12 No Class

T 17 Seminar/Review Day for Exam 2
Th 19 Exam 2 covering material since last exam.


T 31 Consumerism; Film: Advertising and the End of the World

Th 2 Consumerism: advertising, desire, and happiness; Discussion of film; Hildebrand Lecture about media and advertising (ONLINE)

T 7 Sexual Morality: Direct and Indirect Harm; (SE) Mill, On Liberty (214-217)
Th 9 Sexual Morality: Gender, consumerism, and media;  FILM: Killing Us Softly3 (FILM, 34 min.)

T 14 Consumerism: advertising and autonomy; Discussion of film plus Lippke, “Advertising and the Social Conditions of Autonomy” (ONLINE)
Th 16 SEMINAR DAY No New Readings

T 21 Sexual Morality: Gender, commodification, and exploitation; Ciriello, "The Commodification of Women: Morning, Noon, and Night"(online)
Th 23 Sexual Morality: Sexual conduct and flourishing; (SE) Introduction (157-170); Punzo

T 28 SEMINAR DAY No New Readings
Th 30 Sexual Morality: Sexual conduct and harm; (SE) Mappes


T 5 Review No new readings; review for final exam
Th 7 Take home exam given out covering whole semester

Last updated Dec 13, 2010 06:12:AM