David L. Hildebrand, Ph.D., Philosophy

Spring 2010 Phl 1020 Ethics and Society

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PHIL 1020-005 TR 10:00a-11:15 a.m. at MC 04
PHIL 1020-007 TR 11:30a-12:45 p.m. at MC 03

Spring 2010

Dr. David Hildebrand


Download the .doc file of this syllabus, here.

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, drug use, sexual morality, and animal welfare. 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: The textbook is 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. TEXTBOOK: Social Ethics: Morality and Social Policy 7th edition, Ed. Mappes and Zembaty (McGraw Hill)
2. ONLINE. There will also be required readings on Blackboard www.blackboard.cudenver.edu (BLACKBOARD)


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 Management and Expectations about Reading/Understanding Material
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.

Philosophy needs to be re-read. Unlike some fiction, philosophy needs to be read slowly and deliberately. Don't rush through it -- think about issues as they are raised, going back and forth if necessary. And if you're burning out, take a break. You will find that a text can seem quite different the second time through. Thomas Kuhn, a noted philosopher, wrote

When reading the works of an important thinker, look first for the apparent absurdities in the text and ask yourself how a sensible person could have written them. When you find an answer, ...when these passages make sense, then you may find that more central passages, ones you previously thought you understood, have changed their meaning. (from The Essential Tension, p. xii.)

Nietzsche wrote,

In the midst of an age of 'work', that is to say, of hurry, of indecent and perspiring haste, which wants to 'get everything done' at once, including every old or new book: -this art [philosophy] does not so easily get anything done, it teaches to read well, that is to say, to read slowly, deeply, looking cautiously before and aft, with reservations, with doors left open, with delicate eyes and fingers. (Dawn, Preface)

Course Requirements/Evaluation:
Attendance        Required on regular class days; 2 free unexcused absences; then, -3 points from final letter average per absence
Comprehension quizzes    200 points or 20 % (7 total quizzes; 5 top scores counted--lowest two dropped)
Exam 1             250 points or 25 % (covering material up to first exam)
Exam 2             250 points or 25 % (covering material after first exam)
Final exam         300 points or 30 % (take home, comprehensive)

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. PLEASE NOTE: Each unexcused absence from required class days will lower your final letter grade average by 3 points (i.e. by about 1/3 of a letter grade--for example, from a "B" to a B-, etc.).

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. 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.

COMPREHENSION QUIZZES There will be 7 "basic comprehension quizzes" given throughout the semester. These quizzes will not require exact memorization of content; rather, they will ask you to:

o    identify the definition of key terms from recent readings or lectures since the last quiz;
o    briefly identify the importance of facts of concepts of an issue in reading or lecture and/or
o    answer questions about the argument(s) or narrative account(s) in a reading.

The quizzes will not be testing your knowledge of sophisticated concepts but for what I consider basic understanding of concepts and facts in the reading or from lecture. If you are failing quiz after quiz, you will likely fail the class. Quizzes must be completed in 10 minutes. It will be very difficult to do well on the quizzes without having completed recent readings or gone to recent lectures. The lowest two quiz grades will be dropped. No make-up quizzes will be given for any reason, including lateness.

EXAMS: Likely a mixture of short answers, multiple choice, and essay. 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.

GRADES: I use the plus/minus system. There are 1000 possible points for this class. An "A" will be a body of work achieving at or above 930 points; an "A-" will be 900-929 points; a "B+" is 870-899 points, etc. Your final grade will be based on these point totals, then adjusted for attendance. 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.

Course Policies

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 (such as on exams) or using sources/experts not permitted by an assignment. The CU handbook has a more complete description of plagiarism and academic dishonesty.

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 "unexcused 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.

Contact Information and Office Hours

Phone : 303-556-8558
E-mail: hilde@yahoo.com;         Website: http://davidhildebrand.org
Office and Hours: Plaza M108     Hours TTh 1:00 to 215 p.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.


Schedule of Readings : Course Readings, Assignments, and Exam Schedule

Date ---------- Reading/Assignment


19   No readings
21   (SE) textbook's abortion introduction; Blackmun (Roe v. Wade),

26   (SE) Pope JP II
28   Seminar Day


2  Start of class: QUIZ on recently covered material. (SE) Warren
4   (SE) Marquis

9  Start of class: QUIZ on recently covered material. (SE) Margaret Olivia Little, The Morality of Abortion
11 EXAM 1

16   (SE) Mill; pages on “Liberty-Limiting Principles” Pp. 219-220. Look, also at pp. 274-76 at section entitled, “Drug Laws, Legalization, and the Principle of Legal Paternalism.”
18   Surveillance readings ONLINE

23 Start of class: QUIZ on recently covered material. Cell phones vs. public safety ONLINE
25 Seminar Day

2   (SE) Introduction, Chapter 6, Drug Control and Addiction; Thomas S. Szasz, The Ethics of Addiction--study questions
4   (SE) Robert E. Goodin, Permissible Paternalism: Saving Smokers from Themselves--study questions

9   Start of class: QUIZ on recently covered material. Lippke, “Advertising and the Social Conditions of Autonomy” (ONLINE)
11 Read: Hildebrand Lecture about media and advertising (ONLINE); Film: Advertising and the End of the World

16 Discussion of film; Ciriello, "The Commodification of Women: Morning, Noon, and Night"(ONLINE)
18  Seminar Day

23/25   Spring Break

30   (SE) Vincent C. Punzo, Morality and Human Sexuality

1 Start of class: QUIZ on recently covered material. (SE) Thomas A. Mappes, Sexual Morality and the Concept of Using Another Person

6 EXAM 2
8    Film, Food Inc. (part 1)

13   (SE) Introduction to Chapter 10 on Animals: study questions on animals: Singer, Regan, Cohen
15   (SE) Peter Singer, All Animals Are Equal

20 & 22   No class lectures; room will be open for study groups to gather and work on final exam preparation.

27 (SE) Tom Regan, The Case for Animal Rights
29  Start of class: QUIZ on recently covered material. (SE) Carl Cohen, The Case for the Use of Animals in Biomedical

4 Seminar day
6 Last day of class; start of class: QUIZ on recently covered material. REVIEW/ TAKE HOME OUT

11 Take home exam due

Last updated Oct 07, 2010 11:20:AM