Schedule of Assignments, Philosophy 101, Spring 2016


1.         Jan 7: Introduction

The Nature of Morality

2.         Jan 12: CH 1, What is Morality? James Rachels, The Elements of Moral Philosophy, 8th edition, (hereafter, EMP), pp. 1-14

            a.         Optional additional material

                        i.         David Wasserman, “Killing Mary to Save Jodie: Conjoined Twins and Individual Rights

                        ii.        Peggy Battin: Choosing the Least Worst Death (20 min Ted Talk)

Cultural Relativism

3.         Jan 14: Class discussion about cultural relativism

            a.         Battle Over Patriotism Curriculum”; “Men Stoned to Death for Adultery”; “The Ritual: Disfiguring, Hurtful, Wildly Festive” and “Village by Village, Circumcising a Ritual; “Do Korean Men Still Beat Their Wives? Definitely” and Should there be restrictions on wearing the niqab? - five-minute video debate all on class webpage

4.         Jan 19: CH 2, The Challenge of Cultural Relativism, EMP 15-32

Subjectivity and Objectivity

5.         Jan 21: CH 3, Subjectivism in Ethics, EMP 33-48                


6.         Jan 26: Only some of the readings below will be assigned (all on class webpage)

            a.         Talia Mae Bettcher, “Without a Net, Starting Points for Trans Stories

            b.         Alison Bechdel, "Trans-Dykes to Watch Out For" (comic strip article in power point) on webpage

            c.         Elinor Burkett, What Makes a Woman? (A feminist critique of trans?)

                        i.         Critique of above

            d.         Serano, "Intrinsic Inclinations: Explaining Gender and Sexual Diversity"

            e.         Juggling Gender (25 min video interview with Jennifer Miller, circus entertainer, professor, and woman with a beard)

Philosophy of Religion

7.         Jan 28: Richard Taylor "God," on class webpage

8.         Feb 2: Class discussion about religion. Topics: Religion and environment, religion and science, religion and violence, religion and politics, atheism and secular humanism. See class webpage

9.         Feb 4: Bertrand Russell "Why I Am Not A Christian," on class webpage

10.       Feb 9: William James, “The Will to Believe,” on class webpage

            a.         Optional additional material: Climate Change and Pascal’s Wager (9 min video)

11.       Feb 11: Problem of Evil (Three readings)

            a.         Fyodor Dostoevsky, "The Sufferings of Little Children," on class webpage

            b.         John Hick,"The Problem of Evil" on class webpage

            c.         John Hick, "Evil and the Infinite Future Good" on class webpage

12.       Feb 16: CH 4, Does Morality Depend on Religion? EMP 49-63


13.       Feb 18: CH 5, Ethical Egoism, EMP 64-81

            a.         Optional additional material

                        i.         An Argument Against Egoism on class webpage

                        ii.        Does Money Make You Mean? (10 min audio) on class webpage

                        iii.       Any Rand on Evils of Altruism (9 min video) on class webpage

Social and Political Philosophy  

14.       Feb 23: CH 6, The Social Contract Theory, EMP 82-98                  

15.       Feb 25: MIDTERM EXAM


16.       Mar 1: CH 7, The Utilitarian Approach, EMP 99-110

            a.         Optional additional reading: Douglas Husak, “Four Points about Drug Decriminalization

Environmental Philosophy

17.       Mar 3: Ned Hettinger, “Age of Man Environmentalism & Respect for an Independent Nature,” on class webpage     



18.       Mar 15: Dale Jamieson on Respecting Nature, Climate Change and the Anthropocene

            a.         Selections from Jamieson’s Reason in a Dark Time: “Respect for Nature” pp, 188-93 on class webpage

            b.         Introductory chapter on “The Anthropocene” in Jamieson and Nadzam’s Love in the Anthropocene on class webpage

            c.         Optional additional material on class webpage

                        i.         Peter Singer interviewing Dale Jamieson on Reason in a Dark Time (56 min video)

                        ii.        Audio of Jamieson talking about his book

                        iii.       Maps of sea level rise Charleston area

                        iv.       Naming Hurricanes After Politicians who Deny Climate Change (video)

“The Anthropocene: Love it or Leave it”

Talk by Dale Jamieson, Tues, March 15, 3:15, location to be determined

Utilitarianism (continued)

19.       Mar 17: CH 8, Debate over Utilitarianism, EMP 111-125

PAPER PROPOSAL DUE (Friday, Mar 18, send by email to: 

Kantian Non-Consequential (Deontological) Moral Theory        

20.       Mar 22: CH 9, Are There Absolute Moral Rules? EMP 126-136

21.       Mar 24: CH 10, Kant and Respect for Persons, EMP 137-146

Metaphysics: Mind and Body, Personal Identity, and Free Will

22.       Mar 29: Thomas Nagel, “The Mind-Body Problem,” on class webpage

23.       Mar 31: Daniel Dennett, “Where Am I?” on class webpage

24.       Apr 5: Thomas Nagel, “Free Will” on class webpage

Feminism and Feminist Ethics

25.       Apr 7: CH 11, Feminism and the Ethics of Care EMP 147-158

PAPER DUE (Friday, Apr 8, paper copy--not email, due by 1pm, 14 Glebe, inside mailbox)


26.       Apr 12: Class discussion on Feminism

            a.         Readings to be determined. See class webpage

Virtue Ethics

27.       Apr 14: CH 12, Virtue Ethics, EMP 159-174

            a.         Optional additional reading: Martha Nussbaum, “Transitional Anger” (Is Anger Rational?)

Conclusions about Moral Theory                                                                                       

28.       Apr 19: CH 13, What Would a Satisfactory Moral Theory Be Like? EMP 175-184

FINAL EXAM (For date, see syllabus)