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Course Syllabus

Course: PHIL 2050

Division: Humanities
Department: English & Philosophy
Title: Ethics and Values

Semester Approved: Summer 2017
Five-Year Review Semester: Summer 2022
End Semester: Summer 2023

Catalog Description: This course is designed to help students explore personal morality by understanding ethical theories and their application to contemporary ethical issues.

General Education Requirements: Humanities (HU)
Semesters Offered: Fall, Spring
Credit/Time Requirement: Credit: 3; Lecture: 3; Lab: 0

Prerequisites: English 1010 C- or higher

Justification: This course helps students see the application of moral philosophy and ethical thinking to their lives. These are basic elements in understanding Humanities as the expression of thoughts and values that define an individual and culture. All colleges in the USHE system teach Ethics and Values at the 2000 level. The course fulfills the Humanities GE requirement. The Humanities are a group of academic disciplines that study the many ways by which humans have attempted to understand themselves and their world. At Snow College, the Humanities focus on cultural traditions that are expressed largely through text or which have a strong textual component: languages, literature, and philosophy. The methods by which the Humanities study culture are at once analytical and interpretive, objective and subjective, historical and aesthetic.

General Education Outcomes:
1: A student who completes the GE curriculum will have a fundamental knowledge of human cultures and the natural world, with particular emphasis on American institutions, the social and behavioral sciences, the physical and life sciences, the humanities, the fine arts and personal wellness.  Students will read and engage with philosophical texts in the major areas of moral philosophy, including utilitarianism, deontology, virtue ethics, and ethics of care. They will be able to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding through exams and/or quizzes, class discussions, essays, reflective journals, and group projects (Ethics Bowl exercises).

2: A student who completes the GE curriculum can read, retrieve, evaluate, interpret, and deliver information using a variety of traditional and electronic media. By reading a variety of ethical arguments, students will be able to discuss their understanding of the reading material and offer challenges to these arguments. For example, students will read selections from Immanuel Kant's Fundamental Principles of the Metaphysics of Morals. In an Ethics Bowl group presentation, students will demonstrate how Kant's categorical imperative might be applied to a contemporary moral dilemma.

3: A student who completes the GE curriculum can speak and write effectively and respectfully as a member of the global community, and work effectively as a member of a team. Students write out-of-class essays and essay exams that demonstrate their ability to answer ethical questions raised in the readings and class discussions. Instructors respond to the clarity, informativeness, and persuasiveness with grades and suggestions.

6: A student who completes the GE curriculum can reason analytically, critically, and creatively about nature, culture, facts, values, ethics, and civic policy. Students will demonstrate, in essay exams, out-of-class essays, and group projects (Ethics Bowl exercises), their ability to analyze ethical arguments and then advance and articulate their own arguments in response.

Student Learning Outcomes:
Ask and explore a variety of philosophical and theoretical questions about human thought and experience.
Through the study of a representative selection of primary texts and contemporary issues, students will be introduced to major ethical theories (i.e. moral relativism, egoism, utilitarianism, deontology, natural law, virtue ethics, and ethics of care) and how ethical theory can be applied to moral dilemmas. Students will demonstrate their ability to ask and explore philosophical and ethical questions through class discussions, exams and/or quizzes, written assignments, and group projects.  

Understand how knowledge is created through the study of language systems, literature and/or philosophy.
Through readings and class discussions, students will be able to see how various ethical theories are formulated, applied, and challenged. Students will then be asked to apply and question these theories as they do, or may, appear in their lives. Students will demonstrate their ability to ask questions and challenge assumptions through written assignments, exams, and group projects.  

Understand cultural traditions within an historical context and make connections with the present.
By reading and discussing the historical origins of ancient, medieval, Enlightenment, and contemporary ethical theories, students will understand that ethical theory goes beyond the theoretical and that it influences their ethical choices. Students will demonstrate how ethical theory influences their lives and informs their moral decisions through class discussions, exams and/or quizzes, written assignments, and group projects.  

Critically read and respond to primary texts (original, uninterpreted) from a Humanities' perspective.
Students will be able to read, interpret, analyze, and respond to a representative selection of primary texts and contemporary ethical case studies. Reading strategies, exams, essays, and group projects allow students to demonstrate their ability to read critically in order to understand, explain, and apply ethical theory.  

Write effectively within the Humanities discipline to analyze and form critical and aesthetic judgments.
Students will be able to write analyses of ethical theories and contemporary moral dilemmas, which will demonstrate their ability to construct an argument that relies upon a strong thesis, textual support, critical thinking, and ethical nuance. 

Through lecture, class discussion, and student group presentations, this course covers the following topics: moral relativism, egoism, utilitarianism, deontology, utilitarianism, natural law, virtue ethics, and ethics of care.

Key Performance Indicators:
Exams and/or quizzes: 20-40%  

Reflective journal: 20-40%  

Short essays (8-10 finished pages): 20-40%  

Term Paper (4-6 finished pages): 20-40%  

Group Projects (Ethics Bowl): 20-40%  






Representative Text and/or Supplies:
Sandel, Michael J. Justice: What's the Right Thing to Do?

Timmons, Mark. Conduct and Character: Readings in Moral Theory (Current Edition)

Vaughn, Lewis. Doing Ethics: Moral Reasoning and Contemporary Issues (Current Edition)

MacKinnon, Barbara and Andrew Fiala. Ethics: Theory and Contemporary Issues (Current Edition)

Association for Practical and Professional Ethics. Ethics Bowl Case Studies

Pedagogy Statement:

Maximum Class Size: 30
Optimum Class Size: 20