Theology 192 - Epperson
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"Encounter" by M.C. Escher
CSUS
FALL 2012

Philosophy 2:
Philosophical Ethics


Syllabus

Michael Epperson
Office: Mendocino Hall #3036
278-4535


Raphael The School of Athens 1510-11 Fresco Vatican, Stanza della Segnatura, Rome
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M. Cahn, P. Markie
Ethics: History, Theory, and Contemporary Issues


Theaetetus
by Plato

The Stoic Philosophy of Seneca: Essays and Letters

 

 

 

 

 

 


Plato


Aristotle


Epicurus


Epictetus


Seneca


Justin the Martyr


Peter Abelard


Thomas Aquinas


Thomas Hobbes


David Hume


Immanuel Kant


J.S. Mill


John Dewey


G.E. Moore

 

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time & place

Monday & Wednesday, 12:00 - 1:15
Amador Hall, Room 217
Office Hours: Monday & Wednesday, 2:00-3:00

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description

CSUS Catalog Description: This course allows students to develop an understanding and appreciation of ethics in a broad sense. Units: 3.0. General Education Area C3: Introduction to the Humanities.

Description for my section: When we strive to live as ethical individuals, or struggle to promote a more ethical society, upon what foundation do we secure our principles? Do we primarily use reason to deduce them from some deeper, more fundamental set of philosophical principles, themselves similarly deduced? Or do we primarily inherit our ethical principles from theological tradition as revealed truths rather than reasoned truths? If the answer is both, then where and how do these methods intersect? Can ‘revealed’ ethical principles be analyzed rationally? Do ‘reasoned’ philosophical principles involve faith-based presuppositions (e.g., belief that the universe is truly a ‘reasonable’ and ‘objectively real’ place)?

In this course we will examine these and related questions by surveying the works of several major thinkers in philosophical ethics, from the Classical and Hellenistic periods through the 20th Century. Along the way, we’ll apply our analyses to several present-day ethical controversies which we will examine within the context of our readings.

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requirements

Our work will primarily be lecture and discussion, so both careful attention to the readings and class participation will be crucial for a lively course. Please bring texts to class.

EXAMINATIONS

There will be two examinations--one take-home mid-term paper and one final--as well as several unannounced short answer quizzes on the readings. All written work must comply with Philosophy Department guidelines, which can be found here. The departmental grading policy for written work can be found here.

PHONES AND COMPUTERS

Phones, laptops, tablets, and all other electronic multi-media devices are NOT permitted in class. For my reasoning, please refer to my colleague Dr. Merlino's excellent explanation.

POWERPOINT PRESENTATIONS AND PRE-OUTLINED LECTURES

I do not use these in my courses (other than for the occasional diagram, table, graph, or some other image of this kind.) The ability to listen attentively to a lecture or discussion, follow its structure, identify its key points, and take proper notes, is crucial. If this is done for you via Powerpoint slides, or lecture outlines (whether pre-distributed or written on the chalkboard), you are denied the opportunity to exercise and strengthen this ability, or develop it in the first place if you haven't already. It is not difficult, but requires effort. Whatever your intended profession, this is an ability that you will need, and one that many employers lament is deficient or even non-existent in recent college graduates.

For other arguments against Powerpoint-based lectures, including scientific studies demonstrating their hazards, see this article by Edward Tufte, Professor Emeretus of Political Science, Computer Science and Statistics, and Graphic Design at Yale University; see also this article on the work of Dr. John Sweller, University of New South Wales. Finally, see the following paper by R. Mayer, J. Heiser, and S. Lonn, "Cognitive Constraints on Multimedia Learning: When Presenting More Material Results in Less Understanding." Journal of Educational Psychology. Vol. 93:1 (2001): 187-198

ATTENDANCE

Given the above, it is impossible to succeed in this course if you miss the lectures. To encourage attendance, students are permitted only 2 unexcused absences.

Note: Anyone who misses 2 lectures in the first 2 weeks of class will be administratively dropped per CSUS policy. This is to make room for serious students who are attempting to add.

texts
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M. Cahn, P. Markie, Ethics: History, Theory, and Contemporary Issues (4th Ed.) Oxford University Press (2008): ISBN: 0195335961  

Theaetetus by Plato, Penguin Books (1987): ISBN: 0140444505 

The Stoic Philosophy of Seneca: Essays and Letters . Moses Hadas, trans. W. W. Norton & Company (1968): ISBN: 0393004597 

These are available at the university bookstore. Other readings will be made available for viewing or download here.

grading
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Class participation: 15% (4 or more unexcused absences results in 0%.)
HW & Quizzes: 25%
Mid-term exam: 25%
Final exam: 35%
 
Academic Standards: All sources in papers must be cited and given appropriate credit. The author of any information from the Internet must be given credit; using such information without indicating the
source constitutes plagiarism, as it would with print publications. Students are allowed to discuss lectures and even assignments with each other, but they must do their own work. Students are required to read the University policy on academic honesty, which can be found here.
 
Students with Disabilities: If you have a documented disability and require accommodation or assistance with assignments, tests, attendance, note taking, etc., please see the instructor during the first week of the semester so that appropriate arrangements can be made to ensure your full participation in class. Also, you are encouraged to contact the Services for Students with Disabilities (Lassen Hall) for additional information regarding services that might be available to you.
 
Outcomes: Students will have achieved a familiarity with the works of several major thinkers in philosophical ethics, from the Classical and Hellenistic periods through the 20th Century. Students will also be familiar with the application of our analyses of these works to present-day ethical controversies examined within the context of these readings.
lecture schedule - summary view
  Monday Wednesday
Week 01: 8/27 Introduction: Plato Plato: Theaetetus
Week 02: 9/03 Plato: Theaetetus Plato: Republic 6, 7
Week 03: 9/10 Aristotle Aristotle
Week 04: 9/17 Aristotle Aristotle
Week 05: 9/24 Epicurus, Epictetus Seneca
Week 06: 10/01 Seneca Justin, First Apology
Week 07: 10/08 Abelard's Ethics Abelard's Ethics
Week 08: 10/15 MIDTERM OUT NO CLASS
Week 09: 10/22 Aquinas - MIDTERM BACK Aquinas: On Virtue
Week 10: 10/29 Hobbes Hume
Week 11: 11/05 Hume Kant
Week 12: 11/12 Kant J.S. Mill
Week 13: 11/19 Nietzsche Nietzsche
Week 14: 11/26 G.E. Moore Relativism I
Week 15: 12/03 Relativism II Relativism II
lecture schedule - detailed view
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'D' =
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'E' =
Ethics: History, Theory, and Contemporary Issues by M. Cahn, P. Markie

8/27   Introduction; pre-Socratic Philosophy, the sophists, overview of Plato
     
    CLASSICAL PHILOSOPHICAL ETHICS
     
    Plato
    Theory of knowledge: Theaetetus
     
9/03   Plato
    Theory of knowledge: Theaetetus
    Theory of knowledge: Republic, Books 6-7 (E, 96-107)
     
9/10   Aristotle
    Nicomachean Ethics, Books 1-3, Book 5 (E, 124-151)
    Nicomachean Ethics, Book 6 (E, 151-157), Books 8-10 (E, 161-177)
     
9/17   Aristotle
    Wrap-up
     
9/24   Epicurus
    "Letter to Menoeceus" & "Leading Doctrines" (E, 178-183)
    Epictetus
    "Enchiridion" (E, 183-194)
     
    Seneca
    "On the Shortness of Life"
     
10/01   Seneca
    "Letter 92: The Happy Life"
     
    EARLY CHRISTIAN PHILOSOPHICAL THEOLOGY
     
    Justin Martyr
    "First Apology" (D)
     
    MEDIEVAL THEOLOGICAL AND PHILOSOPHICAL ETHICS
     
10/08   Abelard
    Ethics (D)
     
10/15   NO CLASS THIS WEEK - I will be away at a conference.
    MID-TERM EXAM DISTRIBUTED
     
10/22   Thomas Aquinas
   

The role of philosophy in theology; a discussion of The Good.

    Summa Theologica, I, qq.1,5,6 (D)
    Virtue, Natural Law
    Summa Contra Gentiles (selections, E, 202-217)
    MID-TERM EXAM COLLECTED IN CLASS, OCT 25.
     
    EARLY MODERN PHILOSOPHICAL ETHICS
     
10/29   Hobbes
    Morality, self, and the social order
    Leviathan (selections, E, 218-228)
     
    Hume
    Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals (selections, E, 255-279)
     
11/05   Hume (continued)
    Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals (selections, E, 255-279)
     
    Kant
    Fundamental Principles of the Metaphysics of Morals (selections, E, 280-318)
     
11/12   Kant (continued)
    Fundamental Principles of the Metaphysics of Morals (selections, E, 280-318)
     
    19th & 20th CENTURY PHILOSOPHICAL ETHICS
     
    J.S. Mill
    Utilitarianism (E, 327-361)
     
11/19   Nietzsche
    On the Genealogy of Morals (E, 362-394)
     
11/26   G.E. Moore
    Principia Ethica (selections, E, 423-429)
     
    Relativism Part I
    Allan Wood, "Relativism" (D)
    J.L. Mackie, "Relativism and the Claim to Objectivity" (D)
    Richard Brandt, "Relativism and the Ultimate Disagreements about Ethical Principles" (D)
     
    All readings here in one file.
     
12/03   Relativism Part II
    Gilbert Harman, "The Nature of Morality" (E, 625-635)
    Alasdair MacIntyre, "Moral Disagreements" (D)
    James Rachels, "The Challenge of Cultural Relativism" (E, 651-658)
     
   

MONDAY, 12/3:

FINAL EXAM ESSAY PROMPT DISTRIBUTED IN CLASS: FINAL EXAM DUE 12/12 BY 11 AM IN THE PHILOSOPHY DEPT. OFFICE (MND. 3000).

THE EXAM CAN BE DOWNLOADED VIA SAC CT.

     
12/12   FINAL EXAM - DUE BY 11 AM IN THE PHILOSOPHY DEPT. OFFICE (MND. 3000). SEE DETAILED INSTRUCTIONS ON THE EXAM.

Additional Information

Satisfies Area C3: Intro to the Humanities

Learning Objectives:

  • Develops a comprehensive understanding and appreciation of the cultural heritage in the humanities.
  • Focuses on ideas and values of various cultures and traditions as expressed in their philosophies.
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