Office: Bartlett 361
heathwood @ philos.umass.edu
Office Hours: Tuesday after class and by appt.
(The best way to get a hold of me is by email.)
This course provides an introduction to ethics by way of a discussion of doctrines and arguments primarily in one area of moral philosophy: the normative ethics of behavior (the theory of right and wrong action). We will take brief detours into two other areas of moral philosophy: value theory (the theory of good and bad), and virtue theory (the theory of excellence and deficiency of character). If time permits, we will study one or two of the following issues in applied ethics: abortion, cloning, world poverty, animal rights, and the environment.
The course website, which you should check regularly, can be found here:
Two books are required:
- James Rachels, The Elements of Moral Philosophy, Fourth Edition (McGraw-Hill, 2003).
- James Rachels, The Right Thing to Do: Basic Readings in Moral Philosophy, Third Edition (McGraw-Hill, 2003).
They are available as a package at the Textbook Annex.
Additional readings may be provided in class, or on the course website.
Exams: There will be three exams, each worth 25% of your grade. Exams thus constitute 75% of your grade for the course. Before each exam, a study guide will be made available. It will contain some of the questions that will be on the exam.
There is no final exam. Exam #3 will be given during finals week, and it is non-cumulative.
If you must miss a scheduled exam, you must notify me before the exam. If you do this, and if you have a legitimate, documented reason for missing the exam, you may be permitted to take a make-up exam.
Pre-Exam Presentations: "Review Day," the class meeting before each exam, will consist of group presentations. Each group will have been assigned a question from the study guide on which to present.
Homework: There will probably be a few homework assignments. Homework will constitute 15% of your grade. Late homework will be penalized substantially unless there is a legitimate, documented excuse.
Attendance and Class Participation: You are required to attend regularly and to participate in class discussion. Attendance and participation will constitute 10% of your grade. Philosophy is better done as a dialogue rather than a monologue-so please speak your mind in class!
Violations of university regulations concerning academic honesty will not be tolerated in this course. I will do my best to see to it that students caught cheating in this course are subjected to the most severe penalties consistent with university policies.
If you are a student with special needs, please do not hesitate to contact me for any necessary accommodations.