PHIL 1100 -- Ethics
Fall 2011
MW 9:00-9:50

Chris Heathwood
Office: Hellems 192
Hours: W 11:00-2:00

Teaching Assistants

TA Recitation Sections (Fridays) Office Hours and Location Email
Annaleigh Curtis 104 (9am) and 105 (10am) M 10-12, Buchanan's
Rebecca Renninger 101 (8am) and 102 (9am) M 10-12, Buchanan's
Jonathan Spelman 103 (9am) and 107 (8am) MF 10-11:45, Hellems 15

Each of us is also available by appointment.

Course Description
This course provides an introduction to ethics by way of a study of doctrines and arguments in two areas of moral philosophy: the normative ethics of behavior (the theory of right and wrong), and practical ethics. Our goals are to understand some important theories and positions in these areas, to understand and evaluate important arguments for and against these views, to develop the ability to extract, explain, and evaluate arguments from philosophical texts, and to come to our own reasoned views on these topics.  The topics will include divine command theory, cultural relativism, utilitarianism, deontology, animal rights, abortion, and world poverty.

There will be no book! All readings will be provided in pdf form on our Desire2Learn (D2L) site.

You will, however, need to have a Clicker, which can be purchased at the CU Bookstore. More on Clickers below.

I will be using Keynote slides in lecture, which I will make available on our D2L site.  But the availability of these slides is no substitute for good note-taking.  Most details are not on the slides!

Course Requirements
Exams: There will be three exams during the semester, one for each unit of the course (see below for dates). These will be in-class, short-answer exams. To help you prepare, and to give you an idea about the sorts of questions you can expect, a study guide will be made available before each exam. Furthermore, the recitation section before each exam will be devoted to reviewing the study guide (though you must come prepared for this review session by having written out answers to questions on the study guide).

During our assigned final exam slot (see below for date and time), instead of a having a final exam, you will have the opportunity to take over an earlier exam of your choosing. The take-over exam won’t have the same questions as the original exam, but it will cover the same material (and the same study guide will apply). If you don’t improve your score on the take-over exam, this won’t hurt you -- we will keep your original score. Doing a take-over exam is optional.

If you miss an exam during the semester, you will be permitted to take a make-up exam only if you have a legitimate, documented excuse (e.g., non-trivial illness, death in the family, religious obligation). Otherwise, you can use the take-over day to make-up your exam. If you must miss an exam, you need to let us know in advance.

Papers: There will be three fairly short paper assignments.  The first two will require you to accomplish some pre-defined goal, while the third will allow you to defend your own view on one of our topics.

Clicker Questions: Most lectures after week 1 will feature clicker questions.  You answer them using your "i-clicker" device, which you can purchase at the bookstore.  You will receive credit simply for participating in the clicker questions (i.e., you don't need to get the right answer to get the points).  Each student is allowed two, and only two, "free passes" for forgotten clickers or dead batteries.  Just talk to one of us after class, assure us that you were there, and explain to us your clicker problem.  But you need to do this in person after class -- not by email.

Recitation Sections: You are required to attend and participate in recitation sections.  Your TA will assign you a grade for this, with an eye to your attendance and to the frequency and quality of your participation in discussions.

Readings: A reading is assigned for every lecture.  Complete it in advance of the relevant lecture, and read each reading at least once.  They will be available as pdf's on our course's Desire2Learn site.

Your final grade for the course is determined according to the following scheme:

Participation (clickers, recitation)
30 points
Paper #1
15 points
Exam #1 40 points
Paper #2 15 points
Exam #2 40 points
Paper #3 20 points
Exam #3 40 points
200 points

Remember that you can take over one of the three exams (during finals week) to improve your score on it.

We will use a standard "non-curved" grading scale, as follows:

175-179 B+ 155-159 C+ 135-139 D+

185-200 A 165-174 B 145-154 C 120-134 D 0-119
180-184 A– 160-164 B– 140-144 C– 120-134 D-

Course Schedule (subject to change)

Date Topic Readings (due on date listed; subject to change)
M 8/22 First Day Stuff, Philosophy, Ethics  

W 8/24 Logic, Truth, Validity, Soundness 1. Shafer-Landau, "Introduction" (15p)
M 8/29 The Normative Ethics of Behavior 2. Rachels, "What is Morality?" (13p)

W 8/31 Religious Approaches to Ethics 3. Mortimer, "Morality is Based on God's Commands" (3p)

W 9/7
The Euthyphro Problem
4. Plato, from Euthyphro (5p)
5. Timmons, "Does Morality Depend on God's Commands?" (9p)
M 9/12 Sociological Approaches to Ethics 6. Benedict, "A Defense of Ethical Relativism" (6p)
7. Rachels, "The Challenge of Cultural Relativism" (16-21)

W 9/14 Against Cultural Relativism 8. Lewis, from Mere Christianity (6p)
9. Rachels, "The Challenge of Cultural Relativism" (rest)
  F 9/16 First Paper Due (in recitation)
M 9/19 EXAM #1 - Beginning Theories in the Normative Ethics of Behavior

W 9/21 Doing Moral Philosophy 10. Mill, from Utilitarianism (8p)
M 9/26 Utilitarianism 11. Feldman, "What is Act Utilitarianism?" (13p)

W 9/28 Understanding Utilitarianism 12. Feldman, "Act Utilitarianism: Arguments Pro and Con" (36-41) (6p)
M 10/3 Against Utilitarianism 13. Rachels, "The Debate Over Utilitarianism" (14p)

W 10/5 Kant 14. Kant, from Groundwork for the Metaphysic of Morals (6p)
15. Feldman, "Kant" (up to p. 106) (10p)
M 10/10 Problems for Kant 16. Feldman, "Kant," rest (11p)

W 10/12 Deontology 17. McNaughton and Rawling, "Deontology," (2p)
M 10/17 Ross's Theory of Prima Facie Duties 18. Ross, "What Makes Right Acts Right?" (15p)

W 10/19 The Duty of Fidelity 19. Sidgwick, from Methods of Ethics
  F 10/21 Second Paper Due (in recitation)
M 10/24 Doctrine of Double Effect 20. Foot, "The Problem of Abortion and the Doctrine of Double Effect" (11p)

W 10/26 Killing vs. Letting Die 21. Thomson, "Killing, Letting Die, and the Trolley Problem" (14p)
M 10/31 EXAM #2 - Utilitarianism, Deontology

W 11/2 Treatment of Animals 22. Norcross, "Puppies, Pigs, and People" (7p)
M 11/7 Treatment of Animals 23. Cohen, "The Case for the Use of Animals in Biomedical Research" (5p)

W 11/9 Abortion 24. Marquis, "Why Abortion is Immoral"
M 11/14 Abortion 25. Paske, "Abortion and the Neo-Natal Right to Life"

W 11/16 Abortion 26. Thomson, "A Defense of Abortion"
M 11/28 World Poverty
27. Singer, "Famine, Affluence, and Morality"

W 11/30 World Poverty
28. Arthur, "World Hunger and Moral Obligation"
M 12/5 Course Wrap-Up, FCQ's 29. Wolf, "Moral Saints"

W 12/7 EXAM #3 - Practical Ethics
  F 12/9 Third Paper Due (in recitation)
W 12/14 OPTIONAL TAKE-OVER EXAM, 7:30 p.m., MCOL W100


Academic Integrity
All students of the University of Colorado at Boulder are responsible for knowing and adhering to the academic integrity policy of this institution. Violations of this policy may include: cheating, plagiarism, aid of academic dishonesty, fabrication, lying, bribery, and threatening behavior.  All incidents of academic misconduct shall be reported to the Honor Code Council (; 303-725-2273). Students who are found to be in violation of the academic integrity policy will be subject to both academic sanctions from the faculty member and non-academic sanctions (including but not limited to university probation, suspension, or expulsion). Other information on the Honor Code can be found at and at

Anyone caught violating the academic integrity policy (in any way) will automatically receive an F for this course, and may be subject to expulsion from the university.

Disability Services
If you qualify for accommodations because of a disability, please submit to me a letter from Disability Services in a timely manner so that your needs be addressed. Disability Services determines accommodations based on documented disabilities. Contact: 303-492-8671, Willard 322, and

Religious Observances
Campus policy regarding religious observances requires that faculty make every effort to reasonably and fairly deal with all students who, because of religious obligations, have conflicts with scheduled exams, assignments, or required attendance.  Please let me know well in advance about any such conflicts, so we can resolve them.  For more information about the university’s policies on these matters, see

Classroom Behavior
Students and faculty each have responsibility for maintaining an appropriate learning environment. Those who fail to adhere to such behavioral standards may be subject to discipline. Professional courtesy and sensitivity are especially important with respect to individuals and topics dealing with differences of race, culture, religion, politics, sexual orientation, gender, gender variance, and nationalities. Class rosters are provided to the instructor with the student's legal name. I will gladly honor your request to address you by an alternate name or gender pronoun. Please advise me of this preference early in the semester so that I may make appropriate changes to my records. See policies at and at

Texting: Please don't text in class.  It's best if you just turn you cell phone off before class.  If you simply must communicate with someone during class time, please step outside to do so.

Laptops: You may use a laptop computer in class to take notes or to reference class readings.  But please don't browse the internet during class.  It's distracting to everyone sitting behind youIf it becomes a problem, I'll ask those using computers to sit in the back row.

Discrimination and Harassment
The University of Colorado at Boulder policy on Discrimination and Harassment, the University of Colorado policy on Sexual Harassment and the University of Colorado policy on Amorous Relationships apply to all students, staff, and faculty.  Any student, staff, or faculty member who believes s/he has been the subject of discrimination or harassment based upon race, color, national origin, sex, age, disability, religion, sexual orientation, or veteran status should contact the Office of Discrimination and Harassment (ODH) at 303-492-2127 or the Office of Judicial Affairs at 303-492-5550. Information about the ODH, the above referenced policies, and the campus resources available to assist individuals regarding discrimination or harassment can be obtained at