PHIL 1100 -- Ethics
Spring 2012
Lecture: Mon, Wed 10:00-10:50
HLMS 199
Friday Recitations

Chris Heathwood
Office: HLMS 192
Hours: Mon 1:30-4:30, and by appointment

Teaching Assistant
Ashley Taylor
Office hours: Fri 11:00-12:30, and by appointment
Location: Buchanan's Coffee Pub
Recitation Sections: Fri 9-9:50 HLMS 241; Fri 10-10:50 ATLS 1B31

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, the trolley problem, vegetarianism, and abortion.

Course Website
The course website, which you should check regularly, can be found here:

Here you will find:

There will be no book! All readings are linked to below on the course schedule.  You will need a password to access some of the readings, which I will give you in lecture.  Although there is no book, you will need a clicker, which can be purchased at the CU Bookstore.  More on clickers below.

Lecture Slides
I will be using slides in lecture, which I will make available via links on the course schedule below.  But the availability of these slides is no substitute for good note-taking.  Many important details are not on the slides!

Class Mates
So that you will have someone from whom to get the notes (and any other pertinent info) should you miss class, introduce yourself to two of your classmates in recitation, and get their email addresses and phone numbers.

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, we will have a review day before each exam where we will take your questions about the study guide. You must come prepared for this review session by having written out answers to the 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 retake an earlier exam of your choosing.  The retake 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 retake exam, this won’t hurt you -- we will keep your original score.  Doing a retake exam is optional.

If you miss an exam during the semester, you will be permitted to take a makeup 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 retake exam as your makeup. If you must miss an exam, you need to let us know in advance.

Clicker Questions: Most lectures after the first week 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).  Occasionally, a student forgets his or her clicker, or the batteries die.  Thus, I give each student one free pass on clickers: the first time you miss clicking in, you will get the points anyway.  No free points after that, however.

Clicking in for an absent classmate is a form of cheating.  Cheating can earn you an F for the whole course.  See the Academic Integrity section below.

If you have not already done so, you need to register your clicker immediately.  Otherwise, I can't match your name to your clicker, and you won't be able to receive any clicker points.

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, the frequency and quality of your participation in class discussions, and your performance on reading quizzes and/or brief writing assignments.

Readings: One or two readings are assigned for most lectures.  Complete it in advance of the relevant lecture, and read each reading at least once.  You can find links to our readings on the course schedule below.  You will need a password to access some of the readings, which I will give you in lecture.

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

Participation (clickers, recitation)
25 points
Exam #1 25 points
Exam #2 25 points
Exam #3 25 points
100 points

Remember that you have the option of retaking one of the three exams (during finals week) to improve your score on it.

There are no "extra-credit" opportunities (with the exception of possible extra-credit questions on exams). So there's no need to ask if you can "do extra credit" to boost your grade.

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

88-89.5 B+ 78-79.5 C+ 68-69.5 D+

92.5-100 A 82.5-87.5 B 72.5-77.5 C 62.5-67.5 D 0-59.5
90-92 A– 80-82 B– 70-72 C– 60-62 D-

Course Schedule (subject to change)

Date Topic
(links below are to lecture slides)
(due on date listed; subject to change)
W1/18 Introductions, Syllabus  
  F 1/20 Recitation: Introductions, Syllabus.
M 1/23 Logic, Truth, Validity, Soundness Shafer-Landau, "Introduction" (15p)
W1/25 The Normative Ethics of Behavior Rachels, "What is Morality?" (13p)
  F 1/27 Recitation: logic exercises, necessary and sufficient conditions.
M 1/30 Religious Approaches to Ethics Mortimer, "Morality is Based on God's Commands" (3p)
W 2/1 The Euthyphro Problem Plato, from Euthyphro (5p)
  F 2/3 Recitation: CANCELED DUE TO SNOW
M 2/6
Sociological Approaches to Ethics
Benedict, "A Defense of Ethical Relativism" (6p)
Rachels, "Challenge of Cultural Relativism" (§§2.1-2.3)
W 2/8 Against Cultural Relativism Lewis, from Mere Christianity (6p)
Rachels, "Challenge of Cultural Relativism" (§§2.4-2.8)

  F 2/10 Recitation: Cultural Relativism; Euthyphro.
M 2/13 REVIEW FOR EXAM #1 (no clickers needed; do study guide in advance)
  W 2/15 EXAM #1 - Beginning Theories in the Normative Ethics of Behavior
M 2/20 More Moral Principles 10. Mill, from Utilitarianism (8p)

W 2/22 What is Act Utilitarianism? 11. Feldman, "What is Act Utilitarianism?" (13p)
F 2/24 Recitation: return and review Exam #1; Mill Extracto.
M 2/27 Understanding Utilitarianism 12. Feldman, "Act Utilitarianism: Pro and Con" (36-41) (6p)
W 2/29 Against Utilitarianism 13. Rachels, "The Debate Over Utilitarianism" (14p)
  F 3/2 Recitation: Extracto assignment due; objections to AU; Rule Utilitarianism.

M 3/5 Kant's Categorical Imperative 14. Kant, from Groundwork for the Metaphysic of Morals (6p)
15. Feldman, "Kant" (up to p. 106) (10p)
W 3/7 Problems for Kant 16. Feldman, "Kant," rest (11p)
  F 3/9 Recitation: Kant; Rule Utilitarianism.
M 3/12 Ross's Theory of Prima Facie Duties 17. Ross, "What Makes Right Acts Right?" (see first page of reading for what to read and what to skip)
W 3/14 Ross vs. Utilitarianism 18. re-read the paragraph in Ross on pp. 34-35.

F 3/16 Recitation: Deontology vs. Utilitarianism.
M 3/19 REVIEW FOR EXAM #2 (no clickers needed; do study guide in advance)
  W 3/21 EXAM #2 - Utilitarianism and Deontology
S  P  R  I  N  G     B  R  E  A  K
M 4/2 Doctrine of Double Effect,
Doctrine of Doing and Allowing
20. Foot, "Abortion and the Doctrine of Double Effect" (11p)

W 4/4 The Trolley Problem 21. Thomson, "Killing, Letting Die, & the Trolley Problem" (14p)
  F 4/6 Recitation: return and review Exam #2; the Trolley Problem.
M 4/9 Vegetarianism 22. Norcross, "Puppies, Pigs, and People" (1-2) (7p)
W4/11 Vegetarianism 23. New York Times Contest (also read some of the "Comments" for some sample arguments for why it's ethical to eat meat)

F 4/13 Recitation: vegetarianism; why be moral?
M 4/16 Marquis on Abortion 24. Marquis, "Why Abortion is Immoral" (20p)

W 4/18 Evaluating Marquis' Argument 25. Paske, "Abortion and the Neo-Natal Right to Life" (7p)
F 4/20 Recitation: Marquis on abortion.
M 4/23 Thomson on Abortion
26. Thomson, "A Defense of Abortion" (§§1-3) (10p)

W 4/25 Evaluating Thomson's Argument
27. Thomson, "A Defense of Abortion" (rest) (10)
  F 4/27 Recitation: FCQ's; Thomson on Abortion.
M 4/30 REVIEW FOR EXAM #3 (no clickers needed; do study guide in advance)

W 5/2 EXAM #3 - Moral Problems and Practical Ethics

F 5/4
M 5/7 Exam 3 score notification by midday;
Ashley's office hours: 2-4. (Heathwood's the same: 1:30-4:30.)
Tu 5/8 OPTIONAL RETAKE EXAM, 4:30 p.m., HLMS 199

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 (; 303-735-2273). 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. I take cheating very seriously.

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 can be addressed. Disability Services determines accommodations based on documented disabilities. Contact: 303-492-8671, Center for Community, N200, 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 address 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, color, culture, religion, creed, politics, veteran's status, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, and gender expression, age, disability, 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 your 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 Discrimination and Harassment Policy and Procedures, the University of Colorado Sexual Harassment Policy and Procedures, and the University of Colorado Conflict of Interest in Cases of Amorous Relationships Policy apply to all students, staff, and faculty. Any student, staff, or faculty member who believes s/he has been the subject of sexual harassment or discrimination or harassment based upon race, color, national origin, sex, age, disability, creed, religion, sexual orientation, or veteran status should contact the Office of Discrimination and Harassment (ODH) at 303-492-2127, or the Office of Student Conduct (OSC) 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