PHIL 1100 -- Ethics
Fall 2014
Prof. Chris Heathwood

University of Colorado Boulder

What We Did Each Day

(or plan to do)



M 8/25: First day stuff: Introductions (especially concerning stuttering), roll.

W 8/27: Syllabus review. Distributed Questionnaire (due Friday).

F 8/29: Collected Questionnaire. What is Philosophy? What is ethics? Logic: statements, truth, validity. Validity exercises.



M 9/1: No class: Labor Day.

W 9/3: Questionnaire results. Logic: reviewed definitions; introduced 'soundness'.

F 9/5: The three main areas of normative ethics. The normative ethics of behavior. Moral principles. WKS, PGP, BP. The case of baby Theresa. Fully general moral principles. Moral theories. The fundamental project of the normative ethics of behavior. 10C, GR, GHP.



M 9/8: Refuting moral theories. Counterexamples. 10C clarified. Three arguments against 10C. God and morality. Divine Command Theory (DCT). How do we know God's commands? Disturbing Bible passages. An alternative divine-command-theoretic moral epistemology. DCT and atheism: our first clicker question!

W 9/10: Had Pop Quiz #1. DCT and atheism. Reasons to believe DCT. Plato. The Euthyphro. Socrates' question.

F 9/12: Euthyphro Problem for DCT. Horn 1 and Horn 2. Two problems with Horn 1. The problem with Horn 2. The Euthyphro Problem as a valid, line-by-line argument.



M 9/15: Examples of differences in moral beliefs and practices between cultures. Some Common Claims of Cultural Relativists according to Rachels. Group exercise to find internal inconsistencies in these claims. Our statement of cultural relativism: CR. Poll on CR: about 2/3 of the class thinks it (or something in the neighborhood) is probably the correct moral theory.

W 9/17: Pop Quiz #2. The Cultural Differences Argument for CR. The general principle that P2 of Cultural Differences Argument seems to be based on. A counterexample to this principle. CR and Tolerance. An Argument from Tolerance for CR. Two problems with that argument.

F 9/19: C.S. Lewis recording. Arguing Against a Moral Theory. The Reformer's Dilemma.



M 9/22: Assigned First Paper Assignment (due this Friday). The Moral Methodology Argument against CR.

W 9/24: Pop Quiz #3. Re-boot of Moral Methodology Argument (this time with cloning). CR and the Problems for Horn 1 of DCT. Lessons to Learn from Cultural Differences. More moral principles. The Playing God Principle. The minding-business principle. The societal ruin principle. Examples of uncontroversially wrong actions. The Suffering Principle.

F 9/26: Collected First Paper Assignment. Examples of uncontroversially wrong actions. The Suffering Principle. Counterexamples to it. John Stuart Mill. A very famous passage. Difficulties in formulating Mill's theory. Hedonic Utility. Varieties of pleasure.



M 9/29:  Returned and Discussed First Paper (median grade was a 42 out of 50).  Discussed upcoming midterm.  Review of difficulties in formulating Mill's theory.  Hedonic Utility.  Varieties of pleasure and pain.  Maximization.  Alternatives.  Our formulation of utilitarianism: AU.  Examples.  Important features of AU.

W 10/1:  Had Reading Quiz #4.  On AU, do "the ends justify the means?"  Consequentialism (C), Hedonism (H), and Utilitarianism (C+H). Of any objection to U, ask whether it's an objection to C or to H.  The "Lack of Time" Argument against AU.  Presenting, Explaining, and Evaluating Arguments.  Presenting, Explaining, and Evaluating the "Lack of Time" Argument against AU.

F 10/3:  Had Reading Quiz #5.  The Organ Harvest Objection to AU.



M 10/6: Review for Midterm Part 1

W 10/8: Midterm Part 1

F 10/10: Return and go over Midterm Part 1.  Review for Midterm Part 2.



M 10/13: Midterm Part 2

W 10/15: Return and go over Midterm Part 2. Start Kant's moral theory.  Kant the person.  Kant's Categorical Imperative.  KCI.

F 10/17: Had Reading Quiz #6.  KCI.  Maxims.  Universalizability.  Examples: Income Tax, Recycling, Voting.



M 10/20: Problems for KCI: (1) the Problem of Innocent-but-Non-Universalizable Maxims, and (2) the Problem of Subjectivism.

W 10/22: Something all our theories have had in common.  W.D. Ross.  The Concept of a Prima Facie Duty.  The Promise/Accident example.  The Splinter example.  Ross List of Prima Facie Duties: (a) Fidelity; (b) Reparations; (c) Gratitude; (d) Justice; (e) Beneficence; (f) Self-Improvement; (g) Non-Maleficence.

F 10/24: Had Reading Quiz #7. Reviewed Ross' "7 Commandments." Learned how to apologize. Stated Rossian Pluralism.



M 10/27: Detailed applications of Rossian Pluralism.  Ross' Argument from Promises against AU.

W 10/29: The Doctrine of Double Effect (DDE).  Intending vs. Merely Foreseeing.  An Inference to the Best Explanation for believing the DDE from two cases: Magistrate and Driver.  How the DDE is supposed to explain our views about Magistrate and Driver.

F 10/31: Had Reading Quiz #8.  The Doctrine of Doing and Allowing (DDA).  Negative vs. Positive Duties.  Foot's formulation of DDA.  DDA and the earlier cases.  The Trolley Problem.



M 11/3: Practical Ethics.  Some real news stories: Brothers Get 10 Years for Cooking Puppy in Oven; Former CU student convicted of taping dog to fridge; In Thailand, Tracking the Dog Trade.  An explanation for why what is done to the dogs in Thailand is wrong: it causes serious harm, suffering, and death for only trivial benefits.  An Imaginary Story: Fred's basement.  Some possibly morally relevant differences between Fred's behavior and buying factory-raised meat: (1) Ignorance; (2) Intending the harm vs. the harm being a mere side-effect; (3) Harming directly vs. indirectly; (4) Dogs are different.

W 11/5: Norcross' Argument for Vegetarianism. The Significance of the Conclusion. What is "factory farming"?  Objecting to P2 and the Technique of Variant Cases.  Other morally relevant differences between Fred's behavior and buying factory-raised meat: (5) Causal Impotence.  Announced Homework Assignment due Friday.

F 11/7: Collected Homework (which will substitute for a quiz).  Ben Franklin's Argument.  Counterexamples to Ben Franklin's Principle.  Other Criticisms of Ben Franklin's Argument.  Another argument for the permissibility of eating meat: the long-standing practices argument.  A sixth potentially morally relevant difference between Fred's behavior and buying factory-raised meat: (6) Health.  Response to this. 



M 11/10: Had Reading Quiz #10. The importance of the question of the morality of abortion.  Marquis' Main Thesis.  Marquis' Methodology.  Marquis' Future-Like-Ours (FLO) Theory of the Wrongness of Killing.  Discussion of that theory.

W 11/12: Discussed Second Paper and Philosophy Paper FAQ. Allegedly Attractive Implications of the FLO Theory.  A Fifth Implication of the FLO Theory.  Marquis' Main Argument.  Marquis' Main Argument: Not a religious argument.  Discussed the question of whether Marquis' view would forbid very early abortions and how this depends on the question, When did I start existing?, and how that depends on some facts about embryology.  The "Failure to Conceive" Objection.

F 11/14: Some interesting facts about abortion and Christianity.  "What if the woman/couple simply isn't ready to have a child?"  Replies to this.  Paske's Personhood Theory of the Wrongness of Killing.  Definitions of 'person' and 'human'.  Examples of persons and non-persons.  Paske's "Cat Person" Objection to Marquis' FLO Theory.  Paske's Personhood Theory vs. Marquis' FLO Theory.



M 11/17: The Standard Anti-Abortion Argument. The standard way for defenders of abortion to reply. Thomson's way of replying. Thomson's Counterexample to P2 of the Standard Anti-Abortion Argument. Thomson's Positive Argument.

W 11/19: Three potentially morally relevant differences between Famous Violinist and Typical Unwanted Pregnancy: (1) Different relationship: TUP: mother-child; FV: stranger-stranger. (2) Different Burdens: burden(FV) > burden(TUP). (3) Responsibility: FV: you are in no way responsible for the fact that there is this person attached to you who needs to use your body for life support; TUP: the woman is partly responsible for the fact that there is this person attached to her who needs to use her body for life support. Discussion of Responsibility Objection. Variant case: Hunting Accident. Hunting Accident vs. Famous Violinist vs. Typical Unwanted Pregnancy. A potentially morally relevant difference between Hunting Accident and Typical Unwanted Pregnancy.

F 11/21: Reading Quiz #11. Detailed discussion of Responsibility Objection. Final thoughts on abortion.



M 12/1: Slave Reparations (guest lecture by Prof. David Boonin).  Slave reparations: who supposedly owes?, owes for what?, owes what?  Horowitz' Challenge.  First strategy: Principle of Unjust Enrichment.  Argument by Analogy from Stolen Painting.  Second strategy: Compensation Principle.  Four steps for second strategy: (i) Compensation Principle; (ii) Historical Claim; (iii) the Causal Claim; (step (iv) next time).  Returned and reviewed Second Paper.  Assigned Homework Assignment, due tomorrow: email Prof. Boonin (, Alex, and me and tell us what you think are the three strongest objections to slave reparations made by Horowitz; you can just say which numbers (e.g., "2, 5, and 8").

W 12/3: Slave Reparations (guest lecture by Prof. David Boonin).  Four steps for the Compensation Argument: (i) the Compensation Principle; (ii) Historical Claim; (iii) the Causal Claim; (iv) the Surviving Public Obligation Principle (SPOP).  In defense of the SPOP: NATO Analogy; Japanese Internment.  Horowitz' objections: Obj. 1, Obj. 3, Obj. 7.  If you'd like to think more about slave reparations as well as other applied ethical issues on race, check out Prof. Boonin's book Should Race Matter?: Unusual Answers to the Usual Questions.

F 12/5: Free Quiz.  FCQ's.  Giving Game.



M 12/8: Review for Final Exam.

W 12/10: Final Exam Part 1.

F 12/12: Return and Review Final Exam Part 1.  More Review, for Part 2.

Su 12/14, 7:30 p.m.: Final Exam Part 2.  BRING A BLUEBOOK!!!