PHIL 1100 -- Ethics
Fall 2016
Prof. Chris Heathwood

University of Colorado Boulder

What We Did Each Day

(or plan to do)



Tu 8/23:  First day stuff: Introductions (especially concerning stuttering), roll, syllabus.

Th 8/25: 
What is Philosophy?  Logic: key concepts: statement, truth, argument, validity, soundness.  Validity exercises.  Worked on and collected QuestionnaireIf you didn't turn in the Questionnaire in class, you must turn it in tomorrow (Friday) in office hours, 9:00 - noon, Hellems 192.  If you weren't in class today to get a questionnaire, you'll need to print it out before you turn it in.


Tu 8/30: Logic: review of validity, soundness.  The three main areas of normative ethics.  The normative ethics of behavior.  The case of baby Theresa: our first clicker question!  Moral principles.  WKS, PGP, BP.  Fully general moral principles. 

Th 9/1:  Reading Quiz #1.  Fully general moral principles.  Moral theories.  The fundamental project of the normative ethics of behavior.  10C, GR, GHP.  Refuting moral theories.  Counterexamples.  Your Counterexamples to 10C.  Other problems for 10C: what it fails to forbid; conflicts between commandments.

Religion and Morality.  Review of Questionnaire question on God and Morality.  God and morality.  Divine Command Theory (DCT). 


Tu 9/6:  How do we know God's commands?  Disturbing Bible passages.  An alternative divine-command moral epistemology.  DCT and atheism.  Reasons to believe DCT.  Plato.  The Euthyphro.  Socrates' question.  Euthyphro Problem for DCT.  Horn 1 and Horn 2.  First problem with Horn 1 (what if God failed to prohibit something horrible?).

Th 9/8:  Reading Quiz #2.  Second problem with Horn 1 (arbitrariness).  The problem with Horn 2.  The Euthyphro Problem as a valid, line-by-line argument.  A famous theist who rejects the Divine Command Theory for these and related reasons.


Tu 9/13: 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. 

Th 9/15:   Reading Quiz #3.  Our statement of cultural relativism: CR.  CR and Tolerance.  An Argument from Tolerance for CR.  Two problems with that argument.  The Cultural Differences Argument for CR.  The general principle that P2 of Cultural Differences Argument seems to be based on.  Counterexamples to this principle.  A different kind of argument from cultural differences to conclusions about ethics.  The analogy with auras.  The Argument from Individual Difference to Nihilism about Auras.  The Argument from Cultural Differences to Nihilism in Ethics. Challenges to P1 of this Argument.



Tu 9/20:  Collected Homework #1.  A possible argument for the homework assignment.  The Gallup Poll, our views about it, and upshot of this for Cultural Relativism.  The Gallup Poll Argument.  The Appeals of Cultural Relativism.  How non-relativists or "objectivists" can (1) value tolerance, (2) have humility about our knowledge of right and wrong, and (3) accept that lots of morality is relative at a non-fundamental level.

Th 9/22:  Assigned First Paper.  Examples of uncontroversially wrong actions.  The Suffering Principle.  Counterexamples to the necessity claim in the SP.  John Stuart Mill.  A very famous passage. Difficulties in formulating Mill's theory.  Hedonic Utility.  Varieties of pleasure and pain.  Maximization.  Alternatives.  Our formulation of utilitarianism: AU.


Tu 9/27:  Our formulation of utilitarianism: AU.  Examples.  Important features of AU.  The "Lack of Time" Argument against AU.  Presenting, Explaining, and Evaluating Arguments.  Presenting, Explaining, and Evaluating the "Lack of Time" Argument against AU.

Th 9/29:  Reading Quiz #4.  Exercise on Giving Rationales for Premises using the "Lack of Time" Argument against AU.  Evaluating the Lack of Time Argument.  Mill on how to know what promotes human happiness. 


Tu 10/4:  The Organ Harvest Objection to AU.  The Trolley Problem and some possible solutions.  A Utilitarian Response to the Organ Harvest Argument.

Th 10/6:  Review for Midterm.


Tu 10/11:  Midterm Part 1.  Return Midterm Part 1.  More review.

Th 10/13:  Midterm Part 2.  BRING A BLUEBOOK!!!


Tu 10/18:  Returned and reviewed midterm.  Rights Theory.  Locke, Nozick.  Negative Rights.  Utilitarianism of Rights.  Utilitarianism of Rights and Organ Harvest.  Utilitarianism of Rights and Rescue.  The Theory of Rights as Side-Constraints.



Tu 10/25:  Why Some Philosophers Reject AU.  A Possible Antidote: Moral Rights.  A Possible Theory:"Utilitarianism of Rights".  Nozick's Alternative: Rights as Side-Constraints.  So what are our rights, according to Nozick?  Who has rights?  A right that Locke would add.  Implications: demandingness; abortion; animals.  Problems with Nozick's Theory.

Something many of our theories have had in common: monism.  W.D. Ross.  The Concept of a Prima Facie Duty.  The Promise/Accident example.  The Splinter example.

Th 10/27:  Reading Quiz #5.  Ross's List of Prima Facie Duties: (a) Fidelity; (b) Reparations; (c) Gratitude; (d) Justice; (e) Beneficence; (f) Self-Improvement; (g) Non-Maleficence.  How to apologize.  Rossian Pluralism (RP).  Applications of Rossian Pluralism.  How we know what maximizes p-f rightness over wrongness on Ross' view.  Ross' Argument from Promises against AU.


Tu 11/1:  Questionnaire results on slave reparations.  Polls on slave reparations.  Randall Robinson and His Thesis.  Preliminary Questions about Robinson's Thesis.  The Compensation Principle.  An Initial, Two-Part Puzzle,  African Americans in America, past and present.  Solving the Two-Part Puzzle: From Past Claimants to Present Claimants: the Harms Continue claim.

Th 11/3:  Reading Quiz #6.  Review.  From Past Debtor to Present Debtor and the Debts Continue claim.  Robinson's Argument for Slave Reparations.  The rationale for P2.  Some of your and Horowitz's objections and how Robinson might respond.


Tu 11/8:  Reading Quiz #7.  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 Imaginary Story: Fred's basement.  Norcross' Argument for Vegetarianism.  What is "factory farming"?

Th 11/10:  Questionnaire results: 14% of class thinks it's wrong to buy meat from conventional sources; 86% think this is ok.  Some of your reasons.  Extracto exercises all class.  Assigned Homework #2 (due Tuesday).


Tu 11/15: class cancelled due to illness

Th 11/17:  Collected Homework #2.  The Ben Franklin Argument.  Back to Norcross' Argument.  The Meatrix.  Arguments by Analogy and Objecting to the Parity Premise.  The Technique of Variant Cases.  Objections to P2 of Norcross' Argument for Vegetarianism.  First objection: health.    Second objection: direct vs. indirect harm.  Third objection: ignorance.  Second Paper Assignment.


Tu 11/29:  Collected Second Paper.  The importance of the question of the morality of abortion.  The questionnaire results.  Marquis' Main Thesis.  Marquis' Methodology.  The concept of a future like ours.  Marquis' Future-Like-Ours (FLO) Theory of the Wrongness of Killing.  Allegedly Attractive Implications of the FLO Theory.  A Fifth Implication of the FLO Theory.  Marquis' Main Argument.  Marquis' Main Argument: Not a religious argument.

Th 12/1:  Free Reading Quiz!  FCQs.  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.


Tu 12/6:  Review Day

Th 12/8:  Final Exam Part 1.  Return Final Exam Part 1.  More review.


M 12/12, 1:30 p.m.:  Final Exam Part 2.  BRING A BLUEBOOK!