PHIL 1200 -- Philosophy and Society
Summer 2010


Chris Heathwood    
Email: send me mail through CULearn for this course
Virtual "Office Hours": by appointment, using CULearn's Chat function. Feel free to send me an unsolicited chat if you see me online.

Chad Vance
Email: also through CULearn
Chad's main role is to assist with grading, but you can also ask him questions and send him Chats if you see him online.  Chad will also participate in our our threaded discussions.

Course Description
This online course offers an introduction to and examination of some important and relevant topics in applied ethics, in particular, abortion, animal rights, world poverty, organ selling, and human cloning.  In each case, we will consider important positions on the topic and arguments for and against these positions.  Each of the topics above corresponds to a "Unit" or "Learning Module" of the course.

The course aims to help you think more carefully and critically about these issues, and to come to more responsible views about them.  These issues are not only interesting in their own right, they are important: they are relevant to what the law should be, how you should vote, which political campaigns you support, and what sort of general moral and political outlook you adopt.

One book is required:

David Boonin and Graham Oddie (eds.), What’s Wrong?: Applied Ethicists and Their Critics, Second Edition (Oxford University Press, 2009).  ISBN: 0195337808.

It is available at the CU Bookstore.  Other readings will be made available on the course website.

Course Requirements
Exams: There will be two exams: a midterm exam and a final exam.  Both will be "take home" exams -- open note, open book, and open "lecture."  Each exam will contain a variety of short answer questions.  The midterm exam is due on Wednesday, July 21 and the final exam is due on Friday, August 6 (the last day of class).  The exams will be made available at least 24 hours in advance. Late exams will be penalized unless you have a legitimate, documented excuse.

Papers: Two short (2-4 page) papers are required.  The paper will give you a chance to explain and defend your own ideas concerning one of the topics discussed in the class.  The first paper is due Thursday, July 15 and the second paper is due Friday, July 30.  Late papers will be penalized unless you have a legitimate, documented excuse.  See the Papers document for more details and guidelines about the papers.

Quizzes: For each reading, there will be a short quiz designed to test that you have read it and understood it.  Another purpose of the quizzes is to keep you connected to the course, so that you don't fall behind (which can happen easily in an accelerated online course) or drift off completely.  The quizzes will contain multiple choice and true-false quesitons.  They are open-note and open-book, but not open-classmate: you must take these quizzes on your own.  The quizzes will take place quite frequently.  Each Learning Module of the course will contain the quizzes required in that module.  Quizzes are always due in by 11:59 p.m. on the day they are due, and will generally be made available 48 hours before they are due.

Discussion: You are required to participate in our threaded discussions on the course website.  Here you will be graded on the quality and frequency of your contributions.  See the Discussions document for details.

The above four requirements directly determine your grade for the course.  There are two additional course requirements, your performance on which will indirectly influence your grade:

Readings: A reading is assigned for most days of the course.  Complete these readings on time, and read each one at least once.  The quizzes are designed to test that you are doing and understanding these readings.  See the Course Schedule for the reading assignments.  Most of them are from our book, but some are available as pdf's on the website.

Lectures: For each of the seven units of the course, there will be a lecture.  This lecture contains more or less the material I would present in class meetings if this were a conventional course.  For this course, you read these lectures.  I have made every effort to make them very clear and accessible.  The midterm and final exams will pull from these lectures more than they will pull from the readings.  The Course Schedule tells you which parts of which lectures you should read by when.  You can find these lectures under the "Learning Modules" on the course website.  Each Learning Module also has a link on the course homepage.

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

100 points (50 points for each exam)
100 points  (50 points for each paper)
100 points
100 points
400 points

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

350-359 B+ 310-319 C+ 270-279 D+

370-400 A 330-349 B 290-309 C 250-269
D 0-119
360-369 A– 320-329 B– 280-289 C– 240-249

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

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