Friday, December 05, 2014

Study guide for final quiz



Study guide for final quiz 

This study guide presents the various topics and readings for the final quiz. Your job, of course, is to be able to show that you understand the many theories and arguments and responses to these arguments.

ABORTION

Our last quiz covered the divine command theory from the Rachels chapter on morality and religion, so there will be no questions about that. But there was discussion of abortion in that chapter that you should be familiar with.

We introduced the issue with this page:

We reviewed many arguments using this:

Here is a PowerPoint on abortion:

We discussed a view on what persons are, or what personhood is, that is similar to a view presented by Mary Anne Warren in an article (from RTD and widely available online):
“On the Moral and Legal Status of Abortion”;

We discussed Don Marquis’s main argument in his article “Why Abortion is Immoral” (from RTD and widely available online):
  • Fetuses are not persons. But killing fetuses is PF wrong nevertheless.

Marquis argues that it is prima facie wrong to kill us because killing us deprives us of our valuable futures

1.      Any action that deprives X of X’s valuable futures is prima facie wrong.
2.      Abortion deprives fetuses of their valuable futures.
3.      Therefore, abortion is PF wrong.

We also discussed Judith Thompson’s “A Defense of Abortion” article, featuring the Famous Violinist, Henry Fonda, burglars and People Seeds examples (from RTD and widely available online):
Among other issues, the violinist example is designed to show something about the right to life. What was that, and how does that relate to abortion?

Here is a shortened version of that article:


ETHICAL EGOISM AND POVERTY:

The Rachels chapter on Ethical Egoism (and poverty)
 
Please read "The Singer Solution to World Poverty," from the NY Times, and in The Right Thing to Do, and/or "Famine, Affluence and Morality"

We watched some videos by Peter Singer:

 
UTILITARIANISM AND ITS APPLICATION TO ANIMALS AND DRUGS

Chapters on Utilitarianism in EMP. The first chapter introduced the theory and applied it to some moral problems (treatment of animals, drug use, euthanasia [however, we didn’t discuss this topic]). The second chapter discussed some theoretical challenges to the theory.

Please read John Simmon's "Reasonable Humans and Animals" (also, here)
Please read Peter Singer's "All Animals Are Equal" (also in RTD)

And Michael Huemer's "Unjust Drug War" (also in RTD)

OVERALL
Finally, general reflections on the overall methods we’ve used in this class.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Final Reading and Writing Assignments

Final Reading Assignments
Please read the Elements of Moral Philosophy chapters on

Ethical Egoism (and poverty) and
the
two chapters on Utilitarianism (euthanasia, drug use, treatment of animals).

Please read "The Singer Solution to World Poverty," from the NY Times, and in The Right Thing to Do, and/or "Famine, Affluence and Morality"

Please read John Simmon's "Reasonable Humans and Animals" (also, here)
Please read Peter Singer's "All Animals Are Equal" (also in RTD)

And, finally, Michael Huemer's "Unjust Drug War" (also in RTD)

Final Writing Assignments

1. Final Quiz, covering all materials since last quiz. For time, see the exam schedule.

2. Philosophical Service Project - a group project. Due Sunday, December 14th at 5 PM via Turnitin. No late work accepted. Every member of the group must submit his own project.

3. An argumentative paper, either on Effective Altruism OR vegetarianism. Or both, with one for extra credit. Due Sunday, December 14th at 5 PM via Turnitin. No late work accepted.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Final Reading Assignments

Please read the Elements of Moral Philosophy chapters on

Ethical Egoism (and poverty) and
the
two chapters on Utilitarianism (euthanasia, drug use, treatment of animals).

Please read "The Singer Solution to World Poverty," from the NY Times, and in The Right Thing to Do, and/or "Famine, Affluence and Morality"

Please read John Simmon's "Reasonable Humans and Animals" (also, here)
Please read Peter Singer's "All Animals Are Equal" (also in RTD)

And, finally, Michael Huemer's "Unjust Drug War" (also in RTD)

Friday, November 14, 2014

Personhood:
Mary Anne Warren on abortion:
“On the Moral and Legal Status of Abortion”;
John Locke..

If X is not a person, then X is permissible to kill or DESTROY. ???

Don Marquis:
“Why Abortion is Immoral”
  • Fetuses are not persons. But killing fetuses is PF wrong nevertheless.

It is prima facie wrong to kill me because:
  • Killing us deprives us of our valuable futures. 
  •  
Any action that deprives us of our valuable futures is prima facie wrong.
Abortion deprives fetuses of their valuable futures.
So, just like it’s wrong to kill us,
it’s wrong to kill fetuses.
Therefore, abortion is PF wrong.


Thompson: see below

Monday, November 10, 2014

Fetal Development, Consciousness & Pain

Fetal development - a chart

An article:


Scientific research suggests that fetuses lack consciousness or sentience prior to, at the earliest, 18 weeks of development and about 99% of abortions in the United States are performed well before this time, most abortions in the United States kill beings—call them early fetuses—that are yet to have minds (Benatar and Benatar, 2001, 57, 63, 75; DeGrazia, 2005, 279; McMahan, 2002, 257). 

Friday, November 07, 2014

For Monday, please read this article, "A Defense of Abortion" by Judith Thompson:

Also, in the RTD book:

CORRECTED LINK:

Also read by this article by Dr. Nobis and a former student in Intro to Ethics:



Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Quiz 2

Quiz 2, covering everything in and related to EMP Ch. 2, 3 and 4 [BUT NOT ABORTION, FROM EMP 4], will be on Monday Oct. 27.

A detailed study guide will be due that day also, via Turnitin.

Some questions, concerning materials from Rachels and class discussion:

- What is the moral theory 'cultural relativism'?
- What is the moral theory 'the divine command theory'?
-  What is the theory 'simple subjectivism'?
- What is the theory 'emotivism'?

For each theory above, what are the arguments that the theory is true? What are the arguments that the theory is false? Given your understanding of the theory and the various arguments, is the theory true or false?
Practical issues:

- What is female genital mutilation?
- What is homosexuality? What might someone mean if they say that 'homosexuality is wrong'?

For each practice, action and/or "lifestyle" above, what are the arguments that it is is morally permissible? What are the arguments that the it is wrong? State these arguments in logically valid form.
Given your understanding of the practice and the various arguments, is the action morally permissible or not, and why?
NOTE: ABORTION WILL NOT BE ON THIS QUIZ.

General techniques: making arguments logically valid; stating arguments as syllogisms.

EMP Chapters 2 and 3 are available here, in case this is useful for anyone:
http://highered.mheducation.com/sites/0078038243/information_center_view0/sample_chapters.html

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Extra Credit event at Agnes Scott College

Please see the attached flyer for the Wednesday Oct. 22 ethics program lecture by Shelly Kagan, Yale University. Campbell Hall, Room 128. Agnes Scott College

If you go, you must be there on time and write up a detailed summary and reaction that you submit to Dr. Nobis. 


Group project assignment 1

Group project assignment 1

Due Wednesday October 22, by class time. Submitted by Turnitin. 

Common Arguments on Homosexuality “Mad Libs” Worksheet, available here:


http://aphilosopher.googlepages.com/homosexuality-arguments.doc



http://aphilosopher.googlepages.com/homosexuality-arguments.pdf


The purpose for this assignment is for you to construct a online teaching tool to help people better find and evaluate moral arguments and then apply this guidance to the issue of homosexuality. (Your teaching tool can, and probably will, be used with other issues later in the semester ). Create your own group of 2 or 3 students. Create a webpage or blog (on Blogger, Wordpress, Google Sites, wherever) where you present and evaluate at least five arguments for the conclusion that homosexuality is wrong.

You must also explain the methods that you will use to evaluate these arguments, in terms of finding conclusions, finding premises, making the arguments valid and identifying whether the arguments are sound or not (including using counterexamples to try to argument that general moral premises are false). That is, you must explain *how* someone would think about moral issues and explain the methods that we’ve used in this class.

On your page(s), you must:
- Identify what you mean by the claim that 'homosexuality is wrong'; this might be different for different arguments.
- Identify at least five arguments for that conclusion: pick arguments that you think are interesting, common and/or influential.
- State these arguments in logically valid form. 
For each argument, explain whether each premise is true or false and so whether the argument is sound or not.

Your webpage/blog should have an introduction and a conclusion and so forth.
Please email Dr. Nobis the URL, post a link to your page on the blog (below this post) and upload a cut and paste of the text from your teaching tool with the link to Turnitin. Make it very, very clear who is part of your group. Each student must submit, for himself, the text from the blog. 

You may want to re-read this article by James Pryor, "Guidelines on writing a philosophy paper": http://www.jimpryor.net/teaching/guidelines/writing.html 

Questions about your webpage:
1. Did you produce a teaching tool? That is, could someone look at your webpage and learn how to be better identify and evaluate moral arguments? Does your page have a section where you explain the methods and skills involved in doing this?
2. Do your page have some kind of introduction?
3. Does it have some kind of conclusion?
4. Is the writing grammatically correct? Does the page look elegant and smooth (as opposed to clunky and awkward)?

Did you do everything in the initial assignment?

Monday, October 06, 2014

New Assignments

TWO READING AND WRITING ASSIGNMENTS DUE NEXT MONDAY, 10/6/14, BY CLASSTIME, VIA TURNITIN

1.
Detailed, *DETAILED* summary or outline of this paper by James Pryor on how to write a philosophy paper: http://www.jimpryor.net/teaching/guidelines/writing.html 

To ensure proper formatting and all the required information, you MUST use this template:
http://philosophy302.blogspot.com/2013/08/assignment-template.html 

2.
Detailed summary or outline of the HBR Guide to Better Business Writing, pp. 99-151.

To ensure proper formatting and all the required information, you MUST use this template:
http://philosophy302.blogspot.com/2013/08/assignment-template.html 

Some announcements:

- Written work not properly formatted will be penalized. Please use the template, which has all the required information.
- Written work with major grammatical, punctuation and spelling errors will be penalized also. Students need to carefully proofread their work. Please visit the writing center for help with your writing. See the flyer from the Writing Lab here and the message from the director:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/alosdemdx3rsmd4/Fall%202014%20Lab%20Workshops%20.pdf?dl=0 


I hope the new year is shaping up well for everyone. I'd like to introduce you to some new changes in the Morehouse English Multimedia Writing Skills Lab that will offer more guidance and direction for all of our students. (Forgive me, this email may be a bit long.)

1. We will be hosting one hour long intensive workshops for students in the lab, covering some of the most popular problems we see in student writing. I will be teaching these workshops once a week on Thursdays 12-1PM and Fridays 11-12PM alternatively. I have attached a schedule of events. Please encourage your students to attend these workshops. I will also give students letter of completion as proof of participation.

2. Our tutors are not yet in the lab--we are waiting for funding to be addressed--but I will send out an email when the tutors have arrived and their current schedules.

3. This semester, we will also have English faculty members occasionally volunteering in the lab. I will list the hours for the next few weeks and send updates as the weeks progress. Students who have current tutorial needs are welcome to meet with these faculty members (or myself) during the designated times.

4. Please encourage your students to come to the lab well before a paper is due. Our tutors are amazing and talented, but they are not miracle workers. The day the paper is due is not enough time to get the feedback (and make revisions) they may need.

5. Have them bring their assignment sheets. We need to have a clear understanding of the assignment in order to direct the students int he best way possible.

6. If you are sending students to the lab because of specific issues in their writing, please send us a bulleted list of these issues. The tutors can then narrowly focus on these main problems.

Thank you so much for all you do. We look forward to working with all of you to help our students communicate more effectively.


Faculty Volunteer Times:

Tuesday 8/26 11AM-12PM
Wednesday 8/27 12PM-2PM
Tuesday 9/2 10AM-12PM

Best,

Natasha Walker

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Natasha Walker
Morehouse College
Department of English
Morehouse English Multimedia Writing Skills Lab
Brawley 202C

Office Number: 404-215-2726
Email Address: nwalker1@morehouse.edu
Twitter: @profnwalker

Friday, September 26, 2014

Quiz Corrections Assignment

New assignment, due Monday, Oct. 6; due by class time via Turnitin.

Please find all the correct answers to the first quiz questions. Please submit a writing that
1. States your quiz grade.
2. States what questions you lost points on.
3. State the correct and complete answers to those questions.
4. States where those answers were found: what book? What handout? What set of notes? What page?
5. You explain what, if anything, you need to do so that you do better on the next quiz. The more ideas the better!

Make sure you use the template for writing assignments:
http://morehousemodernphilosophy.blogspot.com/2014/09/assignment-template.html

Monday, September 22, 2014

This week and next

THIS WEEK: reading and writing:

This week, Wednesday and Friday we will discuss EMP Ch. 2, and an article from the Harvard Law Review, "What's Culture Got to do with it? Excising the Harmful Tradition of Female Circumcision." Please carefully read them both.  

About EMP Ch. 2, be prepared to answer these questions:
1. What exactly is the moral theory called "cultural relativism"?
2. What is the argument from the chapter from the conclusion that the moral theory called 'cultural relativism' is true?
3. What are the arguments from the chapter for the conclusion that the moral theory called 'cultural relativism' is false
4. Given 1, 2 and 3, do you think that the moral theory called 'cultural relativism' is true or false?


About FGM, be prepared to answer these questions:
1. What is FGM?
2. What arguments (from the article and Rachels) are given for the conclusion that FGM is morally permissible?
3. What arguments (from the article and Rachels) are given for the conclusion that FGM is morally wrong?
4. Given your understanding of what it is, and the arguments for and against it, do you think it is MP or wrong? Why?

Next week: watching, reading and writing:
NOW DUE WEDNESDAY.. INSTEAD OF MONDAY. DUE WEDNESDAY OCT. 1. 

1. Watch two online videos and write and submit detailed summaries of each; submit these to Turnitin.com 


John Corvino - What's Morally Wrong with Homosexuality? (Full DVD Video) 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5iXA_0MED98 

2. Nathan Nobis
Moral Arguments: Syllogisms  

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xw8DJQRYWXg 

3. Detailed summary of HBR Guide to Better Business Writing, pp. 0-87. Submit this via Turnitin also.