Monday, December 07, 2009

Books for Philosophy of Religion, Spring 2010; links to used copies on

1. A Thinker's Guide to the Philosophy of Religion (Paperback) by Allen Stairs and Christopher Bernard Longman; 1 edition (October 7, 2006); please find used if possible.

2. Why Lord? Suffering and Evil in Black Theology, by Anthony Pinn (Continuum, 1999).

3. A Rulebook for Arguments, by Anthony Weston, Hackett Publishing; any edition; please find used if possible)

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Study Guide for Final Exam

Here is the Final Examination Schedule for Professor Nobis's Intro To Ethics courses:

11:00 AM's MWF course final is: Monday, December 7th 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM

12:00 PM MWF course final is: Wednesday, December 9th 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM

1:00 PM MWF course final is: Monday, December 7th 8:00 AM - 10:00 AM

While it's ideal if you come to the final at your official class time, you can come to the final at any class time that you'd prefer. I hope this will work out and we will be able to find space at all times!

Again the format will include multiple choice, short answer and many "What premise would you add to make this argument logically valid?" questions.

The topics include everything since the midterm, which amounts to these topics, all of which have been discussed in class and readings asssigned:

Ethical Theory:

- the divine command theory of ethics / ethics and religion

- ethical egoism

Moral problems:

- abortion (Rachels, Warren, Marquis, Thompson)

- euthanasia (Rachels)

- world poverty (Singer, Engel, Rachels)

- animals (Rachels, Singer, Simmons)

Some of the handouts and worksheets we used are here:

Paper 4; Paper 5, Extra Credit :)

Paper 4: Topic: Racism, Sexism and Speciesism

Paper 5: "Top 10 List" for How To Address Moral Issues

“There is perhaps no set of social issues on which otherwise sane people on either side of the question allow themselves to be so overwhelmingly irrational as in matters pertaining to the treatment of animals, and our moral obligations to them.”

– Philosopher Bernard Rollin

PAPER 4: Topics: Racism, Sexism and Speciesism: Is it Permissible to Harm Animals for Pleasure?


No late papers accepted!

Your paper should have a short introduction, a thesis (“I will argue that _____), and be well-organized, clear and readable to someone who is notfamiliar with these issues. Your paper’s claims should be carefully and thoughtfully defended: objections must be responded to with well-thought outreasons.

This paper focuses on you providing well-thought out, carefully-defended answers to these questions:

  • Is the fur industry engaged in morally permissible behavior, or are they doing things that are morally wrong?
  • Are the animal agribusiness industries engaged in morally permissible behavior, or are they doing things that are morally wrong?
  • What, if any, are there any relations between these two questions? Does your view about the morality of the fur industry have logical implications for your view about the morality of the, e.g., meat industry, and vice versa?
  • Should you personally support the fur industry? Should you personally support the meat (and related) industries?

To answer these questions, you must carefully present and explain the arguments by Peter Singer (the fundamental principle of equality, from “All Animals Are Equal,”) and John Simmons (from “Reasonable Humans and Animals” [online; handout]). Explain their arguments for the conclusionthat – in our circumstances: i.e., modern America – it is wrong to raise and kill animals to wear them and to eat them. You must explain and defend your view on whether either of their main arguments are sound or not. Since thinking about moral problems involves applying moral principles to factual circumstances, you must briefly give some factual information about these industries and practices.

You must discuss at least five of what you think are the strongest and/or most common objections to arguments like Singer’s & Simmons. (Kantand Machan provide some of these arguments; others are from class and a handout). Fully explain how Singer and/or Simmons would respond tothese objections. Explain whether these objections show that their arguments are unsound.

Note: if you discuss anything about nutrition science, you must provide the source of your information (i.e., the study’s citation) from PubMed fromthe National Library of Medicine: or our books. Random, anecdotal reports from various webpages are not a reliable source for scientific information: you need a reputable source

Some industry groups:
-- Fur Commission USA ( ).
-- National Animal Interest Alliance:
-- Animal Agriculture Alliance:
Some animal advocacy groups:
-- Compassion Over Killing:
-- Vegan Outreach

Suggested restaurant field trip, to ask for advice on how to answer these questions:
Soul Veg Restaurant: 879-A Ralph Abernathy Blvd. SW – Atlanta, (404) 752-5194
Soul Veg Restaurant: 652 North Highland - Atlanta, GA 30306 (404) 874-0145

EXTRA CREDIT PAPER 5: Top 10 List for How To Address Moral Issues


Make a "Top 10 List of helpful things to do and/or not do when thinking about moral issues and addressing moral problems." Explain what people can do to better think about and address moral issues: these might be things to look out for and avoid, as well as positive techniques or attitudes or skills to use. For each of your suggestion of what to do (or not do), illustrate it with an example (or examples): explain why your suggestion is a good one. The goal of this assignment is for you to critically reflect on what we have done and develop a list of helpful ideas that you can use in the future (and help others use) when thinking about moral issues. This assignment is intended for you to reflect carefully on what we have learned this semester! 3-4 pages.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

The Third Annual Southeast Philosophy Congress invites submissions from undergraduate and graduate students in any area of philosophy. The Congress, hosted by Clayton State University in Morrow, Georgia, runs February 12-13, 2010, with keynote speaker George Rainbolt from Georgia State University. Presented papers will be published in online and print proceedings.

Talks run 20 minutes, followed by a 10 minute question/answer period. Please email papers, accompanied by a brief abstract, to Dr. Todd Janke: Submission deadline is January 31, 2010. To allow time to plan travel, speakers will be notified immediately upon acceptance and selection will close when all slots are filled. The registration fee of $45.00 includes lunch both days and a print copy of the proceedings.

Final Examination Schedule

FALL 2009

Last Day of Classes: Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Reading Period: Thursday, Thursday, December 3rd and Friday, December 4th 2009

Final Examination Week: Monday, December 7th through Friday, December 11th

Classes That Meet Days Examination Date Examination Time

10:00 AM MWF Tuesday, December 8th 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM

11:00 AM MWF Monday, December 7th 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM

12:00 PM MWF Wednesday, December 9th 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM

1:00 PM MWF Monday, December 7th 8:00 AM - 10:00 AM