Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Quiz POSTPONED until NEXT Friday  (11/16): on the moral theories we’ve discussed, related readings, homosexuality and maybe a lil’ bit on morality and religion. MORE DETAILS FORTHCOMING. 

Study guide due Wed 11/14, both online and in hardcopy. 

Monday, October 29, 2012

A group project assignment:

Create your own group of 3 or 4 students. If you cannot find a group, you will be assigned to one.

Create a webpage or blog (on Blogger, Wordpress, Google Sites, wherever) where you present and evaluate at least five arguments for the view 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). 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.

The purpose for this assignment, instead of a paper, is for you to construct a public teaching tool to help people better find and evaluate moral arguments and then apply it to the issue of homosexuality. (Your teaching tool can, and probably will, be used with other issues later in the semester!).

Due in 2 weeks, Monday, Nov. 12. Please email Dr. Nobis the URL and bring a printout of the page to class!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

- "Cultural relativism" in Elements of Moral Philosophy
- Female genital mutilation; article: "What's Culture Got to Do with it? Excising the Harmful Tradition of Female Circumcision"  from the Harvard Law Review

- please read, in the Right Thing to Do, "Our Sexual Ethics" by Bertrand Russell and
"Monogamy: A Critique". Be prepared to discuss!

TBA: video by John Corvino on homosexuality.

Read and write a detailed summary or outline of these readings below and reaction to their arguments and main claims:
- Elements of Moral Philosophy, Ch. 3, the sections on "Are there proofs in ethics?" and "The question of homosexuality"
- The Right Thing to Do, A Few Words About Gay Marriage. Andrew Sullivan
- The Right Thing to Do, Same-Sex Marriage and the Argument from Public Disagreement, David Boonin
These should be turned in in class, in hardcopy, and via Turnitin.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

As mentioned, a contemporary philosopher named Tom Regan is someone who critiques Kant's ethics yet builds upon it in constructing an arguably better moral theory. So that you might be more familiar with how Regan does this, here is an extra credit reading and writing assignment on an article (that is a short version of a book) called "The Case for Animal Rights." The article is available here:


Your assignment is this:
1. Read the article carefully, following all of Vaughn's advice on reading.
2. Write an essay (not merely notes or a summary) where you explain (a) Regan's main goals and conclusions of his essay and (b) reviews each moral theory that Regan discusses and explains his objections to the theory and (c) explains how Regan argues that (some) animals have moral rights.

If you do the assignment, do an excellent job!

Due next Friday, Nov. 2 in class and on

Also, considering checking out Youtube for videos with Tom Regan, Google his name and check out Google scholar for discussion of his work.

Monday, October 15, 2012

The Faces of Manhood in the 21st Century

68th Annual Family Institute Conference
October 14-17, 2012



Sunday, October 14

Wheeler Hall Rm. 214F
FACES Advisory Board Meeting
Executive Conference Center Banquet Rooms
Pre Event Meet & Greet / Reception with VIP’s

Executive Conference Center Banquet Rooms
Welcome Banquet and Opening Plenary
Hosted by President Dr. Robert Franklin,
President of Morehouse College
Keynote: Michael Kimmel

Monday, October 15

Motorola Lobby
Conference Registration
Executive Conference Center Meeting Rooms
Concurrent Sessions
Moderators: Critical Thinking Leaders
Session I:  The Power of Teaching Entrepreneurship to Black Children. Presenter: Ms. Samora Sobakwe-SoDaye
Session II: The Masculinity Project. Presenters: Mr. DeWayne Powell and Mr. Daniel Edwards
Session III: Transitions in Manhood: A Global Perspective Presenter: Dr. Mohanty Purna; Lineal Regeneration: Managing the Assets of Masculinity. Presenter: Mr. Charles Williams
Bank of America
Plenary Session
Men and African American Families
Panelists: Michael Messner; Jennifer Hammer, Adia Harvey-Winfield, and Armon Perry
****LUNCH on your OWN ***
Wheeler Hall Rm. 214F
Film Screening “Tough Guise”
written by Jackson Katz
Open forum discussion to follow
Moderator: Dr. Anne Borden and Dr. M. Bilal King
Bank of America
Plenary Session
Religion and Sexuality: The Role of Religion in Understanding Sexuality

Panelists: Dr. Harold Bennett, Rev. Ernest Brooks, Mr. Chavis Jones. Moderator: Dr. Josef Sorett

Bank of America
Film Screening of “Hoodwinked”: What Black Men Think.
Open forum discussion to follow
Moderator: Mr. Janks Morton

Tuesday, October 16

Motorola Lobby 
African American
Hall of Fame
Conference Luncheon
Men Stopping Violence against Women
Panelists: Dr. Anne Baird; Dr. Cynthia Neal Spence; Dr. Halbrook Polite, and Mr. Ramesh Kathanadhi (Men Stopping Violence)
Executive Conference Center Meeting
Rooms A-F
Concurrent Sessions
Moderators:Dr. Fred Knight

Session IV: Resonant Echoes: From Morehouse Men and Mentors-Benjamin Mays, Howard Thurman, Martin Luther King Jr. -21st Century issues of Personal Identity among Men at Morehouse. Presenters: Professors Dr. Kipton E. Jensen, Dr. Sam Livingston, and Dr. Illya Davis, Kyle Moore (student), Chavis Jones (student), and Katanga Johnson (student)
Session V: Black Male Fathers: A Workshop.
Presenter: Dr. Narviar Barker
Executive Conference Center Meeting
Rooms A-F
Plenary Session
Black Masculinity and Health Outcomes
Panelists: Dr. William L. Jeffries IV, Dr. Robert Aronson, and Mr. Robert B. Peterson
Executive Conference
Center Meeting
Rooms A-F
Concurrent Sessions
Moderators:Dr. Fred Knight

Session VI. Faculty interaction with campus diversity: Moderators: Dr. Linda Zatlin and Mr. Tre'vell Anderson; Discussants: FACULTY of Morehouse College (Faculty Session)
Session VII. Integrating Masculinities and Sexualities into the Classroom. Presenters: Dr. Nathan Nobis; Dr. Anne Borden
Gender Differences in Navigating Guyland. Presenter: Dr. Donald Gregory
Ray Charles Performing
Arts Center
Theatrical Presentation: “Emergency”
Obie Award Winner Daniel Beaty
Performance is 80 minutes and an informed discussion will follow the play.

Wednesday, October 17

Bank of America
Leadership Auditorium
Anna Harvin Grant Student Paper Competition
The First, Second, and Third Place student winners will present their work in a plenary session.
Student Presenters TBA
12:00-1:00pm Lunch on your own
Wheeler Hall Rm. 214F 
Word on the Campus: Student Dialogs
What does it mean to be a “Man” at Morehouse College in the 21st Century?
Moderator: Devon Lambert  
Closing Remarks: Dr. Michael Hodge, Chair
Department of Sociology, Morehouse College

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Note the update below!

For Monday, Oct. 8: detailed summary or outline of Vaughn, Chs. 5 and 6 Due in class in hardcopy and via Turnitin.

Wednesday we will conclude our discussion of Kant's ethics.

For Friday, Oct. 12: PAPER, that should be informed by the guidance from Vaughn. 

Please write a paper where you:
- explain what moral theories are and what they do;
- states and explains the utilitarian moral theory OR states and explains Kant's moral theory;
- presents at least one objection (from class or the book) to the utilitarian moral theory OR  at least one objection to Kant's moral theory: note: an objection is an argument for the conclusion that the view is false.
- explains how utilitarians OR Kantians would respond to these objections
- explains which view YOU think is the better moral theory - utilitarianism, Kantianism (or some combination of them??) and WHY.

* Note: If you would like to do both Utilitarianism and Kant's ethics, as the previous version of this assignment required, you are free to do so!

3-5 pages. This should be clear, well organized, grammatical, with an introduction. And it should conform to all the guidance on writing from Vaughn.

Recommended: read this too: 

Monday, October 01, 2012

For Wednesday (and Friday) we will discuss the Elements of Moral Philosophy's two chapters on Kant's ethics. Please read those for Wednesday, as was mentioned last Friday.

Stay tuned for more assignments!