Friday, February 28, 2014

Midterm Week Assignments

Monday we will discuss female genital mutilation, which used to be called "female circumcision." This was discussed in Rachels' EMP Ch. 2, so please re-read that. Google and Youtube the topics to see what you find. Also, please read this article from the Harvard Law Review, "What's Culture Got to Do With It? Excising the Harmful Tradition of Female Circumcision."

Wednesday and Friday we will discuss ethics and homosexuality. Please read the final sections of EMP Ch. 3 on that topic, and review the videos that were already assigned below here: 

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Slippery Slopes

I mentioned this very short paper in class yesterday, in case you are interested:

  • "Cut the Fat! Defending Trans Fats Bans" by Nathan Nobis, Molly Gardner; 2010. The American Journal of Bioethics. 10(3):39 [PDF]
also here:


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Let's have our first quiz next Friday! :) February 28th, in class!

Assignment: for next Wednesday, please develop a study guide covering ALL and ANYthing read, assigned, discussed, etc. in class so far. So, all arguments (all conclusions, all premises), all theories, all concepts, etc.
Please submit by Turnitin.

Thursday, February 13, 2014


Here are some assignment reminders and some new assignments:

1. The writing on Cultural relativism, due FRIDAY 2/21. Assignment below.
2. NEW: Due next Monday, February 24 detailed, detailed, detailed outline summary of the Harvard Writing book, pp. 0-56. The Turnitin slot is now open. 
3 & 4. New: Due next Friday, February 21: DETAILED, DETAILED outline or summary of these two videos, one video by Nathan Nobis on moral syllogisms, another by Professor John Corvino on homosexuality:

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

New Assignments

Professor Nobis is almost done grading everyone's first writing assignments: he should be done by tonight. 

Wednesday, today, we'll discuss the moral theories presented in "A Short Introduction to Moral Philosophy."

This Friday and Monday AND WEDNESDAY: we will discuss the issues and arguments from EMP Ch. 1. THIS OUTLINE IS NOW DUE BY FRIDAY, WHICH IS A CHANGE FROM WED. TURNITIN HAS BEEN CHANGED.

For next MONDAY and WEDNESDAY -- 2/17/14 AND 2/19/14) we'll discuss EMP Ch. 2:

Read EMP Ch 2 on the moral theory known as moral or cultural relativism. Also read Jim Pryor's (online) Guidelines on Writing a Philosophy Paper (link).

Writing assignment, due MONDAY AFTER THE INAUGURATION (2/17/14), before class, submitted to Turnitin:
Please write a short paper on the topic of the moral theory known as moral or cultural relativism. Do not read anything else on these topics besides the Rachels EMP and the paragraphs on the theory in RTD. Please write a brief explanatory essay that follows the guidance suggested below and answers these questions:
1. What is the moral theory known as moral or cultural relativism?
2. What arguments does Rachels discuss for the conclusion that the moral theory known as moral or cultural relativism is false? Explain those arguments.
3. What arguments does Rachels discuss for the conclusion that the moral theory known as moral or cultural relativism is true? Explain those arguments.
4. Based on your understanding of what moral or cultural relativism is, and the arguments for the conclusion that the theory is true and the arguments that the theory is false, what do you believe about the theory? Do you think it's true, or that it's false? Explain.
You must use this template this template to organize your paper with these subject headings. keep the headings / outline labels in the document. This will improve the organization. So, again, download that file and use it to structure your paper.  If you do not do this, you will get a zero on the paper:


You should not write anything that would be unclear to the reader (who is, as Pryor describes, lazy, stupid, and mean -- So, as one example of this, you should not write, for example, anything like, "In section 2.2 this topic is discussed," and go on from there. You should not do this because your reader will have no idea what you are talking about. So you need to always keep your audience in mind and explain in a manner that your reader will understand.

 I also strongly encourage everyone to visit Morehouse's Writing Center for this assignment and any other: