Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Monday, October 20, 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?

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:

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:

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": 

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


Detailed, *DETAILED* summary or outline of this paper by James Pryor on how to write a philosophy paper: 

To ensure proper formatting and all the required information, you MUST use this template: 

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: 

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: 

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


Natasha Walker

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

Office Number: 404-215-2726
Email Address:
Twitter: @profnwalker