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Fall 2005
Russell G. (Greg) Moses, Ph.D.
PHIL 2329

St. Edwards University
(Section Information deleted from web version,
students may consult Blackboard version.)

(Contact information deleted from web version,
students may consult Blackboard version.)

Philosophical ethics can be described as the attempt to think clearly and deeply about fundamental moral questions that arise for us humans. Ethics is concerned with evaluating appropriate action, proper character, the characteristics of the good life, and what is involved in acting rightly. The course explores readings in foundational ethical theory, including the systematic analysis of moral beliefs, as well as the application of philosophical ethical theory to particular issues in applied ethics, such as punishment and suicide, physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia. May be taken to fulfill the University requirement for an ethics course. (Fall, Spring)

Daily writing assignments require computer printing.

Michel Foucault, The Hermeneutics of the Subject: Lectures at the College de France 1981-82. (New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2005)

The method used by the instructor may be viewed either as a Socratic method of self-discovery or as a Deweyan method of active learning. In either case, the method seeks to assist students in drawing their own lessons from materials through a daily process of reading, writing, and small group discussions. This method places responsibility on students to contribute their own motivations and interests to the development of the classroom experience.

Reading and writing assignments have been carefully selected with a view to providing manageable challenges that slowly increase students’ abilities as active participants in philosophical processes of inquiry.

Small group discussions provide space and time for students to explore with each other developing meanings that emerge from inquiry and dialogue. The instructor will expect students to take responsibility for carrying forward these discussions through respectful listening and experimental speaking (in other words, you may not know exactly what you’re about to say as you explore intuitions about the materials at hand, but you try to work something out.)

Following these preparatory exercises, the instructor will facilitate class discussions in order to further explore student understanding.

The instructor will seek to ensure that all students participate in class discussions. This means that students should be prepared to answer questions at any time when called upon.

In reading, students will be asked to develop strategies for approaching and exploring complex texts of moral analysis.
In writing, students will be asked to fairly represent views presented by others and to critically develop views of their own.
In thinking, students will be challenged to discern conceptual assumptions already in use in moral analysis, explore conceptual consequences of such assumptions, and to develop conceptual frameworks that have critically acceptable consequences for moral life.
Students will learn how to identify and approach philosophical materials with increased confidence in their own abilities to make the experience meaningful to their own ethical analysis.

Final grade will be based on a cumulative review of comments made by the instructor on a portfolio of the student’s work.
A = all materials are complete (no more than three pages or assignments missing or “late”); and the student has produced work that is frequently noted by the instructor as remarkable for further reading, detailed argumentation, interesting applications, etc.
B = all materials are complete (no more than four pages or assignments missing or “late”); and the student has produced work that has been frequently noted as helpful (assigned readings, thorough citations, some argumentation, some application, etc.)
C = materials are nearly complete (up to six assignments missing or “late”), and while the student is making an effort to keep up, the student has produced work that includes comments from the instructor indicating that hints toward improvement are not being followed, etc.
D = materials are incomplete (more than six assignments missing or “late”) or materials are frequently marked as “insufficient.”
F = nine or more assignments missing or late.
In order to count for full credit in the portfolio, students must bring the work to class on time the day it is due and return the marked paper to the instructor in the final portfolio. A missed class usually results in an assignment being marked “late” or “absent”, even if the paper arrives in the absence of the student (this is because the paper is intended as a preparation for class development, not simply as an end in itself). Excused absences can be made up, if they are properly documented within one week.
The instructor does not aim to achieve a grade distribution curve. All students who share a level of achievement will get the grade, no matter how many or how few.

Attendance: It is essential that students come to class prepared. Failing to attend or prepare will result in loss of grade points as explained above in the grading system. Excused absences must be documented within one week. Two late marks on the attendance sheet will convert to one absence.

In saying that “A” work may include up to three absences, etc., the instructor is acknowledging that things come up, accidents happen, and life rhythms ebb. It is not necessary to have an “excused” absence every time to do very well in this course. Some flex time is built in. However, students who use up their flex time early in the semester may find that accidents continue to happen, etc., and this will begin to affect grades. In the end, it is only fair that students who attend regularly should be able to earn higher grades, especially in a classroom pedagogy that emphasizes dialogue between students. When a student does not attend class, possibilities for fruitful discussion decrease for the entire class.

Withdrawal: The instructor has no stipulations other than what is allowable by the college, nor does the instructor initiate withdrawals.

Incompletes: The instructor discourages resort to “Incomplete” grades.

Academic Integrity: St. Edward's University expects academic honesty from all members of the community, and it is our policy that academic integrity be fostered to the highest degree possible. Consequently, all work submitted for grading in a course must be created as a result of your own thought and effort. Representing work as your own when it is not a result of such thought and effort is a violation of our code of academic integrity. Whenever it is established that academic dishonesty has occurred, the course instructor shall impose a penalty upon the offending individual(s). It is recognized that some offenses are more egregious than others and that, therefore, a range of penalties should be available. Whenever possible, it would also be important to try to determine the intent of the offender, since the error could be a result of careless work rather than an intent to deceive. The maximum penalty for a first offense is failure in the course, and if that penalty is imposed, the student does not have the option of withdrawing from the course.In cases of mitigating circumstance, the instructor has the option of assigning a lesser penalty.

It is impossible to do great intellectual work without relying in some way upon great work from others. Scholastic honesty is simply the practice of stipulating carefully who and what you have been borrowing from. There is never any shame in borrowing. In fact, philosophical schools are marked by patterns of borrowing. But if you borrow without carefully noting your source, then we have a problem with scholastic dishonesty.

Anytime a student borrows (for example, copies and pastes from a web site) exact words, phrases, or sentences, the material should be placed into quote marks with clear references. Anytime a student borrows ideas or inspiration, but not the exact words, the source materials should be acknowledged and cited.

Citations may be in any format, but should include author, title, date, page number (or exact page URL – root directory is not sufficient.)

Academic Freedom: Students have the right to believe whatever they happen to believe and, within the appropriate constraints that follow from the organization of a course and its class meetings, to express those beliefs. Grades will never be based on the beliefs that a student maintains, but only on the quality of the philosophical work performed by a student in conjunction with the course.

Student Discipline: Students at the College have the rights accorded to all persons under the Constitution to Freedom of speech, peaceful assembly, petition, and association. These rights carry with them the responsibility for each individual to accord the same rights to others in the College community and not to interfere with or disrupt the educational process. As willing partners in learning, it is expected that students will comply with College rules and procedures.

Special Accommodations: If you have a medical, psychiatric or learning disability and require accommodations in this class, please let me know early in the semester or as soon as you are eligible. You will first need to provide documentation of your disability to the Student Disability Services Office located in Moody Hall 155 in Academic Planning and Support.

COURSE OUTLINE/CALENDAR (two sessions per week, marked A & B)

Week 1 (Aug. 29 – Sept. 2)
A. Introduction to course & syllabus
B. Introduction to course method Prepare 2 pages (all assignments should be typed & double spaced): One page introduction of yourself, your interests, and your expectations for this course. One page identifying a concept that you find people using when they engage in moral analysis. What do you think they mean by this concept in terms of its idea? Identify a logically-related concept (either presumption or consequence). Identify behaviors that would be selected or guided by the concept. Do you find the concept helpful? Why or why not. In class we will form groups for discussion, share our first papers, hear group reports, and discuss our first impressions of the value of moral analysis.

Week 2 (Sept. 6-9 Note, the MW section will have to do both A&B on Wed.)
A. Foucault (pp. 1-19) Prepare two pages: One page scholarly summary of the reading with page numbers in parentheses as needed. One page conceptual focus, identifying a concept important to the reading, what it means in this context, what concepts it would be related to, and how it might sort practices. Note: none of this asks you if you like or do not like the concepts involved. This is simply asking you to analyze what you find in conceptual terms.
B. Reflection on Foucault Prepare a page and a half: Identify a concept from the text that is important to you. How does Foucault use the concept, why is his use of the concept important to your own moral analysis. What concepts would be related logically, what behaviors would be sorted? Why are these connections and consequences important to you?

Week 3 (Sept. 12 – 16)
A. Foucault (pp. 43-60) see week 2A for paper guidelines
B. Reflection on Foucault, see week 2B for paper guidelines

Week 4 (Sept. 19 – 23)
A.Concept Research (at library) Select a concept that for you would be interesting to explore as a helpful tool of moral analysis. Find at least one source that explores the meaning of the concept, either as a complete scholarly article or chapter (approx 20 pages). Instructor will be available at library during class time.
B.Research Report Two pages: One paragraph, why did you take an interest in this concept? One paragraph, what is your source and how would you summarize the approach taken to the concept? One paragraph, focus on an interesting example or argument. One paragraph, what did this research help you understand either about logically connected concepts or about behaviors that might be sorted? Note: this does not ask you if you liked the analysis; it only asks what you learned from it.

Week 5 (Sept. 26 – 30)
A.Foucault (pp. 81 - 100) see week 2A for paper guidelines
B.Reflection on Foucault, see week 2B for paper guidelines

Week 6 (Oct. 3 – 7)
A.Foucault (pp. 125 - 144) see week 2A for paper guidelines
B.Reflection on Foucault, see week 2B for paper guidelines

Week 7 (Oct. 10 – 14)
A.Research Hot Topic Debate Identify a hot topic that is a subject of controversy and find a source that takes a clear point of view on the topic either a scholarly article or chapter (about 20 pages).
B.Hot Topic Research Report Two pages. One paragraph, why are you interested in this hot topic. One paragraph, what is your source and how would you summarize the overall argument. One paragraph, what is a concept important to this argument and how does the text define and use the concept? One paragraph, in terms of the hot topic under debate, would you find it helpful to use the definition or application of the concept to the concept. Why or Why not?

Week 8 (Oct. 17 – 21)
A.Foucault (pp. 170 - 185) see week 2A for paper guidelines
B.Midterm portfolio review & self-assessment. Collect materials, review grading criteria, make appointment with instructor if you have any questions. Class will not meet second day this week.

Week 9 (Oct. 24 – 28)
A.Foucault (pp. 205 - 223) see week 2A for paper guidelines
B.Reflection on Foucault, see week 2B for paper guidelines

Week 10 (Oct. 31 – Nov. 4)
A.Research Concepts in Personal Development Choose a concept that seems important to use as a tool of moral analysis in personal development. Find a scholarly article or chapter (approx. 20 pages) that treats the concept.
B.Research Report on Concepts in Personal Development Two pages. One paragraph explaining why you selected the concept. One paragraph identifying your source and summarizing the overall argument or analysis of the concept. One paragraph focusing on an interesting application or logical point made by the text. One paragraph showing what you have learned about the use of the concept as a tool for moral development (even if that means you have discovered a way that it is limited or inappropriate) and why.

Week 11 (Nov. 7 – 11)
A.Foucault (pp. 247 - 266) see week 2A for paper guidelines
B.Reflection on Foucault, see week 2B for paper guidelines

Week 12 (Nov. 14 - 18)
A.Foucault (pp. 289 - 311) see week 2A for paper guidelines
B.Reflection on Foucault, see week 2B for paper guidelines

Week 13 (Nov. 21 - 23)
A.Foucault (pp. 331 - 351) see week 2A for paper guidelines

Week 14 (Nov. 28 – Dec. 2)
A.Foucault (pp. 371 - 391) see week 2A for paper guidelines
B.Reflection on Foucault, see week 2B for paper guidelines

Week 15 (Dec. 5 – 9)
A.Concluding Research in Moral Analysis For this assignment you may define your own problematic in the realm of moral analysis. As usual, please find a scholarly article or chapter (approx 20 pages) pertaining to the problematic that you have defined.
B.Concluding Research Report You may used the format suggested for previous research reports if you find it helpful. Or adopt a format more fitting to your needs.

Week 16 (Finals Week)
FINAL REPORT: Three page discussion on what you have learned about the general value of moral analysis, how you have been able to learn something valuable to you, and what would be your next self-appointed challenge should you consider further work in the field.

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