July 13, 2004

I. Course Description

This course is designed to develop the student’s ability to think critically about contemporary ethical issues, both personal and social, and to develop a normative value system as a basis for distinguishing the good and bad in human conduct.

II.          Course Objectives

1)       To expand the student’s understanding of the methods and concepts of philosophy, especially as they address the issues of right conduct in personal and social life.

2)        To introduce the student to the great writers of philosophy, especially St. Thomas Aquinas, in the West as they address issues in ethics.

3)       To enable the student to read and critically examine philosophical argument and to develop the ability to formulate and express their own philosophical arguments on ethical issues.

4)        To enable the student to critically examine one’s self and society so as to make intelligent and useful choices in a pluralistic world.


III.       Method of Teaching

1.       Reading, library research, video presentations, lectures and class discussions on the topics on the topics listed in the course schedule.

2.      Small and large group discussion to apply the concepts and ideas found in readings and lectures


IV.       Required Text:

Readings in Philosophy 206


V.         Course Requirements:

1)       All required reading

2)       Term paper of 1. 8-20 pages (Guidelines attached) or the Service-learning project. (See below)

3)       Various short written assignments

4)       Three examinations on the dates specified in the Course Calendar


A student with a disability, who requires some type of accommodation, such as extended time on a test, note-takers, textbooks on tape/CD, etc., MUST voluntarily disclose his/her needs to Diane Stoelting, Coordinator, Specialized Support Services, in the Office of Academic Support (OAS). He/she must provide Ms. Stoelting with documentation from a qualified professional that clearly diagnoses the disability and the individual’s functional limitations. After reviewing the documentation (in consultation with Health Services and/or Counseling Services if needed), she will determine what accommodations are appropriate on a case-by-case/course-by- course basis. The student must inform professors about his/her need for accommodation(s).


VII       Academic Honesty: Please consult your student handbook for the university policy on academic honesty. This policy will be strictly adhered to.


VIII.   Office Hours:

Office hours:      M/W/F:                9:00 AM – 10:00 AM
T/Th:                    9:30 – 11:00 AM

I recommend that you schedule an appointment or contact me by email.

Office:                Upper level Gallagher Center
Phone:                 286-8573
Fax:                     286-8753


IX.      Course Outline


1. Normative Ethical Theory

a)            Virtue ethics:

Reading: Readings in Philosophy 206

b)           Deontology

Reading: Readings in Philosophy 206

c)            Utilitarianism

Reading: Readings in Philosophy 206

d)           Natural Rights

Reading: Readings in Philosophy 206


2.       Human Freedom

a)            St. Augustine:

Reading: Readings in Philosophy 206

b)           Aristotle

Reading: Nicomachean Ethics. BK. II

c)            Aquinas

Reading: Pocket Aquinas, pp. 187-189

d)            Jean-Paul Sartre

Reading: Readings in Philosophy 206


3.       Virtue

a)            Aristotle

Reading: Nicomachean Ethics, BK. 11, VI

b)           Aquinas:         

Reading: Pocket Aquinas, 27; 183; 193; 204-217; 279


4.        Justice

a)            Aristotle

Reading; Nicomachean Ethics Bk V., The Politics

b)           John Rawls

Reading: Readings in Philosophy 206


5.       Friendship

a)            Aristotle:

Reading: Nicomachean Ethics, BK. VIII & BK. IX

b) Gabriel Marcel and Martin Buber

Reading: Handout


6.       Pleasure and Happiness

Reading: Nicomachean Ethics, BK X


7.        Issues in ethics

Life issues:         Abortion


Capital Punishment



Environmental Ethics
Business Ethics: Hostile Takeovers
Poverty and Affluence



VI.      Class Schedule

1/12              Introduction: “Why should a person be moral?”

1/14              Nature of Morality

1/16              Nature of Morality

1/19              Holiday

1/21              Normative Ethical Theory

Virtue Ethics – Video – BK 1

1/23              Normative Ethical Theory 11

1/26              Virtue Ethics – Aristotle

1/28              Deontology – Kant

1/30              No Class – Out of class assignment­

2/2                Utilitarianism

Natural Rights

2/4                Natural Rights II

2/6                Guest Lecturer

2/9                First Examination

2/11              Poverty – Social Responsibility (video)

­­­­2/16              Human Freedom – Augustine

2/18              Freedom II – Aristotle

2/20              Freedom III – Jean-Paul Sartre­

2/23              Suicide and Euthanasia

2/25              Suicide and Euthanasia II

2/27              Freedom III – Jean-Paul Sartre

3/1               The morality of war – Just War Theory

3/3               War

3/5               Virtue – Aristotle

3/6-3/15        Winter Break

3/15              Virtue – Aquinas

3/17               Virtue III

3/19               Second Examination

3/22               Abortion

3/24               Justice – Aristotle

3/26               Justice – Aristotle

3/29              Business Ethics:        Ethics in America – Hostile Takeovers

3/31              Friendship – Aristotle

4/2                Friendship II – Buber & Marcel

4/5                Environmental Ethics – “Silent Spring”

4/9                Holiday

4/12              Holiday

4/16              Bioethics

4/23              Bioethics II

4/26              Capital Punishment

4/28              Capital Punishment

4/30              Issues in ethics

5/3                Review and Conclusion

5/8                Final Examination 12:10 – 2 : 00 PM, Saturday




Due in class: April 7, 2004


The Assignment

Each student is required to write an 18-20-page research paper on a topic related to ethics. You are required to use a minimum of 5-7 sources for your paper.


Instructions for Composing the Research Paper Please follow these directions for composing and typing the Research Paper:


1.           COVER PAGE — Type the following information on the cover page:

a)           essay title — the topic you have researched;
b)           your name;
c)           course number, section, number, course name;
d)           date paper is due


2.           TEXT OF THE ESSAY:

The text of the essay is 18-20 typewritten pages, double-spaced, with one­ inch margins – approximately 25-28 lines of text per page, approximately 60 spaces per line. Paragraphs are generally a minimum of three sentences, a maximum of ten sentences. The first line of each new paragraph is indented five spaces. Sentences begin with capital letters and end with periods, question marks, or exclamation points. When you are finished typing your essay, staple all the pages together in the upper left­hand comer.

We urge you to divide up the 18-20 pages of the text of your research paper in the following manner:

PAGE ONE AND TWO: summarize in a clear and concise manner the topic you have researched and the major ideas you are going to explore in your paper, including your own experience with this topic from your Service-learning project.

PAGE THREE THROUGH SIXTEEN: summarize in clear and concise manner the results of what you have learned about the topic from your research.

PAGE SIXTEEN TO END: summarize in a clear and concise manner the ideas, insights or conclusions you have come to as a result of your research and your experience with your Service-leaming project.

LAST PAGE: include a complete bibliography



Research papers are composed in standard, written English. Please check for grammar, punctuation and style. Please check for spelling/typing errors. A good way to check your paper is to have someone else read it and to read your paper aloud to yourself


4.           DOCUMENTATION

Your research paper will require you to refer to specific ideas and passages from the documents you have researched. In writing your paper will need to quote directly from the document or use an idea from the document. Direct quotations, longer than one sentence, are typed differently than the main of the text. They are typed single-spaced and all lines of the quote are indented ten spaces.

When using a direct quote or an Idea from the document, you MUST document this in the following manner: author’s last name, title of the document, and page number. This information is placed in a parenthesis after the quotation or after the sentence using the author’s idea.

Example: (McRaith, “Giving Justice a Family Base,” p. 395)








The Assignment: Each student is required to engage in a 18-20 hour Service-learning project to experience the praxis of justice and social responsibility and to promote sensitivity to diversity and multiculturalism. The service-learning project will enable students to critically reflect on the philosophical and ethical principles inherent in the praxis of justice. In the first class, students will be introduced to the various opportunities available through Learn and Serve Niagara/NUCAP. However, you may select any other program which offers you a first hand experience in direct community service with the permission of your instructor. You are required to fill out the “Service-learning Project Registration Forms” and return them to the NUCAP office by the deadline. Once your project has been approved, you may proceed to complete the 15-20 hours of service. After completing your service, you are required to write a 5-page evaluation of your experience and submit it on 3 May 2001.


Instructions for the 5 Page Evaluation You are required to submit a 5 page, typewritten evaluation of your service-learning project. Please describe what you have learned personally from your experience of service. How did this experience change some of your assumptions or ideas? Please describe the components and ideas which you have learned from the course material and your research paper, which helped you, reflect more critically on Justice and ethics.


Each student must keep a journal to record reflections on the service-learning project experience. Students are required to make one journal entry after each contact session in the service project experience. Some classes will include time for students to reflect with the class on their service-learning project experience and the journal entries will provide the material for this.

Please use the following method for journal entries:
Sit down at least once a week and choose one or two “critical incidents” that have taken place during the week and explore them in detail in your journal. Remember, “critical” means having strong impact on you in terms of your objectives. Here are some steps for organizing your reflecting and writing.

1.      Identify the event or occurrence with as much specificity as possible — the problem to be solved, issues involved, etc. You may not have precise ideas on this when you start writing. Just start writing.

2.       Describe the relevant details and circumstances surrounding the event so that you and the teachers who read your entry will understand what happened. What? When? How? Where?

3.       List the people involved; describe them and their relationship to you and to each other.

4.       Describe your role in the situation — what you did, how you acted.

5.       Analyze the incident. How well or badly did you understand the situation? How did you handle it? What would you do differently the next time? Why?

6.       Analyze this incident in terms of its impact on you and explain why you view it as critical/ How does it relate to your particular objectives? What have you learned from this experience? How has your perspective on yourself been changed and/or reinforced? Where do you go from here?

In spite of the complexity of this sort of writing, your journal entries need not be long or arduous. The importance of this exercise is learning to sift through your experience for what is important in terms of specific objectives you have for yourself. You must edit your writing accordingly.

Journals will be checked periodically by the instructor.

School: Niagara University
Professor: Dr. Marilynn P. Fleckenstein
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