Return to Home Page
Phil 130: Morality and Society Spring 1996
Professor Christian Perring
Office 1333 POT Phone 7-7171 Office Hours: TR 4-5 p.m. or by appointment
Notes on Readings
This course has a couple of main goals: First, to develop
your skills at forming your own moral views as rationally and carefully
as possible. Second, to introduce you to some important current debates
in ethics, and to some of the most historically influential views in ethics.
The form of the teaching will be lectures in which discussion
is encouraged and sometimes insisted upon, combined with some occasions
where the class will split up into smaller discussion groups, and also
will have structured debates. Note that in the section on sexuality we
will be discussing pornography and the class will be viewing some forms
The reading assignments for each week will be about 15-25
pages. (Philosophy texts need to be read at least twice for clear comprehension.)
There will be 7 surprise quizzes during the semester which will make up
a total of 10% of your grade. Each student will have to participate in
a debate, which will be worth 10%. In addition there will be a two page
paper (15 %), a 70 minute mid-term exam (or optional take-home exam) (25%),
and one 4 page paper (25%). Students will be required to write drafts for
both papers. Credit can also be gained for useful class participation,
and there may be occasional extra credit options. It is your responsibility
to make sure you have your own copy of any draft or paper that you hand
in, in case the copy you give me gets mislaid.
Attendance in class is required. It constitutes 15% of
your grade. If you miss more than 10 classes without excuse you get no
credit. If you attend all but two classes, you get the full 15%, and for
evey class missed after that you lose 1.5%. It is your responsibility to
make sure you are signed in on the class list each time you come. All writing
assignments must be completed on time in order to pass the course. Your
written work should be in grammatical English, with correct spelling. Persistent
errors will reduce your grade. You are expected to read assignments before
each class and be ready to discuss them. You may be called on in class
to explain one of the readings. Out of class work should average about
10 hours per week.
I may have to cancel some classes due to job interviews
and conferences. I will give you at least a week's warning when this happens.
For each class missed, you should write one or two pages of summary of
the main ideas of the assigned reading for that day. I will read this,
and so long as it is coherent is roughly correct (and is not just a summary
of the notes I gave you) then you will get attendance credit for that day.
January 11: First day of class
January 31: last day for drop class with no record on transcript
March 8: Last day to withdraw
March 11-16: Spring Break
April 25: Last day of class
May 3: Last day of semester
May 6: Grades due
2-page paper due: Tuesday Feb 13.
Mid-term exam: Thursday March 21.
4-page paper due: Tuesday April 29.
Book: Thirteen Questions in Ethics edited by Bowie, Higgins and Michaels. (HBJ, 1992)
Readings: (dates are only approximate, and texts may be
January 16: Sigmund Freud: On Inclination Toward Aggression
18: Hannah Arendt: Violence, Power, and Bureaucracy
Virginia Held: Violence, Terrorism, and Moral Enquiry
23: Ernest van Der Haag: On Deterrence and the Death Penalty
Albert Camus: Reflections on the Guillotine
25: Blanche McCrary Boyd: The Enormous Mother: Reflections on Susan Smith (from Village Voice). Debate on death penalty for Susan Smith.
Capitalism and Justice
Jan 30: John Hospers: Profits and Liberty
Andrew Carnegie: Wealth
February 1: Robert Nozick: The Entitlement Theory
6: Peer evaluation of first paper drafts
8: John D. Jones: Poverty as a Living Death
Peter Marin: Helping and Hating the Homeless
13: Dan E. Beauchamp: Public Health as Social Justice
15: Albert Z. Carr: Is Business Bluffing Ethical?
20: Lisa H. Newton: Reverse Discrimination as Unjustified
Tom L. Beauchamp: The Justification of Reverse Discrimination
22: Debate on Reverse Descrimination/Affirmative Action
27: Christopher Stone: The Culture of the Corporation
Barbara Ehrenreich: The Intelligensia vs. the Suits
29: Michael Harrington: Corporate Collectivism: A System of Social Injustice
March 5: Peter Singer: Famine, Affluence, and Morality
Debate on Third World Aid
7: John Rawls: Justice as Fairness
21: Midterm Exam
Sex and Sexuality
26: Richard Wasserstrom: Is Adultery Immoral?
28: Robert C. Solomon: Sex, Contraception, and Conceptions of Sex*
April 2: Lois Pineau: Date Rape: A Feminist Analysis*
Antioch College Code of Conduct, Princeton University Rules and Regulations
4: No Class
9: Debate on Date Rape Regulations
11: John Stuart Mill: The Authority of Society Over the Individual*
16: Catherine MacKinnon: Sex and Violence
G. L. Simons: Is Pornography Beneficial?*
23: Peer Evaluations of final paper drafts