Weeks 8 – 10 News:

We have reached the final segment of our course during which we simultaneously study Gandhi, Buddhist Ethics and learn about the group research projects that have been ongoing throughout the quarter.  Groups that are presenting Week 8 should arrive ready to go.

Weeks 8 -9:

  1. There are no guide questions for weeks 8 – 9. All of the questions you see on the lecture page will be answered as we discuss these topics in class.  Just read the items in #2 below to prepare for our next two lectures.
  2. Please read the following (contained in the reading packet) to prepare for the two in class lectures on Eastern Ethics:
    1. Gandhi on Ahimsa
    2. Gandhi, “My Nonviolence”
    3. Study Guide for the Ethics for the New Millennium: please read “Key Concepts”  chapter summary segments only.
  3. After/during class today when each group concludes its presentation, you are responsible for turning in a group presentation for each group by 11:59 PM Monday evening.  Please fill out one form for each group.  Since there are 7 groups and you below to one of them, this means that you will fill out 6 review forms during Weeks 8-9.  You do not have to review your own group,  but do have to review your peer’s performance as a team member throughout the quarter; you should complete a review for each team member excluding yourself.
    1. Group Presentation Review Form
    2. Peer Review Form (completed for each team member except yourself)

If you have questions about completing the Group Presentation Review Form or the Peer Review Form, please ask me in class at the beginning of Week 8.

Week 10

The final exam is the only activity scheduled for Week 10 and you may leave after completing the exam.  It will take the same format as the midterm with short essay questions (12-15) of which you will have to answer 10.  Please focus on the objectives listed for each unit that we have covered since the midterm.  In general, the final will not be cumulative and will only cover things we have discussed since the midterm.  However, you are also expected to be able to distinguish between Mill’s version of utilitarianism and Kant’s deontological ethics on the exam.  Please ask me about this in class if it is not clear after the lectures are concluded.

Weeks 6 -7 News

Week 6:

  1. Please do the guide questions for Reiman’s essay: Driving to the Panopticon.
  2. Project Teams should be finalizing the 10 slides they will use for the presentation on Week 8 or 9.

Week 7:

  1. Please do the guide questions for Kant.
  2. Project Teams: during the planning session today, please practice your 10 minute presentation and check all slides.  Be sure to add a bibliography slide that details the sources used in the presentation.


Weeks 3 – 4 News:

This week we are beginning our study of Aristotle by reading selections from the Nicomachean Ethics. Aristotle was a student of Plato’s and upon his retirement, Plato turned over the Academy to Aristotle.

Note: the PDF document assigned for the Aristotle readings does not allow printing. It’s okay; please just bring the guide questions and any electronic resources you may have with the PDF available to class.

Week 3:

  1. Do the guide questions for Aristotle.
  2. Be sure that your group has five scholarly articles covering research on the topic that you have chosen for the team project.

Week 4:

  1. Do the guide questions for John Stuart Mill.
  2. Be sure that your group has  completed the proposal  detailing  the issue that you will cover  in the ethical theory that chosen for comparison.   For more information on completing the project, please see the project assignment page.

Weeks 1- 2 News:

Our first adventure in ethics takes place in the world of argumentation We’ll begin our introduction to ethics with a look at Arguments and Fallacies followed by a trip to the Ancient world to study Plato in Week 2

For Weeks 1 & 2:

  1. The Learning Contract is due Monday of Week 2.
  2. Guide questions for week 2 (Plato) are due (Monday Week 2).
  3. Next week (Week 2) you will be expected to bring the assigned PDFs.  If your plan is to print pages, please being only the assigned pages.  Do not print the entire PDF for any reading.  These are long texts!

Some helpful advice: it’s always wise not to fall behind early. As in any activity playing catch-up is harder than staying in the game. To that end you should download the readings and get started. Check your reading comprehension by trying to explain new concepts in your own words. Plato claimed that if you couldn’t give an adequate description of something, then you really did not understand the object in question. I agree; so get started early.

Tips for reading difficult philosophy passages:

Reading philosophy, especially contemporary philosophy, is like working your way through a maze. Remember you are joining a 2500 year old conversation in midstream and some of the concepts and passages will seem rather obscure at first. Philosophers use a lot of specialized terminology to refer to the ways in which we perceive and process information.

When I explain readings in class it looks relatively easy because I have experience in the field and can anticipate the context under which the assigned essay was written. A great way to learn a little more about each writer that we cover is to do some general research on your own. For example, you could spend 20 minutes or so on the web looking up the name of the author just to see what he/she has written about in the past. Lots of pages are devoted solely to one thinker and you’ll uncover valuable general background information that may help explain why/how the author wrote a particular essay.

In the beginning:

  1. Read difficult passages in the text more than once.
  2. Write down the terms that you do not understand and bring them to class.
  3. Write down any questions that you have while you are reading. Bring them to class and ask me to explain when we review the material.
As the course becomes more difficult:
  1. Learn about your work style.
    • At what time of day do you work best?
    • Do you prefer a quiet work environment or background noise to fill the void?
    • Do you learn best when you read (visual learning style), or when you hear (auditory learning style), or when you work through exercises (kinetic learning style)? Most people learn best with a mix of all three.
    • Learn to manage your time.
  2. Time yourself and note how long it takes you to read a section.
  3. Budget time in advance to work on reading assignments.
  4. Make the work environment pleasant so that you enjoy your surroundings.
  5. Divide large work tasks into small 45 minute units.
  6. Set small goals for completing a certain amount of reading.
  7. If you finish early, reward yourself with an early break.
  8. Readjust your schedule if you find that you are scheduling too few, or too many, tasks.
  9. Only schedule intense study for one hour periods with 10-15 minute breaks in between. Studies show that the adult attention span is about 40 minutes and our bodies need rest/relaxation at regular intervals.
  10. If you find that you are putting in six or more hours of study time per week and still having great difficulty mastering material, see me for an appointment. I am here to assist you.

These tips are “best practices” for the study of philosophy. If you have tips/suggestions that you would like to add to the list, e-mail me and I’ll review the additions.

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