Course Requirements


Judgment about the progress of your work is based on the quality and depth of critical and constructive thinking exhibited on tests, quizzes, homework, position paper, and message board. Your course grade is determined by averaging the points you achieve from the following scores:

Test 1
The Problems of Ethics (20%)
Test 2
Personal Ethics (20%)
Test 3
Major Ethical Theories (20%)
Best 5 of (at least) 7 Quizzes (20%)
Position Paper (10%) and Comments posted on Position Papers on the Forum (10%)

Your final course grade is assigned according to your final average.


Judgment about the progress of your work is based on three test scores, a quiz average, and a writing average. The course is essentially performance-based and consists of a progressive series of concepts to be learned and mastered. For this reason, few students can do well in this course by ``cramming'' before exams.

All grades during the semester will be posted on the philosophy server. Mid-term grades will be posted on Lander's Blackboard.  Students should realize that the mid-term grade is only used to indicate their approximate progress at the point in time that the grade is issued and the mid-term grade is not a factor in computation of the student's final grade.

Normally, the course is not difficult if you attend class, keep up with the reading and notes daily, seek help on the message board, and do not attempt to learn a large amount of information in a short amount of time. A six-part distillation of notes on ``How to Study'' for this course is available on the Web at

and is well worth checking.

Tests: General Information

Tests are usually a combination of objective, short answer and problems. The subject-matter is primarily based on the reading, lecture notes, and specially assigned homework. In general, if you understand how to do the homework problems, you will do well on tests.

Even though tests are based on questions from the homework and reading assignments, the tests are neither based exclusively on memorized facts nor based exclusively on objective information derived from memorized arguments. Instead, the emphasis given in tests is on the operation and active transformation or manipulation of the concepts learned. Occasionally, some particularly difficult optional questions are included for extra credit.

On essay-type questions, be sure to answer with complete sentences; answers provided as lists of phrases or the names of concepts, alone, do not reflect an understanding of the subject and usually will be given little, if any, credit. Example tests, quizzes, and lecture notes, are online at


Quizzes can consist of three different kinds of work: (1) announced in-class quizzes, (2) unannounced in-class quizzes, and (3) special homework problems assigned. In-class quizzes are short specific questions written in class on an explicit philosophical topic or argument. The quiz topic is usually announced in advance of the quiz, and the topic has been thoroughly explored in a previous class. For some example quizzes, see

Your quiz average is based on the highest 5 scores from at least 7 quizzes offered.

Grade Evaluation

Your final course grade is assigned according to your final average as described above in the subsection ``Grades.'' The number of hours advised to study given below is usually an accurate guide to how well you will do in this class. If you study only for tests, your doing well in the course is doubtful. Many students assume they can do well in philosophy without doing homework and without studying outside of class because they have been able to do so in other high school or college classes. Since these students have become habituated to passing courses without much study, they are often alarmed to discover our philosophy course is substantially different from what they have expected.

(90 points or above) reflects approximately two hours study per class hour; a great deal of time, thought, and effort; and mastery of the subject.
(80 or above but below 90 points) reflects approximately one hour study per class hour; above average time, thought and effort; and superior achievement.
(70 or above but below 80 points) reflects approximately one-half hour study per class hour, average time, thought, and effort; and average achievement.
(60 or above but below 70 points) reflects cramming for examinations; minimum time, thought, and effort; below college level work; a less than adequate grasp of the course content; and less than satisfactory achievement.
reflects attending fewer than 75% of class meetings.
can only be given in cases of sudden illness or emergency beyond the student's control.

Extra Credit

Other than some occasionally offered intriguing problems in class, exceptionally good position papers, and more difficult problems on tests, no other opportunities for extra credit are offered in this class. Subjects and problems for this course have been chosen on the basis that they are the best and most important introduction to beginning study of logic. ``Extra Credit'' assignments are problems or projects in additional to class requirements--not a substitute for, or a make-up of, missed class assignments.

Philosophy Forum

The Philosophy Forum is an important part of obtaining help in real time from your classmates and your instructor. You are encouraged to post questions, problems, or answers on any topic relating to the course policies, procedures, or homework of our philosophy class. Your post is placed directly on the Philosophy Web and can be immediately accessed by anyone in the world. The Ethics Board on the Philosophy Forum is a good place to obtain a pre-evaluation of your homework, to seek answers to homework problems, solve procedural questions, and get help on your paper.

The purpose of the Philosophy Forum is to discuss the daily class activities of our ethics course: critical comments, position papers, homework questions, homework answers, housekeeping matters, class procedures, assignments, test dates, and class policies. (Cookies must be enabled on your computer for you to be able to use the Philosophy Forum--normally, this is the default configuration of most computers.)

Registering on the Philosophy Forum

  1. From the Philosophy Homepage, click on the ``Philosophy Forum'' link.
  2. From the Philosophy Forum page, click on the ``Register'' tab at the top of the page.
  3. Fill in a username and your email address--taking care to remember the username you have chosen. Click on the ``Register'' button. See Figure 1 for a screenshot. (The Captcha's, whereby you type a distorted word, are to prevent Spam Bots from entering the site.)

  4. In a few moments, a password will be sent to your email address.
    Figure 1: How to Register for Philosophy Forum

  5. From now on, when you go to the Philosophy Forum, click on the ``Login'' link at the top of the screen, and a login page will load. Log in with your username and the password you have just received via email. Be sure to take note of your password--perhaps, by saving the email message or writing it in the blank spaces below.


    Next, click the ``Login'' button. See Figure 2.

    Figure 2: How to Login to Philosophy Forum

  6. When the PHILOSOPHY FORUM page loads, click on the Philosophy Forum of interest.
  7. Lost Passwords: If you lose or forget your password to the Philosophy Forum, click on the ``Login'' link on the upper-right of the Philosophy Forum homepage:

  8. At the bottom of the LOGIN page in a box labeled ``Request Password,'' fill in your username in the username bar and click the ``Request'' button. Your password will be sent to you via email. (If you have forgotten your username also and you have posted to the Message Board at least once in the past, then find your message on the Message Board and record your username.)
  9. (You need to log in to the Philosophy Forum in order to post messages, comments, or papers, but you need not log in just to read the messages.)

    Figure 3: How to Post to the Philosophy Forum

Posting to Philosophy Forum

  1. If you wish to submit a message or a post, click on the blue hyperlink ``Ethics Discussion/Post'' under the boldface ``Philosophy 302: Ethics'' heading. Or if you wish to post your paper, click on ``Ethics Position Papers'' under the ``Philosophy 302: Ethics'' heading. When the ``Ethics Position Papers'' page loads, click on the ``Post Topic'' link. See Figures 3 and 4.

    Figure 4: How to Submit the Post or the Paper

  2. Type in the spaces provided the title of your post in the ``Subject'' bar and the text of the post in the ``Message Body'' area. You can ``copy and paste'' your post into the ``Message Body'' area from a word-processing program such as Microsoft WordTMor Notepad, if you wish. To copy and paste, with your mouse, highlight the text in your word-processing program, and for the Copy, press the Control Key and at the same time the letter ``C.'' For the Paste, click the mouse anywhere in the Message Body area, and press the Control Key and at the same time the letter ``V.''

Filling In PROFILE Page and ``Friendly Passwords''

When you log in to the Philosophy Forum for the first time, you should enter personal information on the PROFILE page. Login and click on the ``Options'' link at the top of the FORUM page. On the PROFILE page, you can type in a more easily remembered password if you wish to do so. Also, be sure to enter your real name so that you can be credited for your posts. If you wish to hide your email address, check the appropriate box.

Important: Unless you enter your real name on your PROFILE page your posts cannot be tabulated, and your posts cannot be credited. Any information entered here is available to the anyone in the class or, for that matter, anyone in the world. You need not give out any personal information if you choose not to do so.

If you click ``Options'' at the top of any page after you have logged in, you can find out how many times you have posted as well as find out about other personal data. To do so, click ``Info'' on the same line as your username on your PROFILE page. See the composite screenshot in Figure 5. Next, click on the ``Posts'' link for a list of all your messages. Also, if you wish, as noted above, you can type in a different, more friendly password. Remember to scroll way-down to the bottom of the page and click ``Change'' or your changes will not permanent.

Figure 5: How to Find a Record of Your Posts

Position Papers

Your short ethics position paper can be one of the topics chosen from the list online at

or a topic of your own choosing approved in advance by the instructor.

Your paper or project is to be posted to the Philosophy Forum Ethics Papers where other students can comment or ask questions online about your paper by posting messages underneath it.

Your position paper can be a reasoned defense or a critique of an ethical thesis. It should not be done as a research paper or a collection and arrangement of diverse sources. Instead, your paper should exhibit two central characteristics:

  1. an intensive analysis of a ethical thesis, and
  2. your criticism of the thesis and your supporting arguments.

The expression of your opinion or feelings, although important in its own right, must be supported by rational argument or justification (with supporting details) acceptable to a reasonable person. Your position paper should consist of the following parts:

  1. An Introduction where you state the purpose of the paper and what you intend to show. This might include summarizing the main parts of your paper.
  2. An Explication where you explain the basis for the philosophical view you are examining. Be sure to present this argument or thesis as persuasively as possible.
  3. The Counter-Argument where you present objections to the thesis and give your supporting reasons for those objections.
  4. The Resolution of the Problem where you either support the original view by overcoming the counter arguments or you reject the original view by showing the objections constitute unanswerable difficulties. (If you cannot take either of these two positions, then explain carefully why the problem cannot be solved in its present form. On many philosophical issues this is the best course to take. In such a case, try to suggest what further work needs to be done.)
  5. A Conclusion where you restate the purpose of the paper and summarize the main parts. Finally, restate your position.

Here's a quick outline of some of the ways ideas for your paper can be found:

  1. There are conflicts of assumptions, theories, or approaches to a subject. --- You explain the conflict and then show which solution is adequate.
  2. The author and some other writer with whom you are personally acquainted give different conclusions on the same subject. --- You contrast them and show which one has a stronger position.
  3. Two different disciplines approach the same topic using different methods. --- You explain the different methods and describe the respective insights into the topics according to the method used.
  4. The language used to explain something is uncertain, and the explanations are no more than rationalizations. --- You analyze the language and explanations. Then, you finish the reasoning or at least clarify the language.
  5. Conclusions are offered, but no supporting arguments are given. --- If you agree, give detailed supporting reasons; if you disagree, give your reasoning.
  6. Different parts of the text seem contradictory or in opposition.--- You can reconcile the difference or explain the intellectual development of the text or show that the opposition cannot be reconciled.
  7. New facts, discoveries, or ideas demand that the text be modified or supplemented. --- You explain the new developments and show how the text can be modified.

Grades Online

You may access your grades online at any time on the philosophy server (not Lander's Website Blackboard) with a username and password from this course as described below (not your Blackboard username and password).

Username: Your username for the course is the first letter of your first name followed by your complete last name in lowercase letters and without spaces. For example ``Lauren Bouchett Satterfield'' would have the login username of ``lsatterfield'' with no limitation of number of letters as with some email programs.

Password: Your password is your Lander L-number (without the hyphen). Type a capital L followed by eight digits: e.g., Lxxxxxxxx.

Where to Log In: From the Philosophy Homepage, under the gray heading entitled ``Class Grades,'' click on the yellow link ``Current Grades Online'' as shown in Figure 6. When the GRADES LOGIN page loads do the following:

Figure 6: Where to Find Grades Online

  1. Choose the class ``Ethics'' from the drop-down box. Note: If you log in incorrectly, be sure to re-select your class from the drop-down box because an incorrect login will re-set the class to a default philosophy course. See Figure 7.

    Figure 7: How to Log in for Grades

  2. Enter your username for grades exactly as noted above in the section in bold entitled ``Username.''
  3. Enter your password exactly as described above.
  4. Also, it might be a good idea to enter your username and password here in the syllabus for additional assurance your username and password will not be lost:


  5. The login process is case-sensitive--be sure to match the case of the letters--capital or lower case. If you obtain the result of ``bad login,'' check to see if the Caps Lock key is on, or you have confused the letter ``l'' with the number ``1'' or with the capital letter ``I.'' Occasionally, the number ``0'' can be confused with the capital letter ``O.''
Confidentiality of student grades is a serious concern. Please try to keep your Lander L-number as secure as your social security number.

Your Job

Our course is not difficult if you keep up with the assigned work. At the very beginning of the course, you need to ask yourself if you can spend a minimum of three hours a week studying for your Ethics course. If work, heavy course load, or family responsibilities interfere with this minimum number of study hours, you should not attempt this course.

When you seek help during office hours, the first items I will check are your posts and questions to the Philosophy Forum, your class notes, book notes, and homework problems--so that I can know where to begin. When a student claims he or she did not understand the subject well enough to ask any questions, take any notes, or attempt any homework, I am usually left with the impression the student has not yet attempted studying. In this regard, a good place to see how to study in our course is the ``Notes on How to Study'' on the Web at In past semesters, many students have found these study tips helpful.

My Job

We will find that ethics is quite essential in most fields of endeavor.

If I do my job correctly, our ethics course will be one of the most valuable in your university career.

Lee Archie 2010-08-31