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Columbia College
Evening Campus
1001 Rogers Street
Columbia, MO 65216
(800) 231-2391


17 / FALL1 - Early Fall 8-Week Session

Course Syllabus

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Course Syllabus
17 / FALL1 - Early Fall 8-Week Session
Evening Campus
1001 Rogers Street
Columbia, MO 65216
(800) 231-2391

Course Prefix and Number: PHIL 330
Course Title: Ethics
Semester Credit Hours: 3
Class Day and Time: Wed 
Additional Notes:

This course is web-enhanced, taught entirely in a classroom setting using D2L course management software to supplement in-seat content.


Catalog Description

An examination of the foundations of moral philosophy and a careful study of the three main ethical theories, i.e., consequentialism, deontology, and virtue theory.  


Nicomachean Ethics 2nd edition
Author: Aristotle
ISBN: 9780872204645
Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals 3rd edition
Author: I. Kant
ISBN: 9780872201668
Utilitarianism 2nd edition
Author: J.S. Mill
ISBN: 9780872206052

Course Learning Outcomes

  1. Student critically evaluates philosophical arguments from moral philosophy for soundness and validity
  2. Student formulates sound and valid philosophical arguments dealing with moral philosophy
  3.  Student critically analyzes philosophical arguments, issues, and problems from moral philosophy
  4. Student draws upon a broad familiarity and understanding of the literature of moral philosophy in order to pose compelling philosophical questions.
  5. Student cogently expresses both philosophical problems found in moral philosophy and plausible solutions to those problems in accord with best philosophical practices

Additional Instructor Objectives

  • Construct formal arguments from informal written passages and essays.
  • Distinguish among a variety of different kinds of claims and determine the kinds of evidence needed to support such claims.
  • Better express one’s own perspective through writing and speaking.

Special Course Requirements

Because this class meets once a week, please expect 20-50 pages of reading per class, with the average reading falling somewhere in the middle.

There are three main written assignments (called Critiques); each are between 400-600 words. More specific requirements can be found in Critique Instructions on D2L.

Instructional Methods

This class will be a blend of discussion, small group activities, and some lecture. If you have any questions at any point during class, please feel free to ask.

Out of Class Activities

Students are expected to come to class on time and be prepared to contribute when class starts. This means that students are expected to complete all required readings prior to the beginning of class.

Graded Activities

In-class activities/quizzes200 Points20% of grade
Description -

There are a variety of in-class activities and assignments which are meant to give you a chance to practice the kinds of skills and abilities this course is designed to help you develop. They are always low-stakes and are all designed to help you achieve the course goals.

Method of Evaluation -

Grading for these assignments will either be a completion grade or Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory (S=10/U=5). At the end of the semester, I will replace one of your lowest activity grades with one of your highest.

Midterm Exam200 Points20% of grade
Description -

An exam covering all material discussed the first four weeks of the course. The midterm exam will take place on Wednesday of Week Four.

Method of Evaluation -

Midterm consists of a true/false section, an identification section, a short answer section, and an essay section.
At the end of the course, your midterm exam grade can be replaced with your final exam grade if and only if your final exam grade turns out to be higher than your midterm exam grade. For example: if your midterm exam grade is a 70, but your final exam grade is a 90, then I will change your midterm exam grade to a 90. I do this only to help with first test anxiety, so this doesn't work in the reverse. Only the midterm exam grade can be replaced with the final exam grade, not the other way around. So the best policy is: do your very best on both!

Discussion Posts100 Points10% of grade
Description -

There are four discussion prompts over the 8-week course, posted on D2L. You will be required to make at least three posts for each prompt: one original post that addresses the prompt, and two response posts that address other students’ posts. Original posts are due by noon on Wednesdays, and the two reply posts are due by noon on Fridays, of the week the prompt is assigned. 

Method of Evaluation -

Discussion Posting Grading Criteria

Point Value

(out of 10)

Reasons given for one’s position:

Messages present others with reasons to adopt one’s own position, rather than just listing things that you happen to believe, but don’t really care if others believe it or not.


Message Coherence:

Messages explain issues, provide new perspectives, effectively question, or meaningfully elaborate on topic


Relevance of Replies to Other Messages:

Responses elaborate, contradict, modify, or explain the original message


I will replace your lowest discussion prompt grade with your highest discussion prompt grade at the end of the course.
Critiques300 Points30% of grade
Description -

You will be required to write three Critiques over arguments found in the readings. Critiques must be at least 400 words, with a maximum word count of 600. Each Critique must be submitted electronically via D2L. All course assignments must be submitted as either Word document files (.doc, .docx, etc) or Rich Text Format (.rtf). The file extension can be changed by going to the “Save As” option in your word processing program). Assignments will not be accepted via E-Mail. Late work is not accepted. Specific instructions for these Critiques will be posted on D2L, along with a grading rubric and an example Critique.

Method of Evaluation -

Each Critique will be graded according to the grading rubric posted on D2L. At the end of the semester, I will replace one of your lowest Critique grades with your highest Critique grade. See the Critique Instructions, the Critique grading rubric, and the example Critique posted on D2L for more information.

Final Exam200 Points20% of grade
Description -

An exam covering all material discussed the last four weeks of the course (i.e.., not comprehensive). The final exam will take place Wednesday of Week Eight.

Method of Evaluation -

The final will consist of a true/false section, an identification section, a short answer section, and an essay section.


Grading Scale

90-100 A
80-89 B
70-79 C
60-69 D
0-59 F

Additional Information / Instructions

Here is some advice on how to do well in this class:
First, if you have a question, please ask it! I definitely encourage asking questions during class time, and of course you can also ask questions on the discussion board. I try to anticipate questions you might have, but I won't be able to anticipate them all. Make the most of this course for yourself!
Second, it's a good idea to have a partner in the class you can share notes with. While I will post my lecture slides after each class, having another student's take on the material will likely be more helpful.
Third, when doing the readings, try not to get stuck on a single sentence or paragraph. If something sounds strange or doesn't make sense, make a note of it and continue on. But then--importantly--remember to ask about it in class or on the discussion board!
Finally, when doing written assignments, you can relieve anxiety by chopping up the assignment into multiple mini-activities. Separate the brain-storming, free-writing session, from the outline drafting session, from the rough draft sessions, from the final draft session--then do these sessions on different days if possible. Trying to do all of this at one time will stress you out and likely lead to an assignment that is of worse quality than had you separated these sessions out.

Schedule of Activities and Assignments

Week 1
Ethics; Divine Command Theory
  • Review syllabus
  • (Re)introduce philosophical argumentation
  • Introduction to Ethics
  • Divine Command Theory
  • "Introduction to Ethics and Moral Reasoning" -- Shafer-Landau (posted on D2L)
  • "Divine Command Theory" -- Shafer-Landau (posted on D2L)
Week 2
Cultural Relativism and Virtue Ethics
  • Examine arguments for and against Ethical Relativism
  • Begin discussion of Virtue Ethics
  • "Ethical Relativism" -- Shafer-Landau (posted on D2L)
  • The Nichomachean Ethics: Books I and II

Respond to Discussion Prompt #1 on D2L.

Week 3
Virtue Ethics
  • Finish Virtue Ethics
  • Examine the empirical challenge to Virtue Ethics
  • Review for midterm exam (for next meeting)
  • The Nichomachean Ethics: Book III
  • "Are There Any Virtues? The Empirical Challenge" -- Valerie Tiberius  (posted on D2L)

Respond to Discussion Prompt #2 on D2L.
Submit Critique #1 on D2L.

Additional Notes:

At the close of class, we will review for the Midterm Exam

Week 4
Utilitarianism (midterm exam in class)
  • Take midterm exam
  • Begin discussion of Utilitarianism
  • Vote on Applied Ethics topics
  • Utilitarianism: Chapters 1 and 2

The midterm exam will be taken at the beginning of class.

Additional Notes:

This week's discussion on Utilitarianism will not be on the midterm exam -- but it will be on the final exam.

Week 5
  • Finish our discussion of Utilitarianism
  • Utilitarianism: Chapters 3 and 4
  • "Extreme and Restricted Utilitarianism" -- Smart (link to article on D2L)

Respond to Discussion Prompt #3 on D2L.

Week 6
  • Begin our discussion of Deontology 
  • Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals

Submit Critique #2 on D2L.

Week 7
  • Finish our discussion of Deontology 
  • Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals

Respond to Discussion Prompt #4 on D2L.

Additional Notes:

We will review for the final exam at the close of class.

Critique #3 is due by 11:59pm on the day after our last meeting, submitted electronically on D2L.

Week 8
Applied Ethics
  • Examine contemporary cases in applied ethics (top three topics, as ranked by the applied ethics topic vote)
  • Applied Ethics articles (TBA - links will be available on D2L)

Bring a rough draft of your Critique #3 to class for peer-review in-class activity. 

  • The final exam will be taken at the beginning of class.

Library Resources

Columbia College Resources - Online databases are available at the Columbia College Stafford Library.  You may access them using your CougarTrack login and password when prompted.

Course Policies and Procedures


Columbia College Policy - Columbia College students are expected to attend all classes and laboratory periods for which they are enrolled.  Students are directly responsible to instructors for class attendance and work missed during an absence for any cause.  If absences jeopardize progress in a course, an instructor may withdraw a student from the course with a grade of "F" or "W" at the discretion of the instructor.  For additional information, see the Columbia College policy on Student Attendance.

Academic Integrity

Columbia College Policy - Columbia College students must fulfill their academic obligations through honest, independent effort.  Dishonesty is considered a serious offense subject to strong disciplinary actions.  Activities which constitute academic dishonesty include plagiarism, unauthorized joint effort on exams or assignments, falsification of forms or records, providing false or misleading information, or aiding another in an act of academic dishonesty.  For more information, see the Columbia College Academic Integrity Policy and Procedures.

Class Conduct and Personal Conduct

Columbia College Policy - Students must conduct themselves so others will not be distracted from the pursuit of learning.  Students may be disciplined for any conduct which constitutes a hazard to the health, safety, or well-being of members of the College community or which is deemed detrimental to the College's interests. Discourteous or unseemly conduct may result in a student being asked to leave the classroom.  For more information, see the Columbia College Student Code of Conduct and Student Behavioral Misconduct Policy and Procedures.

Instructor Policy - Concerns about grades or any other “business” aspects of the course should be reserved for one-on-one discussions outside of class (preferably in person, if possible).  These concerns will not be addressed during class sessions.

Cancelled Class Make-Up

Columbia College Policy - Classes cancelled because of inclement weather or other reasons must be rescheduled.  For more information, see the Columbia College Inclement Weather Policy.

Make-Up Examinations

Columbia College Policy - Make-up examinations may be authorized for students who miss regularly scheduled examinations due to circumstances beyond their control.  Make-up examinations must be administered as soon as possible after the regularly scheduled examination period and must be administered in a controlled environment.

Campus Policy - Make up examinations are scheduled on designated Saturday mornings 9am in 103 Buchanan. Students must present a picture I.D. in order to be admitted to the testing session. Students must arrange with the instructor to take the exam before or after it is given in class and permission to take a makeup examination (or any graded activity) is granted at the discretion of the instructor.

Instructor Policy - Because there is "built-in charity measures" in my grading system, I do not accept late work. Make-exams will be handled per Columbia College policy.

Adding, Dropping, or Withdrawing from a Course

Columbia College Policy - Students may add a course through Wednesday of the first week of the session and drop a course without academic or financial liability through close of business on Monday of the second week of the session.  Once enrolled, a student is considered a member of that class until he or she officially drops or withdraws in accordance with College policy.  An official drop/withdrawal takes place only when a student has submitted a Drop/Add/Withdrawal form.  A failure to attend class, or advising a fellow student, staff or adjunct faculty member of an intent to withdraw from a class does not constitute official drop/withdrawal.  The drop/add/withdrawal periods begin the same day/date the session starts, not the first day a particular class begins. If a student stops attending a class but does not submit the required Drop/Withdrawal form a grade of "F" will be awarded.  For more information, see the Columbia College Registration Policy and Procedures.

Withdrawal Excused

Columbia College Policy - A student may request an excused withdrawal (WE) under extraordinary circumstances by submitting a Drop/Withdrawal form accompanied by a complete explanation of the circumstances and supporting documentation to the location director.  The WE request must include all classes in which the student is currently enrolled.  The Vice President for Adult Higher Education is the approving authority for all WE requests.  A student who receives approval of their WE request may still be required to return some or all of the federal financial assistance received for the session.  For more information, see the Columbia College Withdrawal Policy.


Columbia College Policy - A student may request that the instructor award a grade of "I" due to extraordinary circumstances (unforeseen or unexpected circumstances beyond the student's control) that prevent a student from completing the requirements of a course by the end of a session.  An "I" will not be given because a student is failing, negligent or not meeting requirements.  If the instructor believes an "I" is appropriate, the instructor will specify the work needed to complete the course and the time allowed to complete the work.  Work missed must be made up within two subsequent sessions unless the instructor specifies an earlier date.  Extensions beyond two sessions must be approved by the Vice President for Adult Higher Education.  If the work is completed during the specified time period, the instructor will change the "I" to the grade earned.  If the work is not completed during the specified time, the instructor may allow the incomplete to remain on the student's permanent record or change it to any other letter grade.  For more information, see the Columbia College Undergraduate Grading Policy.

Grade Appeal

Columbia College Policy - A student may appeal any grade given if it is believed to be in error or in conflict with Columbia College policy and procedures.  The student must state in writing to the location director why the grade awarded is believed to be in error and request a desired remedy.  The faculty member who awarded the grade will be given the opportunity to comment on all student allegations.  If the issue cannot be resolved at the location the appeal will be transmitted through the location director to the Vice President for Adult Higher Education.  A grade appeal must be received for review by the Vice President for Adult Higher Education prior to the end of 60 days from the date the grade was awarded.  For more information, see the Columbia College Undergraduate Grading Policy.


Columbia College Policy - Course prerequisites are established to ensure that a student has adequate academic preparation to succeed in a particular course.  Staff members will attempt to ensure that students meet prerequisite requirements.  However, it is the student's responsibility to closely examine the course descriptions to determine if prerequisites exist and to enroll in courses in the proper sequence.  In some exceptional cases it may be apparent that the student possesses the required skills and knowledge to succeed in a particular course, even though they have not taken the prerequisite course.  In this case the prerequisite course may be waived by the location director.  Waiver of a course as a prerequisite does not remove the requirement to complete the course if it is a requirement for the student's degree program.


Columbia College Policy - The College provides all students access to CougarMail (the official means of e-mail communication for the College), online resources from the Stafford Library, and their Columbia College records (transcripts, grades, student schedules, etc.) through CougarTrack.


Columbia College Policy - The official student email address (also known as CougarMail) will be used for all official correspondence from faculty and staff.  Students are responsible for the information received and are required to monitor their CougarMail account on a regular basis.  Students may forward their CougarMail to another email account but will be held responsible for the information sent over CougarMail, even if there is a problem with the alternate mail service.

Cell Phones

Columbia College Policy - Cell phones can be a distraction to the learning process.  Location directors or course instructors may require that cell phones be turned off or set to vibrate during class periods.  Students requiring special arrangements to receive a cell phone call during class should make prior arrangements with their location director or course instructor.

Instructor Policy - Because philosophy is practiced in discussion, I prohibit electronics during class time (notwithstanding breaks or special arrangments, of course). I will be posting all of my lecture slides after each class, so there will be no need to copy them down. 

Bookstore Information

Columbia College Policy - As part of Truition, students will receive their course materials automatically as described below. 

eText Information

If a course uses an eText, (see Textbook information above) the book will be available directly in Desire2Learn (D2L) and through the VitalSource eText reader the Friday before the session begins, if registered for courses prior to that date.  Students will have a VitalSource account created for them using their CougarMail email address.  Upon first login to VitalSource, students may need to verify their account and update their VitalSource password.  More information about how to use the VitalSource platform, including offline access to eTexts, can be found in D2L.  Students that would like to order an optional loose-leaf print-on-demand copy of eligible eTexts can do so through the VitalSource Bookshelf at an additional cost.  Once orders are placed, it can take approximately five to seven business days for students to receive their print-on-demand books.

Physical Course Materials Information

Students enrolled in courses that require physical materials will receive these materials automatically at the address on file with Columbia College.  Delivery date of physical materials is dependent on registration date and shipping location.  Please refer to confirmation emails sent from Ed Map for more details on shipping status.

Returns:  Students who drop a course with physical course materials will be responsible for returning those items to Ed Map within 30 days of receipt of the order.  More specific information on how to do so will be included in the package received from Ed Map.  See here for Ed Map's return policy.  Failure to return physical items from a dropped course will result in a charge to the student account for all unreturned items.

Students who opt-out of having their books provided as part of TruitionSM are responsible for purchasing their own course materials.  Visit for details.


Columbia College Policy - The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) affords students certain rights with respect to their education records.  For more information, see the Columbia College Family Education Rights and Privacy Policy.

Student Accessibility Resources

Columbia College Policy - Students with documented disabilities who may need academic services for this course are required to register with the office of Student Accessibility Resources.  Until the student has been cleared through this office, accommodations do not have to be granted.  If you are a student who has a documented disability, it is important for you to read the entire syllabus as soon as possible.  The structure or the content of the course may make an accommodation not feasible.  Student Accessibility Resources is located in Student Affairs in AHSC 215 and can be reached by phone at (573) 875-7626.  For more information, see the Columbia College ADA and Section 504 Policy for Students.

Alcohol and Other Drugs: Columbia College Policies & Resources

Columbia College Policy - Columbia College recognizes the negative health effects associated with the use, possession, and distribution of controlled and/or illicit substances, and their detrimental impact on the quality of the educational environment.  Therefore, all members of the College community share in the responsibility of protecting the campus environment by exemplifying high standards of professional and personal conduct.  For more information and resources, see the Columbia College Alcohol and Other Drugs Policy.

Tobacco-Free Policy

Columbia College Policy - The following policy goes into effect on August 21, 2017.  Columbia College values and is concerned for the health and well-being of its students, employees and visitors. The College is committed to providing a healthful and productive educational and employment environment for members of the College community. Consistent with this commitment and in the interest of the general health and welfare of the College community, the College prohibits the use of all tobacco products and related devices on all College property and premises.  For more information, see the Columbia College Tobacco-Free Policy.


Columbia College Policy - Discrimination, harassment, and retaliation on the basis of protected status (see Notice of Non-Discrimination and Equal Opportunity for a definition of "protected status") are strictly prohibited. Persons who engage in such conduct are subject to discipline up to and including termination or dismissal.  For more information, see the Columbia College Non-Discrimination and Equal Opportunity Policy and Complaint Resolution Procedure.

Columbia College Policy Library

Columbia College Policy - The policies set forth in the Online Policy Library are the current official versions of College policies and supersede and replace any other existing or conflicting policies covering the same subject matter.  The Online Policy Library is currently under construction with new policies being added on a frequent basis and the policies currently listed are not comprehensive of every College policy.  Questions regarding the Online Policy Library should be directed to the Office of the General Counsel.  For more information on policies applicable to students, see Student Policies.  For more information on policies applicable to the entire Columbia College community, see College-Wide Policies.

Technical Support

Columbia College Policy - If you have problems accessing the course or posting your assignments, contact your instructor, the Columbia College Technology Solutions Center, or the D2L Helpdesk for assistance.  If you have technical problems with the VitalSource eText reader, please contact VitalSource.  Contact information is also available within the online course environment.

        - Columbia College Technology Solutions Center:, 1-800-231-2391 ext. 4357

        - D2L Helpdesk:, 1-877-325-7778

        - VitalSource:, 1-855-200-4146


Course Evaluations - All students are encouraged to complete the online course evaluations. Students are notified by way of CougarMail when the evaluations are available. The evaluations are used to help instructors improve their teaching techniques. They are reviewed carefully by the Evening Campus Director, Assistant Director, and several AHE Administrators. Student should know that all responses are completely confidential, instructors only view results after grades are posted. Your input is valued and appreciated.

Late graded assignment/activity policy - All graded assignments or activities are due when stated in the syllabus or by the instructor. Graded assignments or activities submitted after the stated due date/time will not receive any credit unless the instructor has specifically stated that full or partial credit may be awarded to late submissions.


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