OF THE COURSE
course is designed to help you begin
answering some fundamental
questions about life and what makes it worth living--Questions like
makes an action "right," or what makes us happy, what kinds of
should a person have or avoid having, and how we should treat other
(and ourselves), and what "work ethic" we want to follow. We won't be
to fully answer all of these, but our goal is to become wiser than we
when we started.
This is a "100" (introductory) level course.
you don't have to have any background in philosophy to succeed
But it also means that you probably haven't read much philosophy
So this course has three purposes:
terms of the grade for the course, if
what the readings are saying, you will pass. In addition, if you want
do more than pass, you should be able to compare the readings with each
other and apply them to concrete ethical issues.
- To help you develop your own ethical
to ethical questions
- To learn to read philosophical writing.
is hard to do
for all beginning students in philosophy. It was hard for me
But you have an advantage here that is brand-new: The computer format
this class! I am convinced by four years of testing of on-line
that you will learn how to read philosophy much better by this format
by typical classroom instruction!
- To explore major ethical theories by
| Philosophy, rightly defined, is
the love of wisdom.
Cicero (B.C.E. 106-43)
By three methods we may learn wisdom:
First, by reflection which is noblest;
second, by imitation, which is the
and third, by experience, which is the
bitterest. Confucius (551-479
In seeking wisdom thou art wise;
in imagining that thou hast attained it -
thou art a
fool. The Talmud ( 500? B.C.E.-400?
The clouds may drop down titles and
wealth may seek us;
but wisdom must be sought. Young (1683-1765)
Wise men learn more from fools than
fools from the wise.
Cato the Elder (234-149 B.C.E.)
There are two sentences inscribed upon
the Ancient oracle...
'Know thyself' and 'Nothing too much;' and
other precepts depend. Plutarch (46-120 C.E.)
The philosopher is Nature's pilot. And
there you have our
difference: to be in hell is to drift: to
be in heaven
is to steer. G. B. Shaw
To ridicule philosophy is truly
The wise only possess ideas;
the greater part of mankind are possessed
by them. Samuel Coleridge
The strongest symptom of wisdom in man
his being sensible of his own follies.
La Rochefoucauld (1613-1680)
Common sense in an uncommon degree
is what the world calls wisdom.
Samuel Coleridge (1772-1834)
Happy is the man who finds wisdom,
and the man who
for the gain from it is better than gain
and its profit better
She is more precious than jewels,
and nothing you desire
Long life is in her right hand;
in her left hand are
riches and honor.
Her ways are ways of pleasantness,
and all her paths are
She is a tree of life to those who lay hold
those who hold her fast
happy. Proverbs (1000?-200? B.C.E. )
Perfect wisdom has four parts:
Wisdom, the principle of doing things
Justice, the principle of doing things
equally in public
Fortitude, the principle of not fleeing
danger, but meeting
Temperance, the principle of subduing
desires and living
moderately. Plato (427?-347?
Philosophy is the art and law of life,
and it teaches us
what to do in all cases, and, like good
to hit the white at any distance.
Seneca (3 B.C.E. -65 C.E.)
Wisdom is to the mind what health is to
La Rochefoucauld (1613-1680)
The weak have remedies, the wise have
superior wisdom is superior bliss.
Call him wise whose actions, words, and
are all a clear because to a clear
why. Lavater (1741-1801)
- We don't receive wisdom; we must
discover it for ourselves
- after a journey that no one can take
for us or spare us.
- Marcel Proust (1871 - 1922)
- A prudent question is one half of
- Sir Francis Bacon (1561 - 1626)
- All readings for this course will be
available entirely on
line. There is no textbook required for this course, although you may
print out the materials and read them that way if you wish. The
online readings for this course will be just as difficult and as
extensive as a typical textbook, but they will be available here rather
than through a printed textbook.
- All the readings will be fairly
think of reading
them as a kind of "weight lifting." You should have the same experience
of resistance (and the same feeling of satisfied exhaustion) after a
on the readings as you do after a workout lifting weights; otherwise,
are not growing in your comprehension or ability.
- The four "units" of the course
have a timed
on-line multiple-choice quiz of 20 questions. These will be released to
the class after the start of a unit and will be available until about a
week after the end of a unit.
- Your grade for this will be determined by
questions you get right. To get an "A" for all the quizzes, you
have a 90% or higher quiz average. For a "B," you should have 80%, a
is 70%, and a "D" is 60%.
- When you submit your quiz on-line, you
ask for it to
be graded immediately and you can then view the results immediately.
- You will have a 55 minute time limit for
Once you start working on a quiz, you should finish it in 55 minutes or
less. Note: If you start a quiz and then log out of the
when you go back to the class the next day you will probably get a
saying you have been working on the quiz for 24 hours--23 hours longer
than you are allowed! The 55 minutes starts when you start taking the
and it ends when you finish pressing the "submit" button for all of
answers. 55 minutes should be enough time to finish the quiz
feeling pressured for time.
- You will have two chances to take each
questions may be slightly different for each time.
- I will record the higher of the two
you get if you
take the quiz twice. If you are satisfied with the grade you get
the first time, just don't take it a second time.
- On-campus students who do not wish to
on-line can complete them in room RC-215 or by making arrangements with
- A philosophy journal is a record of your
about the material we cover in class. It should be your personal
to what you study or your (rough) attempt to think about philosophy. It
does not need to be a polished "paper." Grammatical errors won't be
philosophy journal is not a daily dairy of what you did. Neither is a
journal just a record of what we discussed in class - it's not the same
as class notes. It is your personal reaction to class topics, and
usually will take a half-page to a page per entry.
- Your grade on this assignment will be
determined by how many
"acceptable" entries you have. If you make 2 entries a week for 15
you'll have 30 entries. To get an "A", you must have 25 entries.
For a "B", you must have 20 entries. A "C" is 15 entries. A "D" is 10
An "F" is fewer than 10 "acceptable" entries.
- You should "keep" the journal by writing
something in it
at least twice a week. Make a heading for each date you make an entry -
"Sept. 28" - then whatever thoughts you have that day. Each day's entry
is one entry. I'll read the entries and decide if they are focused on
philosophy material and if they relate that material to your own life.
If they are, you get a "yes" - if they do not seem to be, you get a
An entry might be a VERY insightful, VERY perceptive single sentence, a
paragraph, two separate paragraphs, or a couple of pages, but anything
less than a page may not be a fully-explored "entry."
- I will sometimes make comments on your
journal, but I will
not grade the entry. Feel free to explore the ideas in class, even if
not sure where your thoughts will wind up. You can get full credit for
an entry even if what you say is completely wrong.
- I have set up a special Journal
for you to keep your journal in. This is accessible from the course start-up page, or from the "Journal" icon on the
side of the "Course Content" pages.
- Only you and I have access to your
students have access to anyone else's journal forum.
- Each on-line reading assignment will have
study questions. A blank space will be provided for you to answer
to these questions in a few lines and automatically send your answers
- I will determine your grade for the
looking at the quantity and quality of your answers, and how much
your answers show. To get an "A" for the reading assignments,
should submit at least 75 answers. For a "B," you should send at least
60. A "C" is at least 45 answers, and a "D" is at least 30
You don't have to do every one of the reading assignment questions.
- I will let you know at mid-term time how
and class discussion entries you have sent.
We will use BlackBoard's "Discussions" for
class discussions. Each of the four units has its own discussion area.Explanation of 2
Your grade for this will be based on the
quantity and quality
of the messages you leave on-line , or based on the quantity and
of the comments you make in class. To get an "A" in on-line
discussions, you should submit at least 25 messages or replies to other
messages. For a "B," you should send at least 20. A "C" is at least 15
messages or replies, and a "D" is at least 10 messages or replies.
You can participate on-line by leaving
messages at any time;
there won't be a scheduled required class meeting time.
The class discussions will take place
in the classroom
or "on line" in the Class Discussions Forum.
- Two of the four units will have a short
assignment that asks
you to respond to one or two questions in a one to three page essay.
- Your grades for these will be based
of your essays. They should be written in standard, formal
You will be able to work on them on-line all through each unit, and be
able to go back and revise them before you submit them to me for
- These will all ask you to apply some
to a particular
"case" in ethics.
- The main difference between these written
your journal is that these assignments ask you to write in a more
disciplined way in response to particular essay questions. Your
are wide open; anything you are thinking about the class is fair game
a journal entry!
Grade of A:
- Consistently superior scores on quizzes
- Assignments completed in prescribed form,
time, with evidence
of careful research on subject matter and planned presentation.
- Consistently shows independent thinking
terms of the subject
matter of the course, either in written assignments and/or class
- Shows grasp of relationships among
parts of subject.
- Applies learning to new situations.
- Asks questions which are appropriate and
- Complies with attendance regulations.
Grade of B:
- Consistently above average achievement on
- Assignments completed in prescribed form
on time; above
average in quality.
- Demonstrates independent thinking in
and/or class discussions.
- Shows grasp of general organization of
subject matter by
noting parallels in written assignments and discussions.
- Demonstrates that the reasons for
are understood and some applications made.
- Asks questions which clarify presentation
and demonstrate above average knowledge.
- Complies with attendance regulations.
Grade of C:
- Satisfactory scores on examinations.
- Assignments completed in correct form, on
time, and of an
- Presents evidence of satisfactory grasp
matter, either written assignments and/or class discussions.
- Shows satisfactory grasp of organization
- Demonstrates some understanding of the
relationship of the
subject to academic, vocational, or social goals.
- Asks relevant questions.
- Complies with attendance regulations.
Grade of D:
- Below average examination scores but high
enough to show
- Assignments completed in imperfect form
on time; quality of work is marginal.
- Shows grasp of individual units of
matter but little
evidence of inter-relationships.
- Shows some application of material, but
- Is a passive listener rather than an
- Complies with the attendance regulations
Grade of F:
- Unsatisfactory test scores.
- Assignments omitted, incomplete or
- Is inattentive in class.
- Demonstrates little or no interest in or
- Unsatisfactory progress toward achieving
intended class goals.
- Does not comply with attendance
Office: R-215. On-line Office Hours
for BlackBoard CHAT): Same as regular office hours, and by arrangement. On
Line Office Hours: Tuesday and Thursday, 10:30-11:30 a.m.
Time) and by appointment. I always check my E-mail at these times. I
be available through the course "chat" feature at those times, but if
you should let me know ahead of time if you want to use this because I
may be working on a different part of the course and not notice someone
in "chat." My home
is (708) 415-1302. Regular campus E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
(This is an E-mail address you can use in addition to the built-in
E-mail feature.) The best way to reach me is to leave me a
is in the "mail" feature of your course. My "Home Page" is: http://www.triton.edu/depts/uc/ucwagerj.html