Internet Explorer 6 is no longer supported. Please use a newer browser.

Internet Explorer 7 is no longer supported. Please use a newer browser.

Concourse works best with JavaScript enabled.

North Idaho College • Coeur d'Alene • Social & Behavioral Sciences • Philosophy

Ethics PHIL-103

  • Fall 2012
  • Sections 1, 66, 67
  • 3.0 Credits
  • 08/28/2012 to 12/18/2012
  • Modified 09/15/2012

This class meets every Monday and Wednesday from 8:00AM to 08:50AM in MHS 117.

Our first class will be on Monday August 27 at 8 AM.  

I look forward to meeting with you.

Contact Information

Instructor: Magne Kristiansen

Office Hours

  • Wednesday, 3:00 PM to 6:00 PM, MOL 209

Please text me for an appointment at this time or at some other mutually convenient time.


PHIL-103  Ethics:   Ethics is the investigation and discussion of personal, social, and professional moral issues and the principles and thinking skills used for their resolution. Emphasis is on the development and application of reasoning skills for decision making in the moral domain. This course provides awareness, sensitivity, insights, and skills essential to the success and moral integrity of the person in today's morally complex world. It fulfills an arts and humanities requirement for the A.S. and A.A. degrees. Lecture: 3 hours per week Recommended: ENGL 101


Elements of Moral Philosophy

  • Author: Rachels & Rachels
  • Publisher: McGraw Hill
  • Edition: 7th (but 5th and 6th are also acceptable)
  • ISBN: 978-0078038242


PHIL 103 Ethics: These outcomes must include but are not limited to

Understand the metaethical theories and problems of egoism and altruism, relativism and universalism/absolutism, and values/valuing.

Understand teleological/consequentialist, deontological/non-consequentialist, and virtue-centered ethical principles and theories.

Apply these principles and theories to the analysis, evaluation, and decision-making for contemporary individual and social moral issues.

ETHICS aims to sharpen and deepen your thinking and your personal reflections on the ethical issues that face us as an individual and as a society. We do this be by looking at the main theories of philosophical ethics and by thinking about, and thinking through a number of interesting and controversial ethical issues on a wide range of topics.

We have an excedllent concise textbook, but perhaps more important will be your interactions with the other students in your class. There will be readings, assignments, discussions and a mandatory participation in a class blog.

Although the class structure is (always) subject to change, the syllabus will follow the following topics:

1. INTRODUCTION What is ethics and morality?

  • Introductory
  • Religion and tradition.
  • At our mothers' knee...
  • Why are these not enough?
  • What is the role of reason?
  • The incomprehensibility of it all.
  • For next week read Rachels Chapter 1

2. What is Morality?

  • Three cases for discussion
  • What has been brought up?
  • What has been brought in?
  • Illegal vs. immoral [Part I]
  • For next week read Rachels Chapter 2

3. Cultural Relativism

  • Is morality relative to your culture?
  • What IS culture?
  • Morality vs. taboos vs. social conventions
  • [Discussion topics]
  • For next week read Rachels Chapter 3

4. Subjectivism

  • Is morality relative to your personal tastes?
  • What are the limits of a personal morality?
  • For next week read Rachels Chapter 4

5.  Does Morality Depend on Religion?

  • How do we know the Laws of God?
  • what does God demand of us?
  • What if there is no God? 

6.   Ethics and Religion (cont.)

  • Further discussions on this controversial topic
  • Morality of Do-Not vs. morality of Do.
  • Ethics and self-improvements
  • For next week read Rachels Chapter 5

7.  Ethical Egoism

  • The appeal to selfish interests
  • Why be moral?
  • Ethical Egoism and Religion
  • Illegal vs. immoral [Part II]
  • For next week read Rachels Chapter 6

8. The Utilitarian Approach

  • The classic theory
  • Bentham and Mill
  • Where it works
  • For next week read Rachels Chapter 7

9. The Debate Over Utilitarianism

  • Where utilitarianism fails to work
  • Recent reinterpretations
  • For next week read Rachels Chapter 8

 10. Are There Absolute Moral Rules?

  • The desire for moral knowledge
  • Is there always a right thing to do?
  • For next week read Rachels Chapter 9

 11. Kant and Respect for Persons

  • Kant on moral rules
  • Kant on treating people as ends, not only as means.
  • How do we evaluate Kant?
  • For next week read Rachels Chapter 10 

12.  The Idea of a Social Contract

  • Thomas Hobbes on the political social contract
  • The social contract reinterpreted as the basis of morality
  • For next week read Rachels Chapter 11

13.  The Ethics of Care

  • Feminism and a new thrust in moral theory
  • Is there a difference between how men and women approach moral problems?
  • THe ethics fo care is not dependent on feminism or gender
  • For next week read Rachels Chapter

14. The Ethics of Human Excellence / Virtue Ethics

  • Aristotle and the theory of the Mean
  • Confucius and virtue ethics
  • How does this help?
  • For next week read Rachels Chapter

 15.  What Would A Satisfactory Moral Theory Be Like?

  • Rachels' view?
  • Yours?
  • For next week read Rachels Chapter

 16.  Summation / What have you learned?

  • Well?
  • Ethics and morality - looking foreward.


Course Policies

Grades will be based on the points accumulated over the semster. Assignments will be 40% of the grade, discussions, participations and blogs will be 40% of the grade. Tests and examinations will be the rest.  

Division Policies

For a complete explanation of the North Idaho College Statement on Academic Honesty & Academic Integrity please ferfer to Policy 5.06 & Procedure 5.06.01: 

Academic Dishonesty
Violations of academic integrity involve using or attempting to use any method that enables an individual to misrepresent the quality or integrity of his or her work at North Idaho College. These violations include the following:

Cheating: using or attempting to use unauthorized materials, information, or study in any academic exercise.
Fabrication: falsifying or inventing any information or citation in an academic exercise.
Plagiarism: knowingly representing the words or ideas of another as one's own in an academic exercise.
Violation of Intellectual Property: stealing, altering, or destroying the academic work of other members of the community or the educational resources,materials, or official documents of the college.Facilitating Academic Dishonesty: knowingly helping another to attempt to violate any provisions of this policy.

Student Responsibility
As outlined in the Student Code of Conduct, all North Idaho College students have both rights and responsibilities: Please access www.nic.ferpa.StudentCode/index.htm for complete information that pertains to this subject.

North Idaho College, in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and Section 504/508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, provides both services and accommodations to students who meet the guidelines provided in these acts.  For a complete description, please see:

Please contact the North Idaho College Center for Educational Access in Seiter Hall, Room 100 for assistance.  Phone:  208-769-5947

To withdraw from all courses a student must obtain a college withdrawal form from the Registrar's Office, secure the signatures of those persons indicated on the form, and return the form to the Registrar's office. No student may withdraw from the college after the final date of withdrawal from courses except for compelling and extraordinary reasons. In such circumstances a student must petition the Admissions and Academic Standards Committee for late withdrawal from college using the college withdrawal form available in the Registrar's Office.

For complete information regarding student withdrawals, please see the North Idaho College Policy 5.04.01: 

Institutional Policies

Student Responsibilities

As students undertake to fulfill the obligations and duties outlined in this document, the college community of which they are a part undertakes to respect the basic freedoms of students. In recognition of students’ rights and dignity as members of the college, North Idaho College is committed to the principles found in the NIC Student Handbook.

Center for Educational Access/Disability Support Services

In compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and Section 504/508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, North Idaho College provides accommodations to eligible students who experience barriers in the educational setting due to learning, emotional / mental, physical, visual, or hearing disabilities.  Instructors will provide accommodations to students only after having received a Letter of Accommodation from the Center for Educational Access. 

If a student would like to request accommodations, he or she must contact the Center for Educational Access so that a Letter of Accommodation may be sent to the instructor.  Students requesting accommodations must contact the Center for Educational Access at the beginning of each semester.


By registering at North Idaho College, you agree to provide payment by the due dates. You also understand that collection costs and legal fees will be added if the services of a collection agency are utilized.

If you are registered for a class and do not attend, you will still be liable for the tuition unless you drop the class.


Last day for students to withdraw from semester-length classes for the fall term: November 7, 2011. 

Instructor-Initiated Withdrawal: Instructors have the right to withdraw students for academic reasons up until the same date; in doing so, instructors must notify students through NIC e-mail within 48 hours of submitting documentation to the Registrar's office, and students have the right to appeal the instructor's decision. For more information, see the NIC Procedure:

Financial Aid Satisfactory Progress Policy: All withdrawals, whether for individual classes, total withdrawal from school, or instructor-initiated are not considered to be satisfactory progress for financial aid.  See the Financial Aid Satisfactory Progress Policy:

Additional withdrawal information:


An incomplete is assigned only if the student has been in attendance and has done satisfactory work to within three weeks of the end of the semester (or proportional length of time for a course of less than a semester in length).  Incompletes are issued only in cases of extenuating circumstances, such as severe illness or injury.  Incompletes are not issued in cases in which the student is simply unable to complete his/her work within the specified semester or session.  If a final grade of "I" is recorded, the instructor will indicate in writing to the Registrar what the student must do to make up the deficiency.  The instructor will indicate in the written statement what permanent grade should be entered if the Incomplete is not removed by the deadline.

All incomplete grades must be removed within six weeks after the first class day of the following term, excluding the summer session.  If the Incomplete is not removed by that date, the grade reverts to the grade indicated by the instructor's written statement authorizing the incomplete.

Discrimination and Harassment

North Idaho College has a zero tolerance policy for any acts of discrimination or harassment of any kind.  For more information, please see the NIC Student Handbook, Code of Conduct Article III and Article VIII. Compliance efforts with respect to these laws and regulations are the responsibility of each member of the campus community and are under the direction of the Dean of Students Office for Student Issues (2nd floor, ESU, 676-7156) and the Human Resources Office (Sherman Administration Building, 769-3304) for employee issues.

Institutional Statement

DROP FOR NON-PAYMENT:  By registering at North Idaho College, you agree to provide payment by the due dates. You will be dropped from classes if payment is not received by  5 p.m. Pacific Time on the third day of the semester. Students on the waitlist will be given the option to register for classes after students are dropped for non-payment.

DROP FOR NON-ATTENDANCE:  You must attend and participate in the first week of this class. Failure to do so will result in your being dropped from this class and may result in your financial aid award being reduced. For Internet classes, attendance is based on participation in an instructional activity; you must complete the first week’s assignment(s) by the assignment due date. Drop for non-attendance occurs at 5 p.m. Pacific Time on the second Tuesday of the semester.