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

Ethics PHIL-103

  • Fall 2012
  • Section 14
  • 3.0 Credits
  • 08/27/2012 to 12/21/2012
  • Modified 08/25/2012

Contact Information

Instructor: John Jensen

All correspondence should be via email within the course website. Students are expected to know how to navigate the course website and use the tools within it. There is a Blackboard Help button in the course menu within the course website that explains how to use course email, submit discussion posts, check the online gradebook, etc.

This course will examine several ethical theories about the goals of human life and the norms of moral behavior. We will address such theoretical questions and contemporary issues as:

  • How should we live? What should guide our decision-making? What is “the good life?” Why be moral at all?
  • What method(s) do we use to determine moral standards? Divine law? Maximizing pleasure? Striving to be virtuous human beings?
  • Are there moral standards which are common to all humanity?
  • Is religious belief necessary, or is it coherent to say atheists, too, can have moral codes?
  • How would I apply these theories to contemporary ethical issues such as abortion, euthanasia, capital punishment, pornography/censorship, and animal rights

Meeting Times


  • Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, 9:00 AM to 11:00 PM, Course Website

(There are items to read on Tuesdays and Fridays, but no assignments are due those days. See schedule below for details.)


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


Doing Ethics

  • Author: Lewis Vaughn
  • Publisher: Norton
  • Edition: 1st
  • Availability: NIC Bookstore, NIC Library Reserve Desk


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.



It is your responsibility to check the online Grades section frequently to track your current grade. Initiate contact with me if you have any questions or concerns about your grades. If you decide not to finish the course, be sure to withdraw from the course by Nov. 12 so you don’t receive an F on your transcript.

Grade Equivalency




92 - 100%


90 -   91%


88 -   89%


82 -   87%


80 -   81%


78 -   79%


72 -   77%


70 -   71%


68 -   69%


62 -   67%


60 -   61%


  0 -   59%

10 pts       Week 1 Syllabus Quiz       10 pts each

10 pts       Week 1 Post, Reply          5 pts each

390 pts     13 Quizzes                        30 pts each

390 pts     13 Discussion Posts          30 pts each

200 pts     1 Paper                              200 pts

1000 Total Pts

Course Policies


Assignment Guidelines

Detailed guidelines for weekly discussion posts and the finaly paper can be found in the Weekly Lessons folders.


You must complete all Week 1 items (before the end of Wk 1) to avoid being dropped for non-attendance.

Extra Credit

Occasional extra credit opportunities will be offered to help you make up pts for missed assignments. You may submit a maximum of two 15-point extra credit assignments (to be determined later).

Quality Control / Academic Honesty

Do we really need to talk about this in an ethics course? You are responsible for being familiar with the NIC Student Code of Conduct. Anyone caught cheating or plagiarizing will be reported to the V.P. of Student Affairs and dismissed from the course with an F.

 Language/Mechanics Expectations:

  • You should carefully proofread all submissions. Any Post or Reply with more than 3 problems (spelling, grammar, punctuation, run-on sentences, sentence fragments, etc.) will lose 5 pts right off the top. At the very minimum, you should write all assignments in a word processing program to help you catch obvious spelling and grammar errors; then paste your submission into the Post or Reply field. At the very-very minimum, avoid submitting impromptu Posts and Replies that read like text messages or "stream of consciousness" thinking (automatic 0).
  • Discussing philosophy can be difficult enough when we are all in the same classroom and completely understand each other; since that’s not the case, it is even more critical in online courses that your writing is crystal clear. A misplaced comma, semi-colon, etc. can change the entire meaning of something. If you aren’t confident about your language skills, have someone read your assignments, posts, replies, and papers before submitting them; better yet, utilize the NIC Writing Lab.


The basic weekly schedule is explained below. See the Course Calendar within the course website for more details.

Course calendar and related activities
When Topic Notes
Week 1
9:00 AM - 11:00 PM
Week 1 Items

Monday (Day 1):

  • Make sure you have regular access to a computer that can access the Internet and read PDF documents.
  • Read the Welcome Letter.
  • Read and print the course syllabus and calendar.
  • Click the Blackboard Help link to learn how to navigate the course website.
  • Start reading for Ch 1 Quiz (due Mon., Week 2, 11pm).

Wednesday: Submit Course Contract to online Drop Box. Submit your Introduce Yourself post.

Friday: Submit your Introduce Yourself reply. Take Syllabus Quiz.

Monday Quizzes
9:00 AM - 11:00 PM
Weekly Lessons Folders
Weekly Reading Quizzes

Each week begins with taking a quiz over the reading for that week; then we use the rest of the week to become more familiar with the concepts via Lecture Notes and Discussion. These quizzes are open-book, open-notes; you can take them any time before Monday 11pm. You have 1 hour to complete the quiz; therefore, you may want to highlight text, take some notes, etc. (Scored 0-30 pts)

Tuesday Lecture Notes
9:00 AM - 11:00 PM
Weekly Lessons Folders
Instructor Lectures

These will appear under the quiz link after the quiz deadline. They are designed to clarify difficult material in each chapter, but not to duplicate everything in the text. After reading the chapter, taking a quiz, and reviewing Lecture Notes, you should have enough of a working understanding of the material to practice applying the theory in the Wed./Thur. Discussion. Nothing is due on Tuesdays.

Wednesday Discussion Posts
9:00 AM - 7:00 PM
Weekly Lessons Folders
Chapter Discussion

Check the weekly folder for instructions and follow them closely. Starting in Wk 2, the BLUE GROUP (students with last names A-I) will submit a Wed. post, and the GREEN GROUP (last names J-Z) will submit a Thur. reply. Wk 3 will be the converse, and so on. Be sure to submit your post by 7pm. This is your first opportunity to demonstrate in your own words that you have gained a basic working knowledge of the week’s material. (Scored 0-30 pts)

Thursday Discussion Replies
9:00 AM - 11:00 PM
Weekly Lessons Folders
Chapter Discussion

Basically, reply to one (and only one) other student’s Post any time after Wed. 7pm and before 11pm Thur. The objective is to demonstrate that you understand the material by critiquing another student’s application of the material. (Scored 0-30 pts)

Friday Instructor Comments
9:00 AM - 11:00 PM
Weekly Lessons Folders
Chapter Discussion

Check the weekly folder for my comments about the week’s Discussion. This is where I give feedback and correct/clarify conceptual misunderstandings that I find in the Discussion. You are expected to read these (if I post them).

Additional Items

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:

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, Edminster Student Union Building, (208) 676-7156) and the Human Resources Office (Sherman Administration Building, (208) 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.

REMOVAL FROM CLASS FOR NON-ATTENDANCE:  Attendance is based on your participation in this class. Failure to attend may result in your being removed from this class and may result in your financial aid award being reduced. You are responsible for confirming the accuracy of your attendance record.