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

Ethics PHIL-103

  • Fall 2012
  • Section 15
  • 3.0 Credits
  • 08/27/2012 to 12/20/2012
  • Modified 08/25/2012

Contact Information

Instructor: Dr. Edward Kaitz

Office Hours

  • Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, 8:00 AM to 9:00 AM, LKH 229
  • Monday, Wednesday, 10:30 AM to 12:00 PM, LKH 229
  • Friday, 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM, LKH 229

Meeting Times


  • Friday, 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM, LKH 245


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


Introcuctory Readings in Ethics: Philosophy 103 Ethics

  • Author: Sommers & Sommers
  • Publisher: Cengage
  • Availability: Campus Bookstore

The Abolition of Man

  • Author: C.S. Lewis
  • Availability: Campus Bookstore

In Our Time

  • Author: Eric Hoffer
  • Availability: Campus Bookstore


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.



Grading Structure:

There will be a total of four exams in the course – three midterm exams (15%) and a final exam (20%). Each exam will consist of around 60-70 multiple choice questions and two short essay type questions.  Please bring a scantron and a #2 pencil to each exam.  There will also be a final paper on a topic of the student’s choice (6 total pages, double spaced, 1.0” margins), also worth 20% of the final grade.   In addition, during the final month of class take home quiz questions will be passed out based on the books The Abolition of Man and In Our Time (15% of grade).

Course Policies

Course Policies

Course Policies:

1) Please arrive to class on time. 2) Please do not carry on conversations with your neighbor during lecture (questions, comments and discussion are normal for a course like this but make sure to listen carefully during lecture).  3) Please turn off cell phones, ipods, blackberries, iphones, laptops, etc. before you enter the classroom - this means no texting!  4) Please do not leave class during lecture.  5) Please use the restroom before class and before exams.  Students who violate these policies (esp. texting) will be asked to leave for the duration of the class.


8/31-9/14                     Good and Evil, Phusis and Nomos

Reading Assignment: (Bennett - 1; Gansberg – 21; Rousseau (Handout); Applebaum – 13; Nietzsche - 25)

(We will be discussing various philosophical viewpoints on the nature of good and evil and what causes each in human behavior.  For example, Jean-Jacques Rousseau will argue that a corrupt civilization can corrupt the innate goodness of human beings, while others argue that humans are by nature “corrupt” and only civilization can save us.  Others, like Nietzsche, argue that values such as “good” and “evil” are simply constructs invented by philosophers who cringe at the innate “will to power” in human beings.)

9/21                            Exam #1

9/21-10/12                   Moral Doctrines and Moral Theories

Reading Assignment: Divine Command Theories (The Judeo-Christian Tradition - 35; Mortimer - 49; Arthur - 55), Sentimentalist Theories (Hume – 63), Deontological Theories (Kant - 69; Sommers - 79) Utilitarian Theories (Mill - 85; Le Guin - 91)

(In this section of the course we will discuss the major philosophical theories regarding ethical human conduct, from traditional theories involving religion, natural law and human nature to more modern theories that tend to discount human character and highlight effective tools for reaching moral outcomes or stress the application of universal laws to ethical decision making.  We will also look at some critiques of these more influential moral theories)

10/19                          Exam #2

10/19-11/2                 Virtue/Vice

Reading Assignment: (Aristotle - 111; Epictetus - 123; Stockdale – 129; Smith – 141; Johnson – 153)

(In this part of the course we’ll investigate traditional theories about character development, virtuous conduct, and the importance of habit forming behavior.  We’ll spend quite a bit of time on Aristotle’s famous virtue theory of ethics, on the Stoic philosophers, and on the sentimentalist philosopher Adam Smith.  In addition, we’ll look at some common human vices such as “self-deception” – a vice that English writer Samuel Johnson explored in fascinating detail.)

11/5                             Is It All Relative?

Reading Assignment: (Herodotus – 97; Fleuhr-Lobban – 99; UN Charter -105)

(We will be discussing famous theories about the lack of objective foundations for ethical conduct, the importance of custom, environment, and culture, and the possibility of universal agreement on basic ethical norms.)

11/7                             Objective Truth and C.S. Lewis

 Reading Assignment: The Abolition of Man

(We will discuss C.S. Lewis’s famous defense of objective grounds for truth and ethical conduct in his book The Abolition of Man.  Lewis finds that there are good grounds for believing in the possibility of universal guidelines for ethical conduct and he is highly critical of modern theories of relativism.)

11/9                           Exam #3

11/9-12/7                           In Our Time and Eric Hoffer

Reading Assignment: Selected essays for discussion from 11/14-12/12

(We will discuss selected chapters from Eric Hoffer’s book “In Our Time.”  Hoffer wrote incisive accounts of human nature, ethical conduct, and of the requirements for healthy, harmonious living.  Hoffer’s case studies of American life will help provide some food for thought on many of our ethical dilemmas.)

                                            Morality and Self-Interest

Reading Assignment: (Plato - 157; Hobbes - 161; Hume - 167; Rand – 183)

(In this section of the course we will look at the relationship between self-interest and moral behavior.  First we will discuss arguments that focus on self-interest or cooperation in human nature, and then we will evaluate Ayn Rand’s claim about the benefits of self-interest.)

                                         Morality and Social Policy

Reading Assignment: (Singer - 187; Shikwati - 195; Noonan - 199; Warren – 205)

(We will continue our look into contemporary case studies by focusing on abortion and wealth redistribution.  We will look at arguments on both sides of these contentious issues)

12/??                           Final Exam (TBA), Paper Due


Additional Items

Helpful Hints

Helpful Hints:

Over the years, the best way I’ve found for students to get the most out of a course like this is to do the following: 1) Come to class and try not to miss any class if possible, 2) Take really good notes on the lectures.  Also, some students find it really effective to write notes in their books next to the passages that we are discussing.  In addition, it is very effective to write short summaries of each philosopher and his or her argument on 3x5 cards 3) Make sure to ask questions in class if there is something you would like me to repeat or explain.  This is very important in a philosophy class since much of the material can seem quite complex at times, 4) Please come to my office hours for any reason.  Thanks.

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 Code of Conduct

The Student Code of Conduct applies to any student enrolled at North Idaho College.  This includes, but is not limited to, face-to-face classes and Internet classes.

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.