of the syllabus
Course: Introduction to Moral Philosophy
PHILO 130 Section C
Instructor: Daniel Immerman
Tuesday and Thursday 2:30 - 3:45 in Willard 115
Office: Dickens 308C
Office hours: 11:15 - 12:15 on Tuesday and Thursday or by appointment
Course website: danielimmerman.com/teaching/16F130C
You do not need to purchase any texts for this class; all readings will
be available on the website.
This course serves as an introduction to moral philosophy; we will look
at applied questions like “what sorts of moral obligations do I have
towards my friends?" and theoretical ones like “Is morality relative?"
In this course you will:
• Become familiar with positions
and arguments in some areas of applied and theoretical moral philosophy.
• Improve your ability to identify
an author’s claims, arguments, and objections in a text, to restate
them in your own words clearly and precisely, and to state and evaluate
responses to them.
• Practice identifying a
philosophical topic you are interested in, identifying a research
question related to it, and writing a paper on it.
• Work out for yourself your own
position on several of the debates we discuss.
In order to ensure that these goals are achieved, you will need to do
your part. In particular, many of the course goals require you to
develop your philosophical skills, which in turn requires practice.
With each reading assignment, there will be some questions for you to
think about as you do the reading. Answering these questions will help
you hone your philosophical skills.
In addition to practicing these skills at home, you will also be
practicing them in class. To accommodate this, the classes will not
have much lecturing in them. Because most of the time spent in class
will be time when you are talking, it is integral that you come to
class prepared and that you participate in class discussions.
Here is the breakdown of grades in the class:
– During the first half of the
semester, you will a series of six “paperlings”, which are short
written assignments, each of which helps you practice a particular
component of a philosophy paper. They are due each Thursday for a
six-week period starting on September 1st. In total, they are worth 20
percent of your grade. I will drop the one with the lowest grade.
• Final paper and accompanying steps:
– In addition, throughout the
course, you will be working on a longer paper, which will ultimately be
at least 1200 words. I will not assign a topic, instead, you will be
responsible for selecting it.
– Midway through the semester, on
October 20th, you will turn in a short document called a prospectus
that will describe the topic you have chosen and what you plan to argue
in your paper. You will get comments on it from your peers and myself;
giving comments to others will count for part of your grade for this
assignment. It will be worth 4 percent of your grade.
– Several weeks later, on November
10th you will turn in a rough draft. You will get comments on it from
your peers and myself; giving comments to others will count for part of
your grade for this assignment. It will be worth 6 percent of your
– The final draft of the paper
will be due at the end of the semester, on December 12th and worth 35
percent of your grade.
• Pop Quizzes:
– On at least six days in the
semester we will have pop quizzes. There won’t be any before the third
week of the semester. The material on these will come from that day’s
readings plus material from previous classes. They will be worth 15
percent of your grade in total. They can’t be made up, but I will drop
your lowest pop quiz grade.
– I will also be grading you based
on participation. I will pass out a rubric on the first day that
indicates what you need to do to get a good participation grade.
Participation is worth 20 percent of your grade. I’ll check in with you
regarding how you’re doing on participation at some point in the middle
of the semester, but you should also feel free to contact me at any
point if you want to know how you’re doing on participation.
I will be using a 15 point scale:
15 = A
13 = B
11 = C
9 = D
7 = F
0 = Didn’t turn in
I may on occasion give individual assignments a score higher than a 15,
but the highest final grade I can give is (obviously) an A.
On rounding: when calculating your final grade, I give you the letter
grade that your grade average is closest to, rounding up in the cases
of ties. So e.g. an average of a 13.999999 is a B, while an average of
a 14 is an A.
Kansas State University has an Honor and Integrity System based on
personal integrity, which is presumed to be sufficient assurance that,
in academic matters, one’s work is performed honestly and without
unauthorized assistance. Undergraduate and graduate students, by
registration, acknowledge the jurisdiction of the Honor and Integrity
System. The policies and procedures of the Honor and Integrity System
apply to all full and part-time students enrolled in undergraduate and
graduate courses on-campus, off-campus, and via distance learning. The
Honor and Integrity System website can be reached via the following
www.k-state.edu/honor. A component vital to the Honor and Integrity
System is the inclusion of the Honor Pledge which applies to all
assignments, examinations, or other course work undertaken by students.
This applies, in this class, to drafts as well. The Honor Pledge is
implied, whether or not it is stated: “On my honor, as a student, I
have neither given nor received unauthorized aid on this academic
work.” A grade of XF can result from a breach of academic honesty. The
F indicates failure in the course; the X indicates the reason is an
Honor Pledge violation.
Students with disabilities who need classroom accommodations, access to
technology, or information about emergency building/campus evacuation
processes should contact the Student Access Center and/or their
instructor. Services are available to students with a wide range of
disabilities including, but not limited to, physical disabilities,
medical conditions, learning disabilities, attention deficit disorder,
depression, and anxiety. If you are a student enrolled in campus/online
courses through the Manhattan or Olathe campuses, contact the Student
Access Center at email@example.com, 785-532-6441.
All student activities in the University, including this course, are
governed by the Student Judicial Conduct Code as outlined in the
Student Governing Association By Laws, Article V, Section 3, number 2.
Students who engage in behavior that disrupts the learning environment
may be asked to leave the class.
I don’t take off points for attendance, but missing class can harm your
participation grade (it’s hard to participate when you’re not there)
and can keep you from being able to complete certain in-class
assignments, e.g. pop-quizzes.
The assignments vary with regards to late policies; I will include the
late policies on the assignment sheets.
I will look at as many drafts of assignments as you care to send me,
with the following exceptions. I will not read a draft turned in less
than 48 hours (2 days) before the paper is due. Also, if I send a draft
with comments back to you, you should wait at least 48 hours (2 days)
before sending me a new draft to look at.