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Course: Introduction to Moral Philosophy
PHILO 130 Section I
Instructor: Daniel Immerman
Tuesday and Thursday 1:05 - 2:20 in Dickens 207

Contact Info
Email: immerman@ksu.edu
Office: Dickens 308C
Office hours: 11:15 - 12:15 on Tuesday and Thursday or by appointment
Course website: danielimmerman.com/teaching/16F130I

You do not need to purchase any texts for this class; all readings will be available on the website.

Course Description
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?"

Course Goals
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:

    •    Paperlings:

    –    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 5 percent of your grade.

    –    The final draft of the paper will be due at the end of the semester, on December 13th 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.

    •    Participation:

    –    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 15 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.

    •   Co-curricular events:

    –    There will be three, out-of-class, co-curricular events. Each is graded pass/fail and worth 2 percent of your grade.

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.

Academic Honesty
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.

ADA statement
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 accesscenter@k-state.edu, 785-532-6441.

Expectations for Classroom Conduct
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.

Late Assignments
The assignments vary with regards to late policies; I will include the late policies on the assignment sheets.

Reading drafts
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.