FALL 2012 CLASSES
PHILOS 101 -
SYLLABUS AND SCHEDULE
Guide for Test #1 (October 3rd)
PAPER - DUE NOVEMBER 28th
PHILOS 250 -SYLLABUS AND SCHEDULE
106 - SYLLABUS AND SCHEDULE
WINTER 2010 COURSES:
PHILOS 120 - Paper Assignment, January 31st, 2011
Study Guide for
PHILOS 120, FINAL (FEBRUARY 3rd)
Study Guide for FINAL, August 11th
Study Guide for Test 1 -- Thursday, June 23rd
STUDY GUIDE FOR FINAL, WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 7th
Study Guide for the Midterm -- Wednesday,
101 Paper 2 - Due November 30th
PHILOS 110 SYLLABUS AND SCHEDULE
Study Guide for the Final, Wednesday, December 7th
110 Paper 3 --
Writing Assignment #2 - Due July 5th
SPRING 2011 COURSES:
Hardin's The Case Against Helping the Poor
Paper 1 - Due March 11th, in class.
Relativism: An attractive theory or a
slippery slope towards moral disaster?
It is often claimed that ethics is relative, either
to individuals or cultures or even historical periods. What does this
claim mean? Is this claim true? If it is, then certain practices
that are condemned in one context, may well be deemed acceptable—even
morally obligatory—in others. A good example of such a disagreement is
found when we examine the practice of female genital mutilation (also
called “female circumcision” or “F.G.M.”). While this practice is
virtually unheard of in Western cultures, it is widely practiced in
others. But is relativism an adequate response to the problem of F.G.M.?
Can we treat moral disagreements over such an issue as merely a cultural
or subjective hang-up, a preference or bias in favor of our (or
my) way of behaving? Or does relativism fail to address the
reality of F.G.M.? What other ethical responses might we might to
At some point in your essay, you should make sure
you answer the following questions:
- What is relativism? What is the difference
between individual and cultural relativism?
- What the evidence is used to support
- What are the main objections to relativist
ethics? How might a relativist respond to these objections?
- What is F.G.M.? What justifications are
typically given for this practice?
- How would a relativist evaluate F.G.M.? Is
this response convincing? Why or why not?
- How would the other ethical theories discussed
so far in class respond to F.G.M.? Are these responses convincing?
Why or why not?
- Relate your findings to the stories by
Kingsolver and Walker in the Rosenstand text (pages 151-159).
Based on your readings of these texts, how do these authors view
F.G.M. and ethics?
Here is one source on F.G.M. to get you started:
Rubric for Paper 1
15 points: The paper has a thesis (a point
to be proved), which is clearly defined at the beginning of the paper. (In
this case, your thesis essentially will be whether relativism is a good
theory or not, and you'll be looking at F.G.M. as an example of what
practice which might be supported by relativism.)
30 points: The paper accurately describes the
subject matter of the essay. This must include the problem discussed by
the thinkers mentioned in the essay topics and the arguments given to support
their views. For example, you should explain why people claim F.G.M. is a
good practice. You should explain the various arguments in favor of
relativism. You must also clearly define all of your terms in the paper
which are necessary for adequately tackling your topic. For instance,
"relativism," "F.G.M.," "tolerance," "subjectivism," etc.
25 points: The paper accurately explains possible
criticisms of the arguments presented by the thinkers in the paper and provides
evidence to support the thesis of the paper. For instance, what are
the various problems with relativism? What might make F.G.M. an immoral
practice? Why do many people protest against this practice?
20 points: The paper contains no grammatical or
The paper has a bibliography.