Phil 318  Professional Ethics  -- Fall 2011   

M 6:30 to 9:00 p.m. in MA 171

Theodore Gracyk 

Office: Bridges 359B     Office: (218) 477-4089           
Office hours: M 10:30 am to 1 pm and by appointment.


Principal Objectives of this course:

1. Explain differences between deontological and consequentialist normative theories

2. Explain and apply core concepts of ethical analysis

3. Apply normative theories to case studies of professional decision making

4. Identify morally relevant distinctions between major professions

5. Explain how competing normative assumptions generate competing solutions in professional decision making

6. Defend personal decisions in complex professional situations

7. Distinguish factual from evaluative aspects of complex professional situations

8. Use a coherent writing process including invention, organization, drafting, revising, and editing to form an effective written product.

9. Create logical, engaging, effective written products appropriate for specific audiences and purposes.


REQUIRED TEXTS:

  • Ethics for Professions, Edited by John Rowan and Samuel Zinaich, Jr (Thomson-Wadsworth, 2003) ISBN 9780155069992

Learning Outcomes for Dragon Core / Liberal Arts & Sciences (9: Ethical and Civic Responsibility)

As a result of taking this course, students will:

  • Examine, articulate, and apply their own ethical views.
  • Understand and apply core concepts (e.g. politics, rights and obligations, justice, liberty) to specific issues. 
  • Analyze and reflect on the ethical dimensions of legal, social, and scientific issues
  • Recognize the diversity of political motivations and interests of others.

This is a Writing Intensive Course. 

The quality of your formal writing will affect your course grade. Most of your course grade is based on four formal essays that you write. The first of these four will be submitted as a draft and will be submitted to the instructor for comments before it is completed.

The course combines informal writing (short pieces of writing produced during class sessions), integrative formal writing in which you will explain, integrate, and evaluate material covered in the assigned readings (four essays), and one "informal" essay (a final exam). 

Taken together, the integrative formal writing must be at least a minimum of 16 pages (4800 words).

Writing Intensive Outcomes

  • You will use a coherent writing process including invention, organization, drafting, revising, and editing to form an effective final written product. To do this, the course will combine informal and formal writing. Informal writing will be used to formulate ideas that will be important in formal writing. The first paper will require submitting a draft.
  • You will consult effectively and appropriately with others to produce quality written products. To do this, the first paper will require submitting a draft.
  • You will read, analyze, evaluate, synthesize, and integrate appropriately and ethically both information and ideas from diverse sources or points of view in their writing. To do this, you will write essays, quizzes, and a final exam. Each will require you to integrate material from multiple sources (e.g., different books plus material presented in class).
  • You will create logical, engaging, effective written products appropriate for specific audiences and purposes. Students will be provided with a rubric that clarifies this expectation.
  • You will use correct grammar and mechanics in writing. Essays will not be graded unless they satisfy reasonably high standards, spelled out in the assignments.

Formatting 

All versions of all the formal writing must conform to basic format rules. 

  • They must be typed and double-spaced with a minimum length as specified in the assignment. 

  • Margins of an inch on the top and bottom and on the left and right sides of the page are standard. (Margins of an inch and a quarter on the sides are acceptable.) 

  • Twelve point fonts are standard. Times New Roman is a standard font style, as are Helvetica and Arial. A standard 12 point font will give you about 300 words per page.

  • The essay must have a cover page. Put your name on the cover page. Do not put your name anywhere else on the essay

  • Page numbers must be on the pages. Do not put a page number on the cover page.

  • If you do not know how to start page numbers on the second page of a document, make your cover page a separate document so that you don't disrupt the page numbering of the remainder.

Bibliography Page

  • If you quote from any source, INCLUDING THE ASSIGNED TEXTBOOK, you must attach a bibliography of all sources. 
    To be perfectly clear: I recently FAILED a student paper because it did not put the following short phrase into quotation marks and it failed to provide a bibliographic reference: "premature death is by no means a great harm."

  • The bibliography page does not count toward your minimum page total.

  • If you incorporate ideas from any source other than class lecture or the assigned readings,  you must attach a bibliography of all sources. (Notice that this applies to ideas, not just actual words taken from a source.) This page does not count toward your minimum page total. 

Carefully proofread your papers. For the final versions of assigned papers, I will accept no more than a total sum of three grammatical errors, typos and spelling errors per page. If you exceed this number, I will return the paper to you at our next class meeting. It must then be handed in, “cleaned up,” no later than the next scheduled class meeting. Such papers will count as one day late. (Notice that if you fail to attend the class session in which I return the papers and your paper needs rewriting to meet the minimum mechanical standards, you do not receive any kind of special extension.)

If I return a paper to you to be “cleaned up” because there are format or grammar problems, and if it is not re-submitted at the next class meeting, it will receive an additional grade reduction for each school day that it is not returned to me. A paper that is not “cleaned up” by the time of the final exam receives a grade of F.

If I return a paper to you because it is too short, you must expand it and resubmit it at the next scheduled class session. Such papers will count as one day late. If it is not re-submitted at the next class meeting, it will receive an additional grade reduction for each school day that it is not returned to me. (Notice that if you fail to attend the class session in which I return the papers and your paper needs rewriting to meet the minimum mechanical standards, you do not receive any kind of special extension.) Failure to resubmit such a paper by the time of the final exam will result in a failing grade for the course.

If you are worried about your ability to write a paper without making excessive errors, you should bring a draft to the instructor during scheduled office hours. (If you cannot meet with the instructor during those hours, an appointment can be made for another time.)  OR visit the write site! Tutors are available.

For more information, see http://web.mnstate.edu/write/ or call 218-477-5937.

Paper Topics 

For each of the assigned formal papers, you must cover the following:

  • Develop your own thesis, addressing the assigned topic.
  • Identify a source of controversy.
  • Identify at least one competing perspective that generates this controversy. (Explain how someone might have a principled disagreement with you about what is ethical in this situation.)
  • You will critique at least one competing perspective to your own position.
  • You will defend your own thesis on this topic by providing relevant reasons in favor of your thesis. (Reasons must include discussion of examples.) 

THESE ARE NOT RESEARCH PAPERS. 

THERE IS SIMPLY NO REASON TO DO ANY ADDITIONAL RESEARCH for this course. If you use any additional sources, you must provide a complete bibliography of those sources. The bibliography does not count toward the word/page count for the paper. (Exceptions to the bibliography rule: You are always free to consult the assigned readings for this course, dictionaries, writing guides, grammar books, etc.).

BY DOING FORMAL WRITING, YOU’LL DEMONSTRATE THAT YOU:

  • correctly comprehend the issues involved.
  • can reconstruct the thinking of others.
  • can clearly articulate your ideas and present them in an organized way.
  • can critically evaluate what others think.
  • can use correct grammar and mechanics in writing.
  • can argue persuasively in support of a thesis.

DUE DATES for the Four Formal Papers

  • 3-page draft of 1st paper due: Monday, Oct. 3, at the start of class
    TOPIC: Fiduciary duties
    Rewrite due Nov. 21 (1200 words minimum length): you must attach the marked original!
  • 2nd paper (minimum length 1200 words) due: October 24
  • 3rd paper (minimum length 1200 words) due: November 14
  • 4th paper (minimum length 1200 words) due: Dec. 5

For a fuller account of my writing expectations, see my "Expectations about Essays" page.


EXPECTATIONS ABOUT STUDENT WORK 

This is an upper level course. I will enforce the University's policies on student conduct. I expect all essays to conform to recognized standards of presentation, originality, and documentation of sources. 

Any violation of the University's policies on student conduct will result in a failing grade for the course.

The University expects all students to represent themselves in an honest fashion. In academic work, students are expected to present original ideas and to give credit to the ideas of others. The value of a college degree depends on the integrity of the work completed by the student. For more information, click here. 


GRADING: Your final course grade will be calculated using the +/- system.  

10%     "Real questions" assignments 

10%     Final Exam (in-class essay -- informal writing)

80%      Four papers  (4 or more pages each)  -- each one is 20% of total grade
            The first paper will first be submitted as a 3 page draft

Failure to submit any of the formal writing (the four integrative formal papers) will result in a failing grade for this course.


 REAL QUESTIONS (due at each meeting except final exam day)

Every day that we meet except the final exam day, you must submit one "real question."  Above all, they are questions to which you genuinely do not know the answer, about something that really puzzles you. I will answer some of them in class. Real Questions should reflect that you are thoughtful about the material you have read. Please follow the simple guidelines below when you write your questions:

DO: 

  • Ask about the reading material that has been assigned for that class session.
  • Focus the question. A rambling stream-of-thought reduces the value of your question.
  • Provide clear indication of where the question arises in the text  (e.g., page number). If we have more than one reading assignment for that day, it is important for you to be clear which one is at issue in your question.

DO NOT:

  • Ask questions that call for biographical information
  • or that you could answer if you consulted a dictionary
  • or that you could answer if you checked the text again
  • or that are simplistic and could be answered by actually reading the work carefully.

READING ASSIGNMENTS  

All readings are in the assigned textbook. (These assignments are subject to change) 

Read the assigned texts before class on the day indicated. Come to class prepared to do informal writing about any of the assigned readings.

August 22  -- First day of class
August 29  -- McGinn  (begins on page 228)
 September 5 -- MLK HOLIDAY -- no class meeting
September 12 -- Faber essay, begins on page 125, AND this news article 
September 19 -- Bayles (begins on page 56) & Taylor (begins on page 140) 
September 26 --  Smith essay, begins on page 70
  October 3 -- Kupfer and Klatt (begins on page 306) & this article
October 10 -- Fall Breather - NO CLASS
 October 17 -- Armstrong (begins on page 145)
 October 24 -- Cohen (begins on page 315)
 October 31 --  Alexandra and Miller (begins on page 134)
  November 7 -- Gutman (begins on p. 409) & Kupperman (begins on p. 433)
  November 14 --  Andre (begins on page 152)
 November 21 -- Werhane and Radin (begins on page 96) 
 November 28  -- Lippke (begins on page 101) & Shaw (begins on page 108)
 December 5  -- Schultz (begins on page 115) & Review for final exam
   December 12 -- Final Exam (in class)    

The final exam will be an in-class exam. You will see the questions in advance. You will be allowed access to limited notes (whatever you can fit on one sheet of standard paper). It is not cumulative.


Notice of disability services & special accommodations 

The Minnesota State University of Moorhead is committed to a policy of equal opportunity in education and employment and welcomes students with disabilities. We are prepared to to offer you a range of services to accommodate your needs.

However, students must accept responsibility for initiating the request for services. 

Students with disabilities who believe they may need an accommodation in this class are encouraged to contact Greg Toutges, Director of Disability Services at 477-4318 (Voice) or 1-800-627-3529 (MRS/TTY), Flora Frick 154 as soon as possible to ensure that accommodations are implemented in a timely fashion.

Do not discuss your needs with me, your instructor. Talk to Greg and he will contact me.


This page last updated Oct. 15, 2011