Ethics Syllabus & Schedule

Ethics: Syllabus

PHIL 31A: Spring 2019 – Course Code 20386

Instructor: Eric Gerlach –

Mondays & Wednesdays 11 am – 12:15 – BCC Room 54

Office Hours: Noon – 2 pm, Fridays @ K’s Coffee

Course Description:  This course introduces students to ethical concepts such as principle, virtue, balance, utility, drive, and perspective, as well as ethical issues such as theft, lies, violence, environment, class, gender and ethnicity from individual and social perspectives.

Texts: Readings for each week are posted at the top of each lecture on the website.

Assignments: Two 4 pg. essays (2 x 25%) & an 8 pg. essay (50%), emailed to

Class Schedule

Jan 23 – What is Ethics?

Jan 28 – Egypt – Amenhotep

Feb 4 – India – Mahavira

Feb 11 – India – Buddha


Feb 20 – Office Hours for 1st Paper Due Feb 24

Feb 25 – Greece – Heraclitus

Mar 4 – Greece – Aristotle

Mar 11 – Greece – Epicurus

Mar 18 – China – Confucius

Mar 25 – China – Mozi


Apr 8 – China – Zhuangzi – 2nd Paper Due Apr 14

Apr 15 – Europe – Kant

Apr 22 – Europe – Mill

Apr 29 – Nietzsche

May 6 – Modernity – Wittgenstein

May 13 – Modernity – Fanon

May 20 – Office Hours by appointment for 3rd Paper Due May 26

Student Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this class, students will be able to:

  1. Define the main ethical theories covered in the course.
  2. Analyze an ethical theory.
  3. Explain some prominent and on-going moral disagreements in our society.

General Student Requirements

Students are expected to come to class prepared to ask questions and participate in discussions. It is your responsibility to ask if you missed something; it is not the instructor’s responsibility to remind you. Please read through the syllabus and plan ahead.

Plagiarism, “to use another person’s ideas or expressions in your writing without acknowledging the source” (MLA Handbook,  5th ed., §1.8)—will not be tolerated. Plagiarists, intentional or inadvertent, will receive a zero on the assignment in question; repeat offenders will get an F for the course and will be subject to college disciplinary action.

Disabled Student Program & Services (DSP&S) are provided for any enrolled student who has a verified disability that creates an educational limitation that prevents the student from fully benefiting from classes without additional support services or instruction. Please let the instructor know if you require any support services or would like more information about DSP&S.

The syllabus is subject to change at the discretion of the instructor. Any changes will be announced in class. Additional handouts of required readings may also be added.

2 thoughts on “Ethics Syllabus & Schedule

  1. can you please explain to me what the essays are focused or is there a set of questions that I should be answering

    • Go to the main Ethics page, and beneath the links to each of the lectures you can find the link to the essay prompt and topics, as well as the review for the midterm and final exams.

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