Ethics Syllabus & Class Schedule

HUMAN 30A: Spring 2018 – Class Code: 23969

Instructor: Eric Gerlach


Mondays & Wednesdays 11 AM – 12:15 PM

BCC Room 54

Office Hours: Fridays 12 – 1:20 pm @ K’s Coffee, next door to BCC

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: The readings for the class will be posted at the top of each lecture on the website.

Assignments: Two 4-5 page essays (2 x 25%) & a final 8-10 page paper (50%)

Class Schedule

Jan 22 – Introduction: What is Ethics?

Jan 24 & 29 – Virtue & Morals: Aristotle & Kant

Jan 31st & Feb 5 – Use & Consequence: Bentham & Mill

Feb 7 & 12 – Balance: Egyptian Wisdom & Confucius

Feb 14 & 21 – OFFICE HOURS for 1st Paper Due Feb 25th

Feb 26 & 28 – Drive & Desire: Nietzsche & Rand

Mar 5 & 7 – Perspective: Heraclitus & Zhuangzi

Mar 12 & 14 – Possession & Theft

Mar 19 & 21 – Lies & Propaganda

Mar 26 & 28 – Violence & PTSD


Apr 9 & 11 – OFFICE HOURS for 2nd Paper Due Apr 15th

Apr 16 & 18 – Pollution & Environmentalism

Apr 23 & 25 – Social Class, Wealth & Poverty

Apr 30 & May 2 – Sexism & Feminism

May 7 & 9 – Racism, Postcolonialism & Eurocentrism

May 14 & 16 – Ethics & the Human Situation

May 21 & 23 – OFFICE HOURS FOR FINAL PAPERS (3rd Paper Due May 27th)

Essay Grading Policy:  For each essay, state the question you are answering and take a clear position at the beginning, then argue with clear and focused points for the required page length. Do not summarize material that is irrelevant. You can include personal experience, examples from fiction or material from outside the course.

This class is acceptable for credit at UC and CSU. It counts towards GE AA/AS area 3; CSU area C2; and IGETC area 3. It can be used as an elective for the Liberal Arts with an Emphasis in Arts and Humanities, Associate in Arts Degree Program and the Liberal Arts: Intersegmental General Education Transfer (IGETC) Certificate of Achievement and the Global Studies AA Degree.

Student Learning Outcomes

  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. All readings and assignments should be completed by the beginning of class on the day they are discussed. This class is run as a lecture/discussion course.  Students are responsible for all class material (even if they miss class). It is your responsibility to ask if you missed something; it is not the instructor’s responsibility to remind you. If a student has any extenuating circumstances which may affect full participation in the class, the student must speak to the instructor as far ahead of any due date as possible. All assignments must be completed and all requirements must be met in order to pass the class. You must turn in all assignments (even if they are late) in order to be eligible to receive a “C” grade or higher.  There are no exceptions, under any circumstance.

Plagiarism –“[t]o 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. Students are encouraged to review plagiarism policies in the current Vista College catalog.

Disabled Student Program and Services (DSP&S) services 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.

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 & Class Schedule

  1. jeanine henly

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

    1. ericgerlach79 Post author

      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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