Moral Problems: Assignments

Active Participation

Students are expected to do the reading for the day before class and analyze it so we can discuss it and answer questions. Students are expected to attend class and participate in class discussion. To this end, students must email a summary of the reading before class except when position papers are due. Send it to email. The summary must explicitly identify premises, conclusions, and inferences. It should not be long, should not include large sections of copied text, and should focus on showing the structure of the argument. The subject line of the email must read "Notecard" and nothing else.


On the days when papers are due, we will have a class discussion debating the issue. All students must attend these days or they may not turn in their paper, i.e., you get a zero for it. Sometimes students will be assigned a specific roles. The student might be asked to research a certain question for the class, to play the role of a specific person in the class discussion, or to help guide the class discussion. Each actor will be given a specific assignment sheet outlining what he or she needs to do. This will make up 10% of your grade.

For the second section, students must contribute $20 to the class. The money will be combined and the class will discuss how to best distribute it, including returning it to themselves. This is not optional. It's a required part of the class. I will provide the students with a receipt to show that this contribution is part of the required class material if necessary, e.g., if you have a scholarship that covers books. This takes the place of a book.

Position Papers

Students will write four position papers summarizing and evaluating the arguments in a given section. The grade will primarily depend on the strength of the argument offered. Write to convince me that your argument is the strongest one. Each paper must include a thesis, support the thesis, incorporate the readings, and deal with a counter-argument, use a moral theory, and clearly present all of the ideas in the paper. Additional requirements for each paper will be specified prior to the assignment’s due date

The assignments will be worth:

  1. Active Participation: 10%
  2. Actors: 10%
  3. Position Papers: 80% (20% each)