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.


The class will arrive at a collective decision about how to handle each issue. We will focus practically and use the class material to come up with an ethical, workable solution. At the start of the section the class will discuss the issue and make a decision about what to do. Afterwards, the class will discuss how their discussion went and what information they wish they had. Over the rest of the section, the class will then develop answers to those questions. Students will often be expected to bring a preliminary position to class for group discussion. They may have to research some small question and inform the class of their answer. When the paper is due, students will participate in the class discussion designed to arrive at a collective solution to the problem.

Students will be graded on completing these assignments, making constructive comments in class, and using the class material (especially the ethical theories) to structure their responses. Students who do not attend class when the paper is due cannot turn in their paper and will receive a 0%.

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: 5%
  2. Actors: 15%
  3. Position Papers: 80% (20% each)