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.


Each student will produce a short, 5-10 minute video summarizing the argument he or she gives in his or her position paper. Though the video cannot provide as much detail, it should cover the same areas as the position paper, i.e., include a thesis, an ethical theory, the support, incorporate the readings, and deal with a counter-argument. Students will be graded on both style and content, e.g., dress professionally, don't fidget, and speak naturally and persuasively. The student should be visible from the knees up through nearly all of the presentation. Visual aids are not necessary, though they can be included. In addition, students must watch the other students videos, attend the discussion day, and pass a short quiz on the other students positions. Failure to attend means that the student will receive a zero for this presentation. Failing the quiz will result in a 10% penalty. Students must email me a link to a viewable version of their video prior to class on the day before the discussion day.

For the second video assignment, 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. Videos: 30% (7.5% each)
  3. Position Papers: 60% (15% each)
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