FAS108 Syllabus

University General Requirement Unit
Humanities, Arts or Social Sciences Requirement

Course Title: FAS 108 – Ethics
Lecture Hours: Three (3) Credit Hours Per Week, Spring Semester 2013
Lab Hours: 0
Credits: 3
Prerequisite: None


Name: Prof. Gregory Mavrides
Office: Library 304
Phone: 9712-407-0574
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Office Hours: As listed below and by appointment.

Schedule Spring Semester 2013
Mon Wed Thurs

11:00 to 12:00

Office Hours Office Hours  
12:00 to 1:30 FAS230 Sec50 LB102 FAS230 Sec50 LB102  
1:30 to 3:00 FAS230 Sec01 MC102 FAS230 Sec01 MC102  
3:00 to 6:00     FAS108 Sec01 MC107
Other Office Hours by Appointment

Course Description

FAS 108, Ethics, is a survey course that familiarizes students with both the major branches of ethical theory, e.g., relativism, egoism, utilitarianism, and contractarianism, as well as some of the most prominent contemporary debates in applied ethics: euthanasia; abortion; sexual morality; equality and discrimination, and; capital punishment.

Course Objectives

  1. Provide students with an understanding of the major branches of ethical theory towards achieving a framework for evaluating ethical problems.
  2. Enable students to improve their critical reasoning skills.
  3. Help students to develop and articulate their own views on the ethical issues that will be addressed in class.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • Have a solid appreciation for and understanding of the major underlying theories of moral philosophy.
  • Discern the various ethical theories that have been applied to argue a point in research and literature.
  • Articulate and defend their own ethical positions on prominent ethical debates.

Course Evaluation

Your final course grade will be based on the following measurements:

  • Midterm Exam (50 multiple-choice questions): 45%
  • Final Exam (cumulative: 80% new material; 20% midterm material; 50 multiple-choice questions): 55%

There are no make-up tests for quizzes and the midterm exam.

The midterm exam will cover six chapters of our textbook. The final exam will emphasize (80%) the material covered during the second half of class (an additional six chapters) but, per University policy, will also include some material (20%) from the mid-semester material.

Please Note: Exams include material from class lectures. The midterm and final exam will be given during the midterm and final exam periods respectively.

Learning Methodologies

  • Spend some time on the course every day, whether you have class or not.
  • Take good notes in class and review them frequently, comparing them to corresponding material in the text.
  • Read the chapter in the textbook (prior to it's being covered in class).
  • Answer and study the review questions in the text.
  • Try to find some intrinsic satisfaction in the process of learning itself instead of being solely preoccupied with the final grade.

Course Textbook

MacKinnon, B. (2012). Ethics: Theory and Contemporary Issues, 7th Edition. New York: Wadsworth Press.

Other Reference

Thiroux, J.P. & Krasemann, K.W. (2012). Ethics: Theory and Practice, 11th Edition. New York: Pearson

Academic Policies

  1. Students are expected to bring: 1) the assigned textbook; 2) a notebook, and; 3) a writing implement to each and every class, effective from the second class. Students should be prepared to take extensive notes as all exam questions are drawn directly from the lecture material. Students are not responsible for material that is not reviewed and discussed in class. Students may record class lectures with a dedicated digital recorder (a smart phone may be used only if it is kept on instructor’s desk).
  2. Depending on your English language skills and educational background, you should plan on spending three (3) to eight (8) hours per week reading and studying the assigned material. Students who do not read and study the assigned material but, rather, try to prepare for exams by memorizing “key words” generally do poorly in my classes. Do not try to memorize key words, definitions, or quiz questions. The vast majority of my exam questions are conceptual (indirect), not definitional (direct) and quiz questions are never reused.
  3. Student’s GPA is the sole responsibility of the student. I can only assign grades that have been earned. Your final course grade is based on two exams, each containing 50 multiple choice questions: midterm (45%) and final (55%). The final exam is 20% cumulative: therefore, if your final exam grade is higher than your midterm grade, this exam grade becomes your course grade. In addition, four (4) optional 10-question quizzes will be administered for practice (two before the midterm and two before the final). These quizzes are corrected but the scores do NOT count towards your final grade. There are no make-up quizzes or make-up midterm exam. Both exams are curved to a class mean of 65. All quizzes and exams must be taken in pen, not pencil.
  4. Students are responsible for asking the instructor for help during the semester if they are having difficulty with the material. If your quiz and midterm exam scores are unacceptably low, do not wait until one week before the final exam, approach me after class and exclaim “Doctor, please, my GPA.” If you have studied the material and don’t understand it, I will spend extra time with you until you do.
  5. I strictly enforce a zero-tolerance cheating policy. Students who are caught looking at another student’s paper during an exam will receive an automatic zero (0) for that exam. This is your only warning.
  6. Academic policies and workload are non-negotiable.

Administrative/Classroom Management Policies

  1. All registered students receive five (5) bonus points for “classroom cooperation” that will be applied towards their final course grade. These bonus points are awarded in advance for giving the instructor your undivided attention.
  2. Students are expected to turn off their cell phones before entering the classroom and then deposit them in the provided basket on the teacher’s desk. If a cell phone is seen on or a student’s person or if a student’s cell phone makes a sound (ring tone or vibration) during our scheduled class time, that student will lose ½ point per incident off their final course grade. Students who continue to talk to their neighbor after being asked once to stop talking will lose ½ point off their final grade. Students can lose up to 10 points per semester for disrupting the class (five regular points plus the five bonus points).
  3. Class lectures begin precisely at the scheduled start of class (i.e., 12:00, 13:30, or 15:00). Students who plan on attending class should allow enough time for traffic and parking and should be seated at the start of class. If you have no choice but to enter the classroom after the start of class, PLEASE do so quietly. You may not interrupt the class lecture to greet and socialize with other students as you are making your way to your seat. Students who arrive late to class and then interrupt the class lecture will lose ½ point.
  4. Attendance is taken per University policy in a manner that will be explained in class. Do NOT call me prior to class to inform me that you will be absent and then ask that I mark you as present.

Course Calendar

Essentially, we are going to cover one chapter in our textbook per week. We will have six weeks of classes followed by "midterm week," followed by another six weeks of classes, and, then, two remaining weeks in the semester for final exams.


Textbook Chapter and Summary

  • Chapter 1: Ethical and Ethical Reasoning
    • Why Study Ethics?
    • Metaethics
    • Ethics and Religion
    • Ethical Reasoning and Arguments
  • Chapter 2: Ethical Relativism
    • What is Ethical Relativism
    • Strong v. Weak Interpretations of Ethical Relativism
    • Diversity of Moral Views
    • Moral Realism
    • Moral Pluralism
  • Chapter 3: Egoism
    • Psychological Egoism
    • Ethical Egoism
    • Moral Point of View
    • Why Be Moral?
  • Chapter 4: Utilitarianism
    • Principle of Utility
    • Quantity and Quality of Pleasure
    • Evaluating Utilitarianism
    • ”Proof” of the Theory
  • Chapter 5: Kant’s Moral Theory
    • What Gives an Act Moral Worth?
    • Categorical Imperative
    • Evaluating Kant’s Moral Theory
    • Perfect and Imperfect Duties
  • Chapter 6: Contractarianism (pp. 96 - 97)
    Chapter 7: Morality, and Human Nature (pp. 108 - 114)
    Chapter 8: Virtue Ethics (pp. 124 - 127)
    • Thomas Hobbes
    • Natural Law Theory
    • Historical Origins: Aristotle
  • Midterm Exam: Chapters 1 through 8 and slides as discussed and reviewed in class
  • Chapter 10: Euthanasia
    • Brain Death, Coma, Persistent Vegetative State
    • Meaning and Types of Euthanasia
    • Morality and the Law
    • Moral Judgments about Euthanasia
  • Chapter 11: Abortion
    • States of Fetal Development
    • Methods of Abortion
    • Abortion and the Law
    • Abortion: The Moral Question
  • Chapter 12: Sexual Morality
    • What is and What is Not Sexual
    • Sexual Morality and Ethical Theories
    • Homosexualty
  • Chapter 13: Equality and Discrimination
    • Civil Rights Laws: A Brief History
    • Racism and Sexism
    • The Principle of Equality
  • Chapter 14: Economic Justice
    • Income Inequality
  • Chapter 15: Legal Punishment
    • Capital Punishment
  • Final Exam: Chapters 10 through 15 (80%), 1 through 8 (20%) and slides as reviewed and discussed in class.
Category: FAS 108 Ethics