Quiz 1 reminder

Your first quiz is on Wednesday, Feb. 26 on part I of Sarah Williams Holtman’s “Kant, Ideal Theory, and the Justice of Exclusionary Zoning.” Here are the readings.


Five questions, open book, most likely T/F, 10 points, no make ups.

Renting an Apartment

What, if anything, did you learn from our exercise on renting an apartment? Did anything about it strike you as surprising? (Incidentally, I cover the separate issue of why housing is so expensive in my Phil 100 class.)


Two announcements.

  • Quizzes will start on February 26, with the Sarah Williams Holtman reading on exclusionary zoning. These are in-class ten point open book quizzes based on the reading for that day. There are no make-ups. Since I’m taking best 7 of 10+ quizzes, I will automatically drop your worst 3+ quiz grades. Since you can miss three quizzes without penalty, you can’t ask to make up any that you do miss.
  • I’ve made some modifications to the schedule that you should look at. On Monday, March 30th, neither section will be having class at its normally scheduled time and place. Instead, both sections will meet 1-2:15 pm in the big lecture hall on the second floor of Obal Hall for a panel discussion on issues in local government. I’ve invited four panelists to discuss that issue. The basic information is available on the Readings page of this website, but here is a post from my personal blog that discusses it. Feel free to bring anyone outside of the class who may be interested. This is one of two or three such events we’ll be doing this semester.

Intercollegiate Athletics: For and Against

We looked at two radically different views on intercollegiate athletics, Nocera’s and DiMaggio’s.

Nocera thinks that intercollegiate athletics is an essential part of American university life, but thinks that student-athletes are exploited and mistreated. So his remedy is centered on student-athletes: make them employees, pay them regular salaries and benefits, and give them special benefits responsive to their situation. (Bear in mind that Nocera is a sports reporter whose fiancee was involved in pro-athletic litigation.) Continue reading

Gen Ed: Pro and Con

We spent a fair bit of time discussing the pros and cons of “Gen Ed”–Murray’s critique, my defense, Brennan-Magness’s critique, my response. What do you now think about the value of Gen Ed? Should it stay or should it go? Give me a relatively worked out answer that shows some familiarity with the readings we’ve covered, and the discussions we’ve had in class.

Adjunct Justice

We’ve now covered two or three perspectives on adjunct justice: Brennan-Magness’s, Shulman’s, and mine. (My view overlaps considerably with Shulman’s, except for the proposal I made on the last slide of the Shulman presentation, and except for some quibbling with his numbers.) Given what you’ve learned, where do you stand on the issue? Do adjuncts deserve a raise? Do they deserve more job security? What do you think about the various proposals made to respond to their situation?

Charles Murray on the Alleged Worthlessness of the College BA

Charles Murray’s case against the four-year college degree is structured around this set of claims:

First, we will set up a single goal to represent educational success, which will take four years to achieve no matter what is being taught. We will attach an economic reward to it that often has nothing to do with what has been learned. We will urge large numbers of people who do not possess adequate ability to try to achieve the goal, wait until they have spent a lot of time and money, and then deny it to them. We will stigmatize everyone who doesn’t meet the goal. We will call the goal a “BA.”

Since Felician students tend to agree with Murray’s argument, and you’ve already read his article, I’m going to dispense with any attempt at “balance” and offer a straightforward critique of Murray’s claims. Let me take it piece by piece. Continue reading

Welcome to Phil 250, “Making Moral Decisions,” Fall 2020

Welcome to the WordPress blog for Phil 250, “Making Moral Decisions,” Fall 2020. I’ll be using this site for both sections of this course, A and D. I’ll be using BrightSpace for each section as well, but I still have some work to do to set up the BrightSpace sites, so please be patient there. All of the readings are available on the “Readings” page of this site, as well as within BrightSpace. But the blog postings will take place on this site, not BrightSpace.

You’ll need to register for your first comment. Registration is free, and takes only a minute or so. I’ll show you how to do it in class, but really, all you do is go to the comments below, click the WordPress icon, put your name and email address in the slots, and send. Make sure to use your full name and your Felician email address when you register: I need those to use the search function to find your comments when I’m grading.

Your first comment has to be approved before it goes up, so there will probably be a gap (up to a day) between your sending it, my approving it, and your seeing it on the site. Don’t send it more than once.

Please take a look around the site and read what’s under each of the tabs before you start commenting.

To register for the site, just write a quick comment responding to this post. You don’t even have to send a message (or anything beyond, “Hi, I’m registered”); it’s OK if you send a blank response. You’re just sending it to get started.