These are the course readings and viewings for Phil 250, Making Moral Decisions, Fall 2020 for sections A and D. The date indicated is the date by which you should have read or view the indicated material. In most cases, I’ll be showing the videos listed in class.
Please note that I will be asking you to attend two symposiums that I’m organizing on material relevant to the class that are not during scheduled class time. The first, “Issues in Local Government,” will take place on March 30th at 1-2:15 pm in the Obal Hall lecture room (second floor). The second, “Political Speech on Campus,” will take place on a Saturday afternoon in April (details TBA). Accordingly, I’ve canceled two regularly scheduled classes to compensate you for your time. The symposia will be treated, for purposes of attendance, as ordinary classes.
1/15 Introduction to the class: syllabus review, introduction to the class, opening discussion on the ethics and economics of higher education.
1/20 No class (MLK Day)
UNIT 1: The Ethics and Economics of Higher Education
1/22 Charles Murray, “Down with the Four Year College Degree!” from Cato Unbound (2008).
1/27 Irfan Khawaja, “Charles Murray on the Alleged Worthlessness of the College BA”
1/29 Jason Brennan and Phillip Magness, “The Gen Ed Hustle,” from Cracks in the Ivory Tower (Oxford, 2019). [Note: This reading is only available on BrightSpace, under “Content.”]
2/3 Jason Brennan and Phillip Magness, ““Estimating the Cost of Justice for Adjuncts”” Journal of Business Ethics (January 2016).
2/5 Stephen Shulman, “The Costs and Benefits of Adjunct Justice,” Journal of Business Ethics (March 2017).
2/10 Joe Nocera, “Let’s Start Paying College Athletes,” New York Times (Dec. 2011).
Joe Nocera, “A Way to Start Paying College Athletes,” New York Times (Jan. 2016).
Bill Fay, “Athletic Scholarships for College Students,” Debt.org
2/12 Anthony DiMaggio, “Why Higher Education Should Rid Itself of College Athletics,” Counterpunch (April 2014).
2/17 : No class (President’s Day)
UNIT 2: The Ethics and Economics of Housing
2/24 DaveRamsey.com, “How to Buy a House”
2/26 Sarah Williams Holtman, “Kant, Ideal Theory, and the Justice of Exclusionary Zoning,” Ethics (October 1999).
3/2-3/6: No class, Spring Break
3/9 Holtman, continued
UNIT 3: The Ethics and Legalities of Driving
3/11 Douglas Husak, “Vehicles and Crashes: Why Overlooked?” Social Theory and Practice (July 2004).
3/16 Alastair Norcross, “Comparing Harms: Headaches and Human Lives,” Philosophy and Public Affairs (Spring 1997): skip the first five sections; read section VI, pp. 158-167.
3/18 Douglas Husak, “Is Drunk Driving a Serious Offense?” Philosophy and Public Affairs (Winter 1994). [This reading is in BrightSpace.]
3/23 Husak and DUI continued.
3/25 Court transcript, Bedminster Municipal Court: State of New Jersey vs. Irfan Khawaja (April 2019).
3/30 Normal class times are canceled today. Both Phil 250 sections will meet 1-2:15 pm in second floor Obal Hall lecture room for a panel discussion on “Issues in Local Government.”
Panel Discussion: “Issues in Local Government”
Vincent Caruso, Municipal Manager, Borough of Lodi, New Jersey
Byron Clark, Newark Convention and Visitors Bureau, Newark, New Jersey
Sadaf Jaffer, Mayor, Montgomery Township, Montgomery, New Jersey.
Judith Joan Sullivan, Board Member, Ramapo Indian Hills Regional High School District, and Chair and Founder, Ramapough Conservancy, Oakland, New Jersey.
A longer description of the event from my personal blog.
UNIT 4: Guns and Crime, Courage and Cowardice
4/6 Michael Huemer, “The Right to Own a Gun,” Social Theory and Practice (April 2003).
4/8 Hugh LaFollette, “Gun Control,” Ethics (January 2000).
4/13 Huemer and LaFollette concluded.
4/15, 4/20 Report of the Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission, chs. 2 and 4 (Jan. 2019); Scot Peterson, “Rebuttal to MSD Report”; Broward County Sheriff’s Office, Internal Affairs Report 2018-0040, Re Scot Peterson (Spring 2019).
UNIT 5: Free Speech on Campus (readings TBA)
Note: I will likely cancel class on one of these days and instead have you attend the symposium that I’m organizing on “Political Speech on Campus”: day, time, and place TBA, but likely a Saturday afternoon in April).
Section A: 5/6, 8:30-10:30 am, Obal 307
Section D: 5/11, 10:45 am -12:45 pm, Obal 310
Last revised: February 17, 2020