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.

Added, March 15: as everyone by now knows, the class has gone online as of March 16 due to the coronavirus pandemic. The originally scheduled event on local government on March 30th has now been canceled, as has the planned event on free speech. Since we’re a little behind on the schedule, I’ve decided I will hold class that day.

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,”

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

2/19  Brett & Kate McKay, “Renting Your First Apartment“; Melanie Lockert, “How Do You Rent an Apartment?”

2/24, “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  (The event described below is canceled due to the coronavirus. Since we’re behind on the schedule, I will hold class on this day, and use it to catch up.)

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 ClarkNewark 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

4/1  U.S. Constitution, Fourth Amendment; Supreme Court, Terry vs. Ohio (1968).

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: Coronavirus and Quarantine: The Ethics of Epidemiology
The event I had originally planned on “political speech” is now canceled. I’ve decided to use this last section to discuss issues related to the coronavirus.

4/22  Thomas Pueyo, “Coronavirus: The Hammer and the Dance,” Medium, March 19, 2020.

4/27  Heather Mac Donald, “Compared to What?New Criterion, March 13, 2020.

4/29  Anne Applebaum, “The Coronavirus Called America’s Bluff,The Atlantic, March 15, 2020.
Gov. Phillip Murphy, Summary of Executive Orders 107 and 108.

5/4    Discussion to wrap up Unit 5 and the whole class, and discuss the final exam.


Final exams

All due to by midnight of Monday, May 11, 2020. info forthcoming.

Last revised: April 27, 2020

2 thoughts on “Readings

  1. Pingback: Announcements | Khawaja's Phil 250 Blog

  2. Pingback: Quiz 1 reminder | Khawaja's Phil 250 Blog

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