These are the course readings and viewings for Phil 250, Making Moral Decisions, Fall 2019 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.

Readings for the A section (M/W) are in bold. Readings for the D section (T/Th) are as follows: (D: date).

8/26    (section D: 8/27)   Introduction to the class: syllabus review, introduction to the class, opening discussion on the ethics and economics of higher education.

UNIT 1: The Ethics and Economics of Higher Education

8/28  (D: 8/29) Charles Murray, “Down with the Four Year College Degree!” from Cato Unbound (2008).

9/4  (D: 9/3) Irfan Khawaja, “Charles Murray on the Alleged Worthlessness of the College BA

9/9  (D: 9/5) 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.”]

9/11  (D: 9/10) Jason Brennan and Phillip Magness, ““Estimating the Cost of Justice for Adjuncts”Journal of Business Ethics (January 2016).

9/16  (D: 9/12) Stephen Shulman, “The Costs and Benefits of Adjunct Justice,” Journal of Business Ethics (March 2017).

9/18  (D: 9/17) 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,”

9/23  (D: 9/19) Anthony DiMaggio, “Why Higher Education Should Rid Itself of College Athletics,” Counterpunch (April 2014).

9/25  (D: 9/24) Wrap up day on higher education.


UNIT 2: The Ethics and Economics of Housing

9/30  (D: 9/26) Brett & Kate McKay, “Renting Your First Apartment“; Melanie Lockert, “How Do You Rent an Apartment?”

10/2  (D: 10/1), “How to Buy a House

10/7  (D: 10/3) Sarah Williams Holtman, “Kant, Ideal Theory, and the Justice of Exclusionary Zoning,” Ethics (October 1999).

10/9  (D: 10/8) Holtman, continued

10/14  (D: 10/10) Wrap up day on housing.


UNIT 3: The Ethics and Legalities of Driving

10/16  (D: 10/15) Douglas Husak, “Vehicles and Crashes: Why Overlooked?” Social Theory and Practice (July 2004).

10/21  (D: 10/17) 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.

10/23  (D: 10/22) Douglas Husak, “Is Drunk Driving a Serious Offense?Philosophy and Public Affairs (Winter 1994).

10/28  (D: 10/24) Husak and DUI continued.

10/30  (D: 10/29) Court transcript, Bedminster Municipal Court: State of New Jersey vs. Irfan Khawaja (April 2019).

11/4  (D: 10/31) Wrap up day on driving.


UNIT 4: Guns and Crime, Courage and Cowardice

11/6  (D: 11/5) U.S. Constitution, Fourth Amendment; Supreme Court, Terry vs. Ohio (1968).

11/11  (D: 11/7) Michael Huemer, “The Right to Own a Gun,” Social Theory and Practice (April 2003).

11/13  (D: 11/12) Hugh LaFollette, “Gun Control,” Ethics (January 2000).

11/18  (D: 11/14) Huemer and LaFollette concluded.

11/20, 11/25  (D: 11/19, 11/21) 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: Respect, Honesty, and Human Interaction

12/2 (D: 11/26) Thomas Nagel, “Concealment and Exposure,” Philosophy and Public Affairs (Winter 1998).

12/4  (D: 12/3) Nagel, continued

(D: 12/5) Ari Schulman, “Appearance as a Guide to Moral Character,” The New Atlantis (August 2011); Richard Wiseman et al, “How Your Looks Betray Your Personality,” New Scientist (Feb. 2009).


Final exams

Section A: 12/11, 8:30-10:30 am, Obal 310

Section D: 12/12, 8:30-10:30 am, Obal 307


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