Ethics IVC

Nile Barnes
Matthew M. Daude

Spring, 1999

PHL 1623
Section 7778
Section 7779

AHS 2303
Section 7953
Section 7954

M 6:00-9:00 PM

RVS 5005

The ACC catalogue describes this course as "A study of the principles of morality with a critical examination of various ethical theories and their application to contemporary moral issues." Our goal in this course will be to learn and to practice cogent reasoning about moral problems. Consequently, we will discuss the ethical views of certain philosophers in order to learn how they reasoned about the problems with which they were concerned, and we will practice such reasoning by applying their theories to moral problems that concern us today. Our theme for this semester is ethics in the allied health professions. We will explore the ways in which philosophical theories about morality might shed light on problematic cases in the practice of healthcare professions.

We will pursue three goals in this course:

    1. To learn and to practice cogent reasoning about moral problems
    2. To become acquainted with several major ethical theories
    3. To apply these theories to cases in the ethics of healthcare practice

Preliminary Issues

There are no prerequisites for Ethics. A passing score or the equivalent on the reading portion of the TASP is required, and we highly recommend a passing score or the equivalent on the writing portion. The major form of evaluation will be written work, and the main instructional methods will include lecture and discussion.

Our objectives for the semester reflect the goals listed above: demonstration of improved critical thinking skills, familiarity with the basic problems and concepts ethical theory, and a working knowledge of the theories we will study.

We will have course materials posted on the Ethics IVC main page, and we strongly encourage you to get an email account, if you do not already have one. (If you would like some help getting an email account, let us know.

Office Hours

Barnes Monday:
Tues- Thurs


(Other times by appointment)

RVS 6106
Daude Mondays

1:30-2:00 & 3:30-6:00 PM
4:30-6:00 PM
11:30-12:00 noon
   (Other times by appointment)

RVS 2283

Texts and Reading Assignments

PHL1623/AHS 2303 Packet of Readings

The packet will be available in the ACC bookstore(s). We will also have the readings on desk reserve in the LRS. We may try to have them posted as well; check the Ethics IVC main page for details.

There will be a number of handouts, each of which will be available on-line. If you find that you must miss class, please get the handouts prior to the next class. Look for reading assignments reading assignments on-line as well. We expect everyone to come to class having read and thought about the assignment. Reading philosophy takes tenacity; expect to spend at least a couple of hours outside of class for every hour we spend in class. Be sure to get in touch with us if you are having problems with the course content.

Work and Grading Policy

The first portion of the course is devoted to the most influential ethical theories (natural law, utilitarianism, contractarianism, virtue ethics, and Kantianism). The second portion of the course will be an exploration of various moral problems in the practice of the healthcare professions. We will discuss the topic areas in more detail as the semester proceeds. You will have the opportunity to pursue individual interests within this general heading and share these interests with the class.

Each week, we will consider a few cases in a general topic area (e;g;, death/dying, abortion, medical experimentation, etc.). You will participate in these discussions by contributing a short presentation on a particular "moral conflict" category (e.g., autonomy, veracity, confidentiality, etc.) relevant to the cases. We will discuss this assignment in more detail as the semester unfolds. The class discussions should include analysis and evaluation of ethical arguments. (You may work together on this assignment, but we do insist on a minimal degree of integrity; discuss the details with one of us. As always, articles and other references must be credited appropriately in your written work.)

We expect everyone to participate in class discussion; class participation should be informed comments, observations, etc. By this we mean that everyone should come to class having read and thought about the assignment.

Your grade for this course will be based on written and collaborative work demonstrating the pursuit of the goals of the course. There are four components:

Theory exams


Final Exam


Term Paper


Class participation


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We will talk about the course components in much more detail in class, but the comments under Coursework Guidelines will give you the main idea. Due dates for written work will be arranged in class; please check here regularly for announcements and deadlines. Please note that I will not accept work after the stated due date, except by prior agreement. All written work done outside of class must be typed (using a standard font—no italics!) and double-spaced. Please see the General Course Policies for further information.

Coursework Guidelines

You may submit written work done outside of class by email; please follow the email guidelines below. We strongly encourage you to get an email account and use the web-based materials available for this class.

The Theory Exams

There will be an exam on each of the theories we study. The exam will consist of two parts: a short-answer, in-class portion and a take-home portion which will consist of essay questions. The take home portion will involve application of the theory, and you may retake this portion of each test should you be displeased with your effort. The evaluation will be based on your understanding of the theory, application to the cases given, and your defense (your reasons).

For fans of Bloom's taxonomy, the exams are at the knowledge, comprehension, and application levels.

Final Exam

The final exam is final in the sense that it comes at the end of the course: you will be expected to reason cogently about moral issues and put your reasoning on paper, rather than simply to reproduce "information" covered through the semester. Consequently, we will give you several scenarios and ask you to find an appropriate "resolution," using some theoretical framework. You will be practicing this sort of reasoning throughout the semester. The final will be a take-home essay test.

Term Paper

The paper will be a five-page exploration of a moral issue relating to the class discussion. We are not stipulating a particular format for this paper; any standard format for term papers is acceptable (MLA, for instance). However, please note that we will not accept an unformatted paper. We will discuss term papers in more detail as the semester unfolds. Please do not hesitate to contact us about your interests (email is good: or We are requiring that you hand in a topic question and a rough draft. See the Ethics IVC main page for due dates.

Class Participation

Your class participation grade will be based on participation in class discussion and the mini-presentations on cases.


Please note that reading assignments are, in fact, coursework as well. In our class discussion, we will assume that you have done your readings (and thought about what you have read). We will announce reading assignments in class, and they will be posted on the read assignment page.


If you do not have access to email, contact us. There are many free services in cyberland (Hotmail, for instance) that you can use in one of the computer labs. All you need to do is sign up. You can go to most any open lab and get help from the techs (they are great!).

1. Use a standard subject heading on all email

    sect Last, First: Assignment

Once you set this up it's not hard to remember. "Sect" means the section number of the course in which you are enrolled, "Last, First" is your name, and "Assignment" means what you are sending. "Assignment" should be whatever we have given as the heading; for instance, the second exam would be

    7778 Daude, Matthew: Exam 2

The critical analysis on a classmate's paper would look like

    5589 Daude, Matthew: Critical Analysis of Barnes' paper

If you just have a question or want to talk about something, use some short descriptive phrase:

    5589 Daude, Matthew: Question about the principle of utility

Remember to use your own name! (Yes, people have used my name . . . .) We know this is a pain, but it helps a great deal with organization on our end. Thanks in advance!

2. Send all work in the body of the email.

Don't send your work as an attachment! If you write assignments using a text editor, use the "cut-and-paste" functions to insert the text into the body of your email. Be sure to identify yourself and the assignment in the email!

3. Save your work!

The internet is fairly reliable, and so is my system, but problems do occasionally arise. Keep backups of all your work just in case!

Course Calendar

Check the Ethics IVC main page  frequently for due dates and other announcements.


This page was last updated on 03/01/09 by mmd.