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Location: FL 2203
Day/Time: T 9-11:30 am
Instructor: Paul Leclerc
Assistant Professor of Philosophy
Tel.: (401) 886-4107

Office: FL 1244
Office hours: T, 2-4 pm
Office Tel.: 333-7294
Web site:

COURSE DESCRIPTION AND GOALS: This course is designed to interrelate and coordinate the theoretical, practical, and personal dimensions of Western moral philosophy: Theoretically, we will systematically clarify and critically analyze influential, representative ethical theories in the history of Western philosophy. Practically, we will critically test these theoretical approaches by assessing their pragmatic relevance for resolving real or hypothetical moral problems. Personally, you will be assigned reflective, practical philosophical exercises designed to develop a more critical self-consciousness of your own ethical values, practices, and overall moral philosophy. On the basis of these three interrelated philosophical interests, our course goals include the following:

  • Basic understanding of the general approaches, basic arguments, traditional topics, and systematic concepts of Western philosophical ethics.
  • Acquisition of basic reasoning skills applicable to theoretical investigation and practical problems in ethics.
  • Rudimentary comprehension and application of philosophical standards and procedures for evaluating ethical arguments.
  • Establishment of a critical and informed insight into your own fundamental ethical values, practices, reasoning, and philosophy.


1. Theodore C. Denise, editor, Great Traditions in Ethics, 10th ed. Wadsworth Publishing Company, 2001.

2. Richard Norman, The Moral Philosophers: An Introduction to Ethics, 2nd ed. Oxford University Press, 1998.

You will be responsible for the following assignments. 
1. Readings in the course texts and occasional material handed out in class.

2. Brief written assignments (1-3 typed pages approximately) based on reflective exercises, study questions, student questionnaires, and practical experiments given in the course texts or provided in class. Typed papers are highly recommended, but I will accept legible handwritten papers. There will be five (5) written assignments worth 10% of your course grade. Evaluation of written assignments will be on a pass/fail basis. Standards of evaluation include:

  • Completion of assignment as directed
  • Evidence of conscientious effort
  • Adequate length for the specific assignment
  • Completion by due date
  • Use of standard English
5 5 A
4 4 B
3 3 C
2 2 D
1 1 F

EXAMS: There will be two (2) exams during the semester and a final exam during exam week. They will consist of T/F, multiple choice, short answer, and essay questions. An exam review handout will be provided one week prior to exams. The final exam will be representative rather than cumulative. Approximately 25%—40% of the final exam will be new material and 60%—75% will be a selection of prior course material. Exam percentages of the course grade are listed in the Calculation of Course Grade section below.

Permission to be excused from a scheduled exam will be granted only for serious medical or personal reasons and must be given prior to the exam. An unexcused absence from a scheduled exam will result in a failing grade for that exam.

Exam 1 2/18
Exam 2 4/1
Final Exam 5/6-9 (TBA)

Exam 1 25%
Exam 2 25%
Final Exam 40%
Written Assignments 10%

ATTENDANCE POLICY: You are expected to attend class, be prepared to ask and answer questions, and participate in class discussions. If you miss a class for any reason you are still responsible for material covered and assignments given (which may be accessed on my Web site: You will be granted one (1) unexcused absence. Each additional unexcused absence will result in a 1/3 reduction in your course grade (for example, a B to a B-). NOTE: Consistent attendance and class participation will weigh in your favor if your course grade is on the border between two grades.

CLASS FORMAT: Lecture, class discussion, and small-group discussion. Class participation is highly encouraged and an integral element of the course.

ONLINE RESOURCE: Visit my LOGOS web page for course handouts, helpful links, and miscellaneous material:

As a courtesy to the professor and your peers, please shut off any electronic communication devices prior to entering the classroom.

NOTE WELL: No classes the week of March 10-16, SPRING RECESS!