Syllabus (Summer 2016)

General Course Information:

  1. Read the General Course Policies.
  2. Read the Technology Policies.
  3. Read the Assignment Overview and Grading Policies.

[6/1] What is the Good Life and How Do We Pursue It? 

Readings and assignments should be completed before the relevant class meeting.

  1. Read Selections from Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics on Goodness, Habit, and Friendship.
  2. Watch the Introduction to the Apology Assignment.
  3. Read the Directions for the Apology Assignment.
  4. ASSIGNMENT: Submit your Identity Inventory.  (Link to form in first assignment email.)
  5. Read the Directions for Submitting Assignments on WordPress.
  6. ASSIGNMENT: Personal Narrative Pre-Write for Dialogue Group Due 6pm on 6/6.
  7. Read “ What Google Learned from its Quest to Build the Perfect Team.” (NY Times)

[6/6] Claim: You Should Doubt Most/All of Your Beliefs.

  1. Read Doubt Everything (Descartes) Interactive Digital Text (The interactive texts work best in Chrome. Click the shield in the URL bar to allow videos.)
  2. Read “Are We Living in a Computer Simulation?” (New Scientist).
  3. Read “The Science of Snobbery”(The Atlantic).
  4. ASSIGNMENT: 4 Questions on Doubt.
  5. Read Directions for Sustained Dialogue Assignment.
  6. Read An Aristotelian Analysis of Trolling (Prof. Rachel Barney… channeling Aristotle).

[6/8] Claim: You Should Trust Common Sense.

  1. Read Thomas Reid on the Epistemology of Common Sense.
  2. Read ``The Sugar Conspiracy” (The Guardian).
  3. ASSIGNMENT: 4 Questions on Common Sense.
  4. Read Directions for Writing Op-Ed Assignments.
  5. ASSIGNMENT: Pre-Write for Op-Ed 1 (Due 6/13 at 4pm).

[6/13] Claim: God Exists and It Can be Demonstrated.

  1. Read God Exists (Aquinas) Interactive Digital Text.
  2. Read Anselm’s Ontological Argument.
  3. Watch the Causal Dependence Thought Experiment.
  4. Read “Facebook Revives Debate Over Whether Monotheists Worship Same God” (NY Times).
  5. ASSIGNMENT: 4 Questions on Natural Theology.
  6. ASSIGNMENT: Op-Ed 1 Due at Midnight on June 14th.

[6/15] Claim: There is No God and It Can Be Demonstrated.

  1. Read David Hume’s Book X of “Dialogues on Natural Religion”.
  2. Read the Book of Job, chapter 1 and chapter 2.
  3. Watch The Problem of Evil and Catholic Social Teaching (Interview with Fr. Paul Kollman).
  4. Read about The New London School Explosion.
  5. ASSIGNMENT: 4 Questions on Evil.
  6. ASSIGNMENT: Comments on Op-Eds.

[6/20] Claim: Faith is Valuable (Regardless of Whether it is Demonstrable).

  1. Read William James’s “The Will to Believe.
  2. Watch the Doxastic Voluntarism Thought Experiment.
  3. Read “Secular But Feeling a Call to Divinity School” (NY Times).
  4. Read “When Some Turn to Church, Others Go to Crossfit” (NY Times).
  5. ASSIGNMENT: 4 Questions on the Value of Faith.
  6. ASSIGNMENT: Read and Analyze this Op-Ed for Writing Workshop

[6/22] Claim: Organized Religion is Irrational or Immoral.

  1. Read Friedrich Nietzsche’s Selections from The Genealogy of Morals (password required).
  2. Read “The Evolution of Shaming” (The Atlantic).
  3. Read Selections from Under the Banner of Heaven (Jon Krakauer).(password required).
  4. Read ``University of Miami Establishes Chair for Study of Atheism.” (NY Times).
  5. ASSIGNMENT: 4 Questions on the (Ir)rationality of Organized Religion

[6/27] Claim: You Shouldn’t Impose Your Moral Views on Other Cultures.

  1. Read Martha Nussbaum’s “Judging Other Cultures”
  2. Listen to This American Life: Who Do We Think We Are? Act One.
  3. Read Isaiah Berlin Closing Section from “Two Concepts of Liberty”.
  4. Read “How to Defeat Religious Violence” (WSJ).
  5. Read “She Was Asked to Switch Seats.  Now She’s Charging El Al with Sexism” (NY Times)
  6. ASSIGNMENT: 4 Questions on Toleration and Pluralism.
  7. ASSIGNMENT: Op-Ed 2 is due at Midnight on 6/28. POST DRAFT FOR WRITING WORKSHOP BY 4pm on 6/27.

[6/29] Claim: You Should Do Everything You Can to Alleviate Suffering.

  1. Read Chapter 2 of Mill’s Utilitarianism
  2. Watch the Demandingness of Morality Thought Experiment.
  3. Read “Join Wall Street. Save the World.” (Washington Post)
  4. Read “The Way to Produce a Person” (NY Times)
  5. ASSIGNMENT: 4 Questions on Utilitarianism and Altruism.
  6. ASSIGNMENT: Write Comments on Op-Eds.

[7/4] NO CLASS–Independence Day

[7/6] Claim: You Should Show Absolute Respect for Freedom and Autonomy.

  1. Read the Act from Duty (Kant) Interactive Digital Text
  2. Watch Rationality and Local Government (Interview with Mayor Peter Buttigieg).
  3. Read “Do We Have a Duty to Look After Ourselves?” (Irish Times).
  4. Read “Rawls on Wall Street.” (NY Times).
  5. Read “Morality; The Good Lie” (NY Times).
  6. ASSIGNMENT: 4 Questions on Deontological Ethics.

[7/11] Claim: You Should Try to Develop Virtue and Improve Your Community.

  1. Read Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics Book 2 (password required)
  2. Watch Virtue Ethics and Juvenile Justice (Iview with Dr. Alesha Sercozynski)
  3. Read “What was Volkswagen Thinking?” (The Atlantic).
  4. Read “Mother Teresa on Poverty and the Poor”. (password required)
  5. ASSIGNMENT: 4 Questions on Virtue Ethics.
  6. ASSIGNMENT: Convincing Argument Pre-Write Due 4pm on 7/11 (moved back from 7/6).

[7/13] Claim: You Should Pursue a Life of Moral Perfection.

  1. Read the Why Be Good (Plato) Interactive Digital Text.
  2. Watch the Ring of Gyges Thought Experiment.
  3. Read Susan Wolf’s “Moral Saints” (password required).
  4. ASSIGNMENT: 4 Questions on Morality and Happiness.
  5. ASSIGNMENT: Op-Ed 3 is due at Midnight on 7/14. 

[7/18] Claim: You Should Pursue a Life of Action and Activism.

  1. Read Hannah Arendt’s Selections from The Human Condition.
  2. Read “Aims and Purposes of Catholic Worker” and “Security” (Dorothy Day).
  3. Read “The Movement Mentality” (NY Times).
  4. Read “The Big Uneasy: The New Activism of Liberal Arts Colleges” (The New Yorker)
  5. Watch The Vita Activa and Social Justice Movements (Interview with Dr. Margaret Pfeil)
  6. ASSIGNMENT: 4 Questions on the Life of Action.
  7. ASSIGNMENT: Rough Draft of Apology for Peer Review Due by 6pm on July 20th.
  8. ASSIGNMENT: Comments on Op-Eds. (We’ll be doing comment grades this weekend)

[7/20] Claim: You Should Pursue a Life of Contemplation.

  1. Read Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics 10.7.
  2. Watch Fr. John Jenkins Introduction to Aquinas.
  3. Read St. Thomas Aquinas’s Summa 2-2, 179, 180, and 181.
  4. Watch The Contemplative Life in Aristotle, Aquinas and at Notre Dame (Interview with Fr. John Jenkins).
  5. Read “Don’t Send Your Kid to the Ivy League” (New Republic).
  6. ASSIGNMENT: 4 Questions on the Life of Contemplation.
  7. ASSIGNMENT: Review of Peer’s Apology Draft Due by 6pm on July 25th.

[7/25] Claim: Your Life Has No Meaning 

  1. Read Leo Tolstoy’s Selections from the Confessions.
  2. Read Ecclesiastes Chapters chap 1, chap 2, and chap 3.
  3. Watch Life in an Atomic Age.
  4. ASSIGNMENT: 4 Questions on Nihilism
  5. ASSIGNMENT: Final Draft of Apology (and Excerpted Presentation Copy) Due July 27th at 4pm.

[7/27] Summer 2016 Statements of the Good Life