Course Policies

Course Vision:

In God and the Good Life you will:

  1. Learn how to argue convincingly, deeply and responsibly.
  2. Cultivate the practice of philosophical self-reflection.
  3. Discover the personal and social value of philosophy.
  4. Grow in five intellectual virtues: curiosity, argumentative rigor, intellectual courage, intellectual humility, and empathetic reasoning.

Course Objectives:

You will develop (and be evaluated on) six specific skills related to the course vision:

  1. Reading philosophical texts and analyzing their key arguments.
  2. Reading major news sources and analyzing their key arguments.
  3. Contributing to a sustained dialogue that applies philosophy in a sophisticated and constructive way to concrete problems in the community.
  4. Writing a persuasive op-ed article on a current event surrounding belief, religion, morality, or meaning.
  5. Writing a persuasive philosophical apology, defending your core philosophical beliefs.
  6. Verbally articulating philosophical arguments in short TED talks, formal class debates and group dialogues.


Assignments must be submitted by the due date.  No late work is accepted without an approved University absence.  Click the links below to read descriptions of the assignments.

Grading System:

God and the Good Life is graded on a total point system.  You earn points for completing different assignments.  Many assignment have maximum point values which few or no students will achieve.  That’s completely fine! There are many routes to a very high letter grade. But all of them require constant attendance, engaged participation, and (most importantly) timely, successful completion of assignments. There is no curve for the course–your grade is determined purely based on the effort you put in and your achievements over the course of the semester.  The teaching team wants you to grow in this class and to score as well as possible on every skill, so please talk to us if you want to strategize about how to reach for more points or if you do not understand how you are doing.  Points will be posted to Sakai as soon as they are available.  Here is how points translate to final letter grades:

  • [A] > 420 points
  • [A-] 400-420 points
  • [B+] 380-399 points
  • [B] 360-379 points
  • [B-] 340-359 points
  • [C+] 320-339 points
  • [C] 300-319 points
  • [C-] 280-299 points
  • [D] 260-279 points
  • [F] < 260 points

Honor Code:

This class follows Notre Dame’s binding Honor Code.  All work you submit must be your own.  Your sources must be properly cited.  Direct quotations from others must be in quotation marks.  If you have questions about how to attribute your sources, talk to your Facilitator.

Frequently Asked Policy Questions:

When are Prof Sullivan’s Office Hours?  Generally they are on Mondays immediately after class in Room 109 Malloy Hall.  She is also usually available a half hour before class.  It is a great idea to make an appointment, or even just send her an email heads up that you are coming.  From time to time OHs are shifted to accommodate Philosophy Department meetings.

When Should I go to Office Hours?  Come to Prof Sullivan’s office hours if you want help with any class assignments.  Or if you are having any issues related to the class.  Or if you love the class.  Or if you want to talk through a philosophical question that interests you.  Or if you want to talk about the Star Wars films.  Or if you want to talk about life, the universe, and everything.  She might not always be able to help with the last topic, but you can come for any reason.

Does my Dialogue Facilitator/Grad TA Have Office Hours?  Yes!  And you can talk with them for all of the same reasons.  But the best bet is always to send them an email and set up a meeting.

How Can I Hang Out with One of Our Speakers Outside of Class? We’ll arrange a sign-up for slots to have lunch with the speakers and Prof Sullivan (stay tuned for info).  You can and should come up to talk to them after class!