Class: PHL205 Ethics
Classroom: Lanigan 107
Class time: MWF 1:50 pm - 2:45 pm
Professor: Craig DeLancey
Office Hours: Online Tuesday 9:00 - 11:00 a.m., Zoom Thursday 2:00 - 4:00 p.m., every other W in my office, and by appointment
Our task in this class is to answer a number of questions about ethics:
We will take a roughly historical approach, and so an added
benefit is that we'll learn a little history of philosophy
by way of examining the development of ethical theory. Here's a rough
outline of our historical themes (here numbered by week):
- What is the method of ethics?
- What is the good?
- How should we make decisions?
- What's the best form of government?
- How can we maintain progress in ethics?
- Background: methods of philosophy. Topic, methods, challenges. Challenges to ethics. Divine command theory.
- Plato 1
- Plato 2
- Plato 3
- Hobbes, Rousseau, Rawls
- Locke, Smith
- Hegel and Marx. Equality.
- Free speech. Democracy versus other forms of government.
- An emerging consensus?
There are three texts that are required for this course:
Plato, Five Dialogues (Hackett, ISBN 0872206335)
We will read some other things, but these other texts will be
made available on the web, as electronic texts, or as handouts. Please do
not take this course if you are unwilling to read and grapple with difficult
Kant, Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals (Hackett, ISBN 9780872201668)
Mill, On Liberty and Utilitarianism (Oxford, ISBN 9780199670802)
Assignments and exams
We are going to do something different with this course. Instead of
having most of the work being at the end of the class, we will try to
spread the work evenly over the semester. The course will be divided into
roughly two-week long sections, as listed above. Each week, there will be:
The final exam will be short and almost entirely just a repeat of some of
our previous reading questions and quiz questions.
- reading questions and related short assignments,
- a practice quiz or a short quiz.
If you have a disabling condition which may interfere with your
ability to successfully complete any of the assignments of this
course, please contact the Disability Services Office.
The raw grade will be determined in roughly the following way:
See my grading policy for a brief note
on how I turn the raw grade into a final grade.
Practice quizes: 10%
In addition to the listed office hours, I encourage you to make
appointments. I am available quite a bit; the only problem is that
I tend to have lots of irregular meetings so it is hard for me to promise
a reoccuring time.
Please try to come to office hours with specific questions in mind.
You can of course come with a general request for help, but it is
always helpful if you spend a little time thinking about how I can
best help you out.
By the end of this class, you should understand and be able to explain some basic
theories of ethics, including Kantian deontology, Millian Utilitarianism, and Contract
I will frequently update an online schedule of readings and
assignments. It is your responsibility to check the www pages for
the class at least every other day!
No screens please. Leave your phone and computer at home.
Final Exam date and time TBA
Clery Act/Title IX Reporting Statement
SUNY Oswego is committed to enhancing the safety and security of the campus for all its members. In support of this, faculty may be required to report their knowledge of certain crimes or harassment. Reportable incidents include harassment on the basis of sex or gender prohibited by Title IX and crimes covered by the Clery Act. For more information about Title IX protections, go to https://www.oswego.edu/title-ix/ or contact the Title IX Coordinator, 405 Culkin Hall, 315-312-5604, email@example.com. For more information about the Clery Act and campus reporting, go to the University Police annual report: https://www.oswego.edu/police/annual-report.
If you have a disabling condition, which may interfere with your ability to successfully complete this course, please contact the Office of Accessibility Services.
If you miss an quiz and have an excused absence for the day you miss
the exam, you may make it up, by special appointment with me, when you
are able to come back to class. It is your responsibility to arrange
any make-up exams as soon as you know you are going to miss the
exam. Otherwise you may lose the opportunity to take the test, since I
cannot give make-up exams after the class has gone over the
Here is how you secure an excused absence: Only prior notification
with credibly documented or easily verifiable reasons (e.g., medical
visits to Mary Walker, documented participation in official sporting
events, etc.) will result in excused absences. You must notify in
writing, call, or email me prior to your absence from class. You must
notify the Philosophy Dept. secretary, Jane Santore, before you are
going to be absent, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by phone at
x2249. However, you must make sure she knows your name, the number of
the course, the date, and your easily verifiable reason, along with a
request to forward the information to me. It is better to give your
information to me, except when you are unable to communicate with my
phone or email for some reason.
Please hold onto all of your assignments and exams. Sometime before
the end of the semester I recommend that you ask me to review the
grades that I have recorded to make sure that I have not made any
College Policy on Intellectual Integrity
SUNY Oswego is committed to Intellectual Integrity. Any form of intellectual
dishonesty is a serious concern and therefore prohibited.
Intellectual integrity on the part of all students is basic to
individual growth and development through college course work. When
academic dishonesty occurs, the teaching/learning climate is seriously
undermined and student growth and development are impeded. For these
reasons, any form of intellectual dishonesty is a serious concern and
is therefore prohibited.
The full intellectual integrity policy can be found at