Class hours & Classroom: MW 11:00 am -12:15 pm. & SH 314
Office hours: Monday 12: 30 – 1:30pm. SN 418 Santa Susana Hall
Course Description: This course aims to introduce the students to the multi-faceted and complex nature of morality and ethics taking into consideration the wealth of various religious and intellectual traditions and approaches. We will begin the course with an overview of ethical reasoning in antiquity, particularly, how Plato and Aristotle treated the philosophical principles of ethics. We will then examine how ethics was shaped by various religious and cultural belief systems, including Christian, Hindu, Buddhist and Islamic schools of thought. We will also discuss how morality and ethics were influenced by some of the Enlightenment thinkers and how contemporary ethical issues are treated today in light of Post-Modern thought. Among the issues to be discussed are rational foundations of moral judgment, bio-ethics, gender issues, human freedom, environment, the question of “ethical economy”, violence and war, secularization and various concepts of religious piety.
RS 361 SLO’s in Contemporary Ethical Issues
1. Students will be able to think logically and analytically about various religious traditions.
2. Students will demonstrate familiarity with the basic contents and major themes in various religious traditions.
3. Students will be able to distinguish between the religious/faith and Historical/Critical approaches to sacred texts and dogmas.
4. Be able to contextualize religious ethics in Post-Modern Society
5. Acquire knowledge of the influence that various religious traditions have had on modern human civilization.
6. Understand religious diversity in the United States.
RS 361 GE SLO’s Goal: Students will understand the rich history and diversity of human knowledge, discourse and achievements of their own and other cultures as they are expressed in the arts, literatures, religions, and philosophy.
Explain and reflect critically upon the human search for meaning, values, discourse and
expression in one or more areas, periods or cultures;
Analyze, interpret, and reflect critically upon ideas of value, meaning, discourse and
expression from a variety of perspectives from the arts and/or humanities;
5. The Routledge Companion to Ethics. John Skorupski ed.
6.Comparative Religious Ethics, A Narrative Approach to Global Ethics, Darrel J. Fasching et. al. (Blackwell Publishing, 2011)
7. The Second Treatise of Government and A Letter Concerning Toleration, John Locke
8. Thus Spake Zarathustra, Friedrich Nietzsche
9. Euthypro, Plato
10. The Republic, Plato
11. Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle
Tests and Exams:
Midterm and Final.
There will be two main examinations: a midterm and a final. For the dates of the exams see Moodle. All exams are on Moodle, however students need to be present in class during the test.
Midterm: 40 questions. 20 multiple choice (2 points each) and 20 true and false (1 point each). Total: 60 points.
Final: 40 questions. 20 multiple choice (2 points each) and 20 true and false (1 point each). Total: 60 points. The final grade for the course will be calculated based on the average of online quizzes, writing assignments, the midterm and the final.
Online Reading Quizzes: All online quizzes will be based on the reading material. We will have two online quizzes before the midterm and two before the final. Students will take total of 4 online quizzes during the entire course.
Each online quiz will have 10 questions (1 point each question, multiple choice). All tests are online, however students need to be present in class during the test (you may use your reading notes during the test). A Study guide for the Midterm and the Final exams will be posted on Moodle a week prior to the test.
Attendance is 40 points. Present – 2 points, Late – 1 point. Absent – 0 points.
Writing assignments There will be 4 short essays on the assigned readings. 3 p. min. Students need to upload them on Moodle. Each paper is 10 points. See below for dates.
Major research paper is 15 p. min. (60 points). Students may choose a topic for research from the list of topics posted on Moodle. Also see writing instructions on Moodle.
An extra credit (30 extra points) opportunity will also be available for this course. Students volunteering for EC will have to participate in an oral debate (or presentation) on a controversial ethical issue with another student. Students may either argue their research paper topic or May choose a different topic for the debate. (It would be prudent to make arrangements with other students (potential opponents) for the possible debate and to pick a date as soon as possible).
Grading: your grades will be computed based on the following:
a. Your final grade will be based on the average of all the assignments.
30 extra points
Reading Quiz 1
Reading Quiz 2
Reading Quiz 3
Reading Quiz 4
Short Essay 1
Short Essay 2
Short Essay 3
Short Essay 4
Main Research Paper
300 +(30 EC)
Grading scale: Plus/minus grading system will be implemented. There will be no A+ grade.
Cheating and plagiarism are not tolerated. Any form of plagiarism will result in a failing grade. The following violations of academic integrity will be addressed formally: