Philosophy 210-04 and 210-05, Moral Philosophy, Fall, 2018, MWF

Office Hours in RH-428 (445-4489)

Prof. Michael Kagan

MWF - 8:45-9:15am, 10:30-10:45am, Thurs - 1:50-2:15pm
and by appointment


Le Moyne College website:


This course aims at an understanding of the activity of making moral judgments or affirming one value or set of values over another. At issue are, typically, the meaning of the words spoken when people make ethical assertions, the possibility of justifying or proving the truth of such assertions and the implications of discovering situations in which the ethical dimension is problematic. Integral to this course is a study of these questions in the light of the great traditions of ethical thinking as they have come to light in the various wisdom literatures.  (Le Moyne College Catalog)

Philosophy department outcomes this course serves:

Students will be able to articulate a philosophical understanding of the world through the eyes of others.

Students will be able to articulate philosophically significant issues in their own life-experiences.

Students will be able to summarize a philosophical argument with appropriate detail.



Plato -  Five Dialogues (Grube translation, with Cooper revisions)

Aristotle - Nicomachean Ethics (David Ross’s translation)
Confucius - Analects (D.C. Lau’s translation)

Lau Tzu - Tao Te Ching ((D.C. Lau’s translation))

Martin Buber – The Way of Man

Rosemarie Tong - "Feminist Ethics" (SEP),



 In coordination with the Academic Support Center (ASC), reasonable accommodations are provided for qualified students with disabilities. Please register with the ASC Office for disability verification and determination of reasonable accommodations. After receiving your accommodation form from the ASC, you will need to make an appointment with me to review the form and discuss your needs. Please make every attempt to meet with me within the first week of class so your accommodations can be provided in a timely manner. You can either stop by the ASC, Library, 1st floor, or call (445-4118-voice or 445-4104-TDD) to make an appointment.



   No class or office hours on the following times/dates:   Mass of the Holy Spirit – Wednesday, August 29; classes scheduled to meet from 9:30-10:45 will dismiss at 10:30. Classes scheduled for 11:00 a.m., and 12:00 p.m. will not be held. Mon., Sept. 3, Labor Day; Monday, September 10 (Rosh HaShanah); Wednesday, Sep. 19 (Yom Kippur); Oct. 8-9, Fall Break; Nov. 21-25, Thanksgiving Break.  

   Last day of class:  Dec. 7 (Fri.).  PROJECT PROPOSALS (for optional paper) DUE Wed., OCT. 17.   OPTIONAL WRITTEN PROJECTS DUE:  Wed., NOV. 14.  OPTIONAL WRITTEN PROJECTS optional revisions due Wed., NOV. 28.



 If campus/dorms are closed due to flu or other circumstances, my intent is that the course continue.    Assignments continue to be due by email. Presentations will be replaced by papers, virtual presentations, or extended descriptions of presentations.  In addition to notes and group work already available there on-line, I will post updates, lecture notes, etc., to my Le Moyne College web site at

 As at other times, if your situation results in your needing an extension, please let me know.  Also, if internet service is down or there are other infrastructure problems, please complete the assignments and turn them in when services are restored.



Your grade will be based on the average of the following:

1.  (50%) You will have an opportunity to take two take-home quizzes. These will be handed out at least 4 days before they are due.  Late quizzes will receive a 15% grading penalty for each day they are late.  [If you cannot get a quiz in on time, please let me know you need to take a make-up quiz with a different deadline.] Unless otherwise indicated, please complete the quiz in less than 500 words.  All work, except in-class writings, is to be typed.  Quizzes are to be turned in on the date due with a copy emailed to me at  In addition to the file attachment, please paste the text of your answers into your message.  
2.  (50%) Work in class, including group work/in-class writings/optional final paper.  (See http:/


Grades are based on a 10 point scale as follows:

90-100 - 'A' range (97-100 = A+; 94-96=A; 90-93=A-); 80-89  - 'B' range (87-89 = B+; 84-86=B; 80-83=B-);

70-79  - 'C' range (77-79 = C+; 74-76=C; 70-73=C-); 60-69  - 'D' range (67-69 = D+; 64-66=D; 60-63=D-).

Below 60 - 'F'.


 The paper gives you an opportunity to explore some aspect of a particular traditional ethical theory, at the theoretical and/or applied level.   

  If you decide to write a paper, please confirm your topic with me in advance by submitting a paper proposal by Wed., Oct. 17. Whatever your topic, please feel free to consult me regarding bibliography, style, or as a devil's advocate. The paper is to be a defense of one claim or proposal related to the issue in question. Students should explicitly state the claim they are defending, make a brief case for its importance, develop their arguments carefully, consider objections, and show awareness of alternatives and criticisms of their own position. The paper should be structured in form and content as if it were being addressed to an audience consisting of the undecided and the reasonable opposition.  If you are looking for organizational suggestions, the people at the writing center can be quite helpful.  The paper should be approximately 5-7 pages in length. The paper is to be turned in TWICE, on the dates indicated below. The 1st draft will be graded and given comments that I hope will aid you in the revision. If you are satisfied with the first grade or decide to accept it for some other reason, you have the option of returning the paper "as-is" with its comments by Wed., Nov. 28.   If you do so, your grade on the paper will be the grade you received on the first draft. If you opt to revise, you will receive the grade of the revision, if higher (and the grade on the draft, if not).   Please feel free to drop by during office hours to make an appointment to discuss your project.  If you don't find me on campus, you are welcome to call me at home before 8:00 PM.   YOU CAN ALWAYS LEAVE A VOICE MAIL MESSAGE AT 445-4489.


Week #1 (Mon., Aug 27) Introduce course.  Discussion of nomos, phusis, logos, & reading.  Brief survey of ethical theories.  Start reading Plato’s Euthyphro (the Plato assignments are in the Five Dialogues text). Mass of the Holy Spirit – Wednesday, August 29; classes scheduled to meet from 9:30-10:45 will dismiss at 10:30. Classes scheduled for 11:00 a.m., and 12:00 p.m. will not be held.

Week #2 (Wed., Sep. 5).No class Mon., Sept. 3, Labor Day. Plato’s Euthyphro.

Week #3 (Wed. Sep. 12) No class or office hours Monday, September  10 (Rosh HaShanah).  Plato’s Apology.  
Week #4 (Mon, Sep. 17)
No class or office hours Wednesday, September  19 (Yom Kippur). Plato’s Crito.. 

Week #5 (Mon., Sep. 24) Plato’s Meno.  

Week #6 (Mon., Oct. 1).  Plato’s Phaedo

No classes: Oct. 8-9, Fall Break

Week #7 (Wed., Oct. 10) Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, Books 1-1.
Week #8 (Mon., Oct. 15) Nicomachean Ethics, Books 2-7.  PROJECT PROPOSALS (for optional paper) DUE Wed., OCT. 17.  Rosemarie Tong’s "Feminist Ethics" - 

Week #9 (Mon., Oct. 22)  Nicomachean Ethics, Books 8-9.

Week 10 (Mon. Oct. 29)  Nicomachean Ethics, Books 9-10.  

Week #11 (Mon., Nov. 5)  Confucius’ Analects, Books I-X. 
Week #12 (Mon., Nov. 12) Analects, Books X-XX.
Week #13 (Mon., Nov. 19) Lau Tzu’s Tao Te Ching, Book One.

Nov. 21-25, Thanksgiving Break.  
Week #14 (Mon., Nov. 26) Lau Tzu’s Tao Te Ching, Book Two.
OPTIONAL WRITTEN PROJECTS optional revisions due Wed., NOV. 28.
Week #15. (Mon., Dec. 3) Martin Buber’s Way of Man, (Final evaluations last day of class, if they haven't already taken place, and
depending on the implementation of the new evaluation system.)


Some of this page's links:

Philosophy 210, Moral Philosophy, Fall, 2018,

Materials for Ethics    http:/ 
Back to Kagan's homepage - http:/