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Final (!) homework assignment

Here’s your final homework assignment for the course:

Blog: You are wide open on this one, but here are a couple of ideas:

  • Are Aristotle and Nietzsche right when they say that morality is a quality of people, not of actions?
  • Is it unfair for Nietzsche to limit the power to create value to the “noble”?
  • Who is the most appealing (or the most unappealing, or the most provocative, or the most awesome) ethicist we’ve discussed throughout the semester?

As I said, the floor is yours: write about whatever you’d like (as long as it’s at least somewhat related to this class!). This is due Wednesday at midnight.

The very last day to submit work for the course is Saturday, December 13. All papers and make-up blog posts must be submitted by this time in order to count for your final grade. This is also the final day for submitting comments for the fourth and final blog grading period; you should have at least three comments between the period of 11/24 and 12/13.

In the blogs, 12/9/08

In the blogs today, December 9, 2008:

    At 4:30,

  • Gordon imagines a spectrum of killing, with its own virtues and vices.
  • Lance says that one should consider the states of character that are associated with murderousness.
  • Liz attracted attention from an outside observer!
    At 6:30,

  • Matt argues that it’s important to look at the qualities from which the action emanates
  • Eric gives two related reasons why Aristotle would frown on murder
  • Jeffersson hypothesizes about the kind of scale on which murder might be an extreme

Homework for 12/9

Here’s your homework for Tuesday, December 9:

  • Blog: Give an Aristotelean account for the moral worth of murder. Remember, this is perhaps a little trickier than it sounds, since Aristotle is focused not as much on the value of actions as on the value of individuals.
  • Read: Nietzsche, in the Cahn anthology. You will probably enjoy reading him.

Class cancelled for Tuesday, Dec 2

Hi everybody. I’m feeling pretty sick and so I’m canceling class for tonight. Here’s what this means:

  • Extra credit assignments, should you wish to complete them (the details are in a previous blog post) are still due at the same time, 4:30 or 6:30 today, depending on which class you’re in.
  • I’m extending the deadline for the writing assignment by 48 hours, until Saturday, December 6, at 4:30 for section D and 6:30 for section G. This way any student who was hoping to meet with me today about his or her paper will still have time to do so.

Here is the assignment in .doc format, for those who have had trouble getting it otherwise.

Homework for 12/2

No new homework. Make sure to read Aristotle’s Book II very closely, though. In class on Tuesday we’ll be talking in depth about how Aristotle defines virtue.

Extra credit opportunity

A few of you have shown interest in earning extra credit. Click here to download the details.

Homework for 11/25

Here’s your homework for Tuesday, November 25:

  • Blog about the question of who, precisely, is a party to the social contract. Can we rightfully say that the sovereign has made an agreement to give up some rights? How about a child? Or a person who, because of material limitations, cannot easily opt out of the contract by moving away? If these people are only parties to the contract in a limited way, is their subjectivity to moral judgment also limited? Due Sunday at midnight.
  • Read from Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics: Book I section 7, and all of Book II.
  • The third blog grading period ends Sunday at midnight. Between 10/31 and 11/23, you must have posted at least five comments on others’ blogs, and posted five blog entries.
  • Finally, don’t forget that on Tuesday we will be looking at your tentative thesis statements for the second written assignment. Bring a copy of this tentative thesis – no more than a sentence or two – to class on Tuesday.

Writing assignment 2

Just so no one will accuse me of making the writing assignment difficult to find…

Written Assignment 2

Click the above link for a PDF version of the second and final writing assignment for the course.

In the blogs, 11/20/2008

In the blogs today, November 20, 2008:

    At 4:30:

  • Hannah says that the government should be more subject to moral rules than everyone else, not less
  • Tori defends Hobbes’s logic, and offers a sense in which the government might be held responsible in a moral sense.
    At 6:30:

  • Matt P., and, in the comments to his entry, Monica, give a convincing case for the plausibility of Hobbes’s position.
  • Matt F. gives an argument for why we should reject Hobbes’s notion of sovereign immunity from moral judgment.

Homework for 11/20

Here’s your homework for this Thursday, November 20:

  • Blog about the connection that Hobbes posits between morality and government. What’s the connection? Are governments/sovereigns subject to moral judgment?
  • Read section 7 in Book I of Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics. It’s short, but kinda tough – work your way through it slowly and we’ll begin our discussion of Aristotle in class on Thursday.

Here is a huge link to audio files

In the blogs, 11/17/08

In the blogs today, November 17, 2008:

    At 4:30,

  • Sean points out that we’re in a constant struggle against falling back into the state of nature
  • Kristen explains that it’s difficult to know what people would be like in the state of nature
    At 6:30,

  • Joe sums up Hobbes’s argument in an extremely clear way.
  • Chris R. argues against Hobbes’s claim that resources are necessarily scarce.

Homework for 11/18

Here’s your homework for Tuesday, November 18:

  • Blog about Hobbes’s conception of the state of nature. Is he right that human nature, combined with the finiteness of the world’s resources, will necessarily lead to a state of war? Is he right that the state of war described would really be the worst situation imaginable? Due Sunday at midnight
  • Read chapters XIII and XIV of the Hobbes. This is only a few pages, so you will have the chance to read extremely closely. Pay special attention to the things that we haven’t yet gone over in detail in class: in particular, the way that the social contract requires the existence of a government, and the way in which morality arises out of the whole thing.