Professional Ethics
with Professor Chad Okrusch

Montana Tech, Spring 2012

Syllabus | Contact Info


Week 11. Monday's course was a recap of virtue ethics. Wednesday we reviewed ethics of happiness. Friday, you will explore ethics of persons.

Welcome back.

Dr. Okrusch

Week Day/Topic Course Materials Assignments & Due Dates


Welcome to Professional Ethics, Spring 2012


Wednesday Jan.11


  • Introductions

No homework. Explore the web site and be prepared to give the class your definition of ethics. Also be prepared to identify some important ethical issues at local, state, national, global, and professional levels.

Friday Jan.13

Recognizing Moral Problems

1. Notebook: In your notebook discuss how you recognize moral problems when you encounter them?

Due Week 7 when I collect and grade noteboos. (25-pts)

Week Day/Topic Course Materials Assignments & Due Dates
2 Monday Jan.16
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Wednesday Jan.18

Tempering passion with reason

  • Discussion
    • How do we recognize moral problems?
    • What is the role of instinct, emotion, feelings, urges, and passion?
    • What is role of reason and analysis?
    • Recognition > Diagnosis > Analysis > Strong Evaluation > Moral Action
  • Read Okrusch, A Pragmatic approach to ethics
  • Read Peirce, The Fixation of Belief (sections III to V)

2. Notebook: List 5 ethical rules or principles that guide your moral conduct. Referring to the Peirce reading, why do you believe what you believe? Be prepared to discuss your answer on Monday.

Due week 7. (50-pts)

Friday Jan.20

Morality vs. slogans



3. Notebook: What are the ties that bind the Okrusch, Peirce, and Gert readings? What problems did you identify in them? Be prepared to share your work on Monday with the class.

Due week 7 when notebooks are due. (50-pts)

Week Day/Topic Course Materials Assignments & Due Dates

Monday Jan.23

Discussion & Review

  • Discussion
    • Books?
    • Academic and philsophical reading
    • Notebook no.2
    • Notebook no.3
  • Nagging Questions?

4. Notebook: What lessons, if any, have you learned in our first three weeks of readings and discussions. What questions now plague you?

Due week 7 (50-pts)

Wednesday Jan.25

Religion & Ethics


5. Notebook: Can there be religion without dogmatism? Can religion be pragmatic?

Due week 7 (50-pts)

Friday Jan.27



6. Notebook: Identify your probable future job. Is it a profession? Referring to today's reading material, justify your answer.

Due week 7 (25-pts)

Week Day/Topic Course Materials Assignments & Due Dates
4 Monday Jan.30

Discussion & Introduction to Moral Worlds

No homework outside of the reading. You should have some evidence of the reading in your notebook. And, ideally, that evidence will be in the form of thoughtful notes, or a summary of important points.

Wednesday Feb.01

Moral Worlds

7. Situate yourself as the moral agent at the center of your own professional moral ecosystem by describing your probable future line of work. Describe who your immediate, proximate, and distant claimants are. What rights do they have in this professional context? What obligations do you have to them as a professional (use WD Ross's list)?

Email your response to No need to attach a Word document or PDF, just send me your response in the body of an email.

100-pts / Due by Tuesday

Friday Feb.03

The Land Ethic


8. Notebook: What are Leopold's main points? Do you agree or disagree? Why or why not?

50-pts / Due week 7.

Week Day/Topic Course Materials Assignments & Due Dates
5 Monday Feb.06

Taking Values Seriously &
Sorting through Value Clashes
  • Review Moral Worlds
    • agents and claimants
    • needs, rights, and duties
    • ethical pull & moral considerability
    • Ross's duties
  • Lecture: Values & Conflicts
  • Read Weston, ch.6 & 14
  • Read Baggini & Fosl
    • 3.9 facts/values

9. Notebook. Values Issues. Pick one of the issues in Weston, p.124-5, and write your critical response to it . Remember to use the conceptual/theoretical notions we've been learning together as instruments in your analysis.

50-pts / Week 7

Wednesday Feb.08

Recognition to Diagnosis

  • Discussion: From Recognition to Diagnosis
  • Exercise: Diagnosing moral problems
    • Stakeholder Identification
    • Values, Interests, Principles (VIP)
    • Needs, Rights, and Duties

No homework.

Friday Feb.10

Moral Foundations, A Theory


10.Notebook. Moral Foundations. Identify a moral issue you feel passionate about. Describe the heart of the moral problem. Describe your moral stance through moral foundations theory (MFT).

50-pts / Week 7

Week Day/Topic Course Materials Assignments & Due Dates

Monday Feb.13

Moral Foundations Theory

  • Discussions
    • The Ethics of Judging Speech & Debate
    • Moral Foundations Theory
      • Care (Harm)
      • Fairness (Reciprocity)
      • Ingroup (Loyalty)
      • Respect (Authority)
      • Purity (Sanctity)
      • *Liberty (Oppresion)
    • Differences in liberals and conservatives

No homework. Study for Friday's take-home exam.

Wednesday Feb.15

Science & Method in
Systematic Moral Analysis

  • Sam Harris, "Science can answer moral questions" (TED)
  • Systematic Moral Analysis
  • Read Baggini & Fosl
    • Relativism
    • Standpoint
    • Facts/values (review)
  • Review all class material so far presented. Scrolling back through the course matrix is a great way to review the high-points. Use your notebook to review the details.

No homework. Study for Friday's take-home exam.

Friday Feb.17

Exam postponed

More Moodle problems. We'll postpone the exam until next week. I will collect notebooks on Wednesday.

Week Day/Topic Course Materials Assignments & Due Dates
7 Monday Feb.22

President's Day | No Class

Wednesday Feb.24

Notebooks, Exam, & Grades

  • Collect Notebooks
  • Distribute Exam no.1
  • Discuss Friday's Movie Assignment
  • Grades

11. Exam no. 1. Choose 5 questions from the 7 provided. Write your responses in complete sentences and in a clear and organized manner. Use all of the course material so far encountered as reference material or as instruments of moral analysis. Cite your sources.

100-pts / Due Friday by midnight

Friday Feb.26

Movie Assignment: Ethics & Professionalism


Choose a movie with a professional subplot, that is, a movie about a professional having moral problems. Watch it and take notes with an eye toward the assigment questions to the right.

12. Movie Assignment.


75-pts / Due Sunday by midnight

Week Day/Topic Course Materials Assignments & Due Dates
8 Monday Feb.27

Grade reports
Schedule a 10-minute appointment for a one-on-one grade report with Dr. Okrusch. The grade reports will include information through assignment no.10. The exam will be handed back next Monday. No homework.

Wednesday Feb.29

Grade Reports +
Critical Thinking

  • Grade reports continued
  • Read Weston, chs. 11-12 (take good notes)

No homework outside of the reading material.

Friday Mar.02

The Moral Toolbox


13. Notebook.Your Moral Reasoning Tendencies? Based on this brief introduction to some of the philosophical tools we'll be exploring (see The Moral Toolbox video), which of these tools do you tend to use most in your moral deliberations? That is, are you a Kantian, a Utilitarian (Consequentialist), Pragmatist, care ethicist, or what?

25-pts / Due Sunday by midnight

Week Day/Topic Course Materials Assignments & Due Dates

Monday Mar.05

Philosophical Tendencies & Exam no.1 Review

  • Discussion: Assignment 13
  • Review of Examiniation answers.
No homework. Your graded exams can be found outside my office sometime this afternoon.

Wednesday Mar.07

Virtue Ethics

* Dr. Okrusch is
on the road

  • Read Weston, ch.9 "The Ethics of Virtue"
  • Virtue Ethics from Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
  • Read Baggini & Fosl
    • 1.10 Flourishing
    • 1.6 Character
    • 2.16 Virtue Ethics
    • 3.10 The Golden Mean

14. Notebook. PERSONAL & PROFESSIONAL CARDINAL VIRTUES. On pp.171-2, Weston provides a rather long list of human moral virtues. What are your personal primary virtues? What are the virtues your probable future profession holds? Write your 300-500 word response in your notebook

25-pts / Due Sunday by midnight

Friday Mar.09

Happiness & Virtue

  • Read Weston, ch.8 "The Ethics of Happiness"
  • Read Baggini & Fosl
    • 1.17 pain and pleasure
    • 2.1 consequentialism
    • 2.7 egoism
    • 2.8 hedonism
    • 3.14 intentions/consequences
    • 3.19 means/ends

15. Notebook. VIRTUE & HAPPINESS IN PRACTICE. Use your moral issue (the problem you're passionate about) to explore both virtue ethics and ethics of happiness in practice. That is, how might each approach inform a moral evaluation of your issue? Write your 300-500 word response in your notebook.

25-pts / Due Sunday by midnight

Week Day/Topic Course Materials Assignments & Due Dates

Spring Break!


Week Day/Topic Course Materials Assignments & Due Dates
11 Monday Mar.19

Virtue Ethics Review
  • What are the most useful ideas associated with ethics of virtue?
    • character (ethos)
    • excellence (arete)
      • the golden mean as a way of identifying excellence or virtue
    • fourishing (eudaimonia)
    • wisdom (sophia)
      • practical (phronesis)
      • theoretical (theoria)

No homework. Review the readings on Ethics of Happiness for Wednesday's class.

Wednesday Mar.21

Ethics of Happiness Review

  • Happiness defined
    • positive/good
    • contentment
    • health/well-being
  • Flow-states & optimal experience
  • Hedonism
    • classical: tempered
    • modern: vicious sensuality
  • Utilitarianism
    • "greatest happiness for the greatest number"
  • Consequentialism
  • Problems
    • ignores blatant wrongs
    • all values can't be "cashed-out"

No homework

Friday Mar.23

Ethics of the person

  • Read Weston, ch.7
  • Read Baggini & Fosl
    • 1.19 rights
    • 2.4 deontological ethics
    • 5.13 the seperateness of persons
  • Michael Sandel, Kant & The Supreme Moral Motive (video lecture)

No homework, but take good notes for Monday's discussion.