L 383– 1 & 2: Humanities I -- Evil and Good
Russ Kleinbach, Ph.D.
Phone: O: 951-2606 & H: 848-2308 -- KleinbachR@PhilaU.edu
Office Hours = Tues: 9:30-10:30 & 1:00-2:00, & Wed: 9:30-10:30, and by appointment
Office: Room 308 Ravenhill Mansion
Prerequisites: At least sophomore status
Texts: Bulk Pack of Readings. [May be purchased in College Store]
Richard Wright, Uncle Tom’s Children. New York: Harper & Row, 1936/1992, paper.
Course Description: A study of evil and good in society, religion, philosophy, art and literature, with attention to actual issues of evil and good in human social, economic and political life. Concepts of evil and good in both Western and non-Western cultures will be surveyed. The course will also provide an introduction to ethical reasoning. (3 credit hours)
Course Objectives: By the end of the semester, students should be able to;
1. Define basic ethical terms and concepts,
2. Identify and explain ethical problems,
3. Formulate multiple possible solutions to ethical problems,
4. Identify goals, means, and ends involved in possible solutions,
5. List reasons for accepting or rejecting a proposed solution,
6. Compare and contrast Western with non-Western values and paradigms,
7. Identify value assumptions embedded in ideological positions, including your own,
8. Understand the importance of developing a sense of personal worth and moral agency.
Organization: The course will be structured around the assigned reading, lectures by the instructor, student written work and class discussions. We will read and study the assigned material and post on Blackboard or bring to class written and footnoted comments and questions on issues and categories on which we wish to elaborate, expound, raise questions and/or disagree. Thus a good deal of responsibility for what happens in the class periods rests with the students. We will spend much of our class time in discussion; examining the assumptions, concepts and conclusions of the reading, and we will evaluate the reading in terms of issues which it addresses and the world view which it presupposes and/or projects. We will try to probe the presuppositions and implications of what we read, and in so doing we will also probe the presuppositions from which we read.
NB**: Students are expected to take notes on class discussions, films and speakers as well as on the textbook and lectures.
**NB = nota bene (note well)
Etiquette request: I request that students not chew gum or wear hats in class, unless for religious reasons.
(a) Class attendance and contribution to class discussion, including written and footnoted comments & questions for each class that will be posted on Blackboard (before the reading assignments are discussed in class) & brought to class. (20% of grade)
(b) First exam (15% of grade)
(c) Second exam will be cumulative: (20% of grade)
(d) Final exam will be cumulative: (20% of grade)
(e) Essay: Explanation and Analysis of (a) one’s own conceptual paradigm of evil and good, and (b) the process one goes through when making evil/good judgments (25% of grade)
Exams must be taken and the paper turned in the days they are scheduled, except in cases of prior arrangement or personal emergency. An unexcused make-up exam or late paper may be penalized 1/2 letter grade each day it is postponed. Late exams will be made up at the convenience of the instructor!
discussion, papers, and exams students should (a) demonstrate knowledge
of the data of the subject, i.e., the available information, theories, problems
and questions related to the subject,
Contribution to class meetings will be evaluated in terms of the following:
(a) The student’s critical evaluation and questioning of, and responses to the readings and comments of other students and the instructor,
(b) The student’s contribution to the learning of fellow students and the instructor; this includes listening to and responding to others in such a way that all involved are encouraged to listen, to learn and to express our questions and views during class, and
(c) The student’s demonstrated knowledge of the material.
(d) Quality of student’s questions & comments posted on Blackboard.
Attending class w/o active participation is the same as coming to take an exam and not writing anything except your name.
Communication skills: It is policy that in all disciplines, and at all course levels, in the School of Liberal Arts, instructors incorporate into their courses the opportunity for students to develop their ability to communicate effectively both orally and in writing. In particular, essay exams or some form of written assignment (i.e., short analytic papers or a research paper) should be included in all courses offered in the School. In this course these requirements will be met through the extended class discussions, the essay, and essay examinations.
Exams will be short answer and essay questions, and will cover material in the readings, films, material contributed to the class by the students and the instructor.
Explanation and Analysis of (a) one’s own conceptual paradigm of evil and good,
“Properly footnoted” means that whenever you use a resource to gain information or ideas which are not general knowledge, you must provide documentation in order to give credit to the authors of the information and to allow anyone reading your paper to either check your research or read more of the work from which you are drawing. Footnotes are required when items of information or ideas are drawn from a source, when material is paraphrased, and when material is quoted directly. For information concerning proper documentation see any textbook on college writing or your expository writing text. Incomplete documentation is called plagiarism. Plagiarism is theft, and partially or totally stolen papers will not be accepted.
Academic integrity and honesty is expected in all forms of course work. Any dishonesty or cheating may result in the student failing the assignment, the course and/or being brought before the Student Conduct Committee, which could lead to dismissal form the College. The primary forms of academic dishonesty to be avoided are (a) plagiarism: taking the ideas or words of another without giving due credit to the source, and (b) cheating: giving or taking information during an examination.
Digital resources for this course. The syllabus, assignments, readings, study notes for many readings, grades, special announcements and other materials for the course will be posted on Blackboard. Students will be expected to post questions and/or comments on the BB discussion board for every class period for which there is assigned reading for discussion.
Spring 2006: Tuesday / Thursday
Tentative Schedule and Reading Assignments
(I): Readings are found in the first section of your bulk pack.
(II): Readings are found in the second section of your bulk pack.
Richard Wright: found in Uncle Tom’s Children: Book from Campus Store
Ethics can be defined as a collective attempt through the
use of reason, objective evidence, and experience to make sense of our
social and individual experience in such a way as
- Older Cultures -
1 Mon Aug 28 Introduction, brief history of ethics, Ethics definitions, & Sample Glossary
2 Wed Aug 30 (II) Wicca (II): West African Traditional Religions, pp. 1-13 & 152-166.
3 Wed Sept 06 (I): Book of the Eskimos, pp. 161-182 & 229-239
4 Mon Sept 11 (II): “Native American” definitions,
(II): “Chief Seattle . . . to the President.” (II): “The Navaho,” pp. 1-6
• Step 1 of Essay Assignment Due ! ! !
- Eastern and Mid-Eastern Cosmologies -
5 Wed Sept 13 (I): “Confucius, The First Teacher,” pp. 38-48,
(I): “The Idealistic Wing of Confucianism: Mencius,” pp. 68-79,
6 Mon Sept 18 (II): 1pg of The Tao of Physics, (I): “Buddhism in India,” pp. 79-81,
(II): “What Karma Explains,” pp. 354-357, (II): “Kural [Hindu Scripture],”
7 Wed Sept 20 First Exam -
8 Mon Sept 25 (II): “Jewish & Christian [Old Testament] Scripture,” (II): “Lilith,”
(II): “Legends of the Jews,” (II): Evidence of the Warrior-woman Myth
(I): “Toward a New Theology of Sexuality,”
9 Wed Sept 27 (II): “Christian Scripture,” (II): Situation Ethics, pp. 26-33 & 57-64.
(I): “Religious Absolutism,” pp. 15-25
10 Wed. Oct 04 (II): “The Role of Women in Islamic Societies,”
• “Women and Gender; Democracy, Women’s Rights and Sharia Law,” • “Nigeria:
We Cannot Be Distracted,” • “Sharia is law of the land for the first time
in Pakistan’s northwest,” • “Muslim women launch international ‘gender jihad’,”
• “India, Rulings for Women, by Women,” • “Turkey fails to protect women . . .
,” • “Seven arrested in Pakistan for ‘honor crime of rape,” and • “Man cuts
feet off ‘promiscuous wife.”
Western Ethics, Art & Literature
11 Mon Oct 09 (II): “Euthyphro,” (I): “Kantian Ethics,” pp. 65-74
12 Wed Oct 11 (I): “Rule Utilitarianism,” pp. 30-34, (II): “Kohlberg's Stages . . .”
• Step 2 & 3 of Essay Assignment Due ! ! !
13 Mon Oct 16 (I): In a Different Voice, by Carol
Gilligan, pp. 72-73 & 98-105
• Step 4 of Essay Assignment Due ! ! !
- Contemporary Issues -
14 Wed Oct 18 (II): • “First Ten Amendments to the U.S. Constitution,” • “United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948),” • “Freedom of Choice Act [proposed],” • “Equal Rights Amendment [proposed],” • “Gay Bill of Rights [proposed],” • “Access to Abortion Pared at State Level,” • “Abortion talking points” • Summary of Provisions of “Convention on Rights of the Child,”  • Articles on Convention on Rights of the Child.
15 Mon Oct 23 (II): • "Declaration on the Elimination of
Violence against Women,"
16 Wed Oct 25 “Kidnapping for marriage (ala kachuu) in a Kyrgyz village.”
• Film: “Bride Kidnapping in Kyrgyzstan”
17 Mon Oct 30 - Second Exam – [will be cumulative]
18 Wed Nov 01 BOOK: by Richard Wright, “The Ethics of Living Jim Crow,”
• Slides: “Images of Good and Evil in Art”
19 Mon Nov 06 Richard Wright, “Big Boy Leaves Home” & “Down By The Riverside”
20 Wed Nov 08 Richard Wright, “Bright and Morning Star,” “Long Black Song,” and “Fire & Cloud.”
• Step 6 of Essay Assignment Due ! ! !
21 Mon Nov 13 (I) “Buddhist Economics” (II) Capitalism and Freedom, pp. 7-21,
22 Wed Nov 15 (II) Structural Violence: "Violence, Nonviolence and the Struggle for Justice," • “Misconceptions about Rights to food.” • “Why Socialism.”  • "Pay Equity / Comparable Worth,"
23 Mon Nov 20 (II) “Thinking Globally, Acting Locally,” • “Together We Stand Stronger,” • “From Mondragon to Ohio: Building Employee Ownership.” • “Cooperatives v. Capitalist Corporations,”
24 Wed Nov 22 (II) “CIA Holds Terror Suspects in Secret
Prison,” • “US occupiers kill prisoners,” • “The US has used torture for
decades,” • “Communism, Terrorism & WMD,” • “It is essential to talk to the
25 Mon Nov 27 • Film: “The Torture Question”
• Step 7 of Essay Assignment Due ! !
26 Wed Nov 29 (II) Sentencing Project, • Prison Population
Rate Per 100,000,
Film: Deciding Who Dies [364.66 D 294d 1997]
27 Mon. Dec 04 (I) John Cobb: “Ecology, Ethics, and Theology,” pp. 162-176.
(I) Peter Singer: “All Animals are
Equal,” pp. 215-228
28 Wed Dec 06 (II) “Our Agony Over Animals,” pp. 29-37, • “Bonobos Are From Venus,” • “Why elephants are running berserk,” • “Tracking a killer of rhinos,” • “Alternatives for Animal Testing,” • List of Cruelty Free Companies.
Finals Week: Exam [will be cumulative]