Phil 160H | Introduction to Ethics


In order to pass this course, you need to complete a series of short assignments, as well as three (3) papers of varying lengths (see the syllabus for more details).

There are specific format requirements for each of the two kinds of assignments (see below), so make sure to read them carefully before you turn them in.

Reading questions

You should submit your reading questions . Your answer should be in the body of the email. The subject line should have the following format:

[Phil 160H] Reading question N,

where N is the number of the reading question you are turning in.

It is your responsibility to submit your assignment in the right format.

Reading questions are due via email by midnight of their due date. Late assignments will not be accepted.

  • Reading question 1. Due on September 08, 2014

Briefly explain, in your own words, one of the reasons Harris gives for implementing the Survival Lottery.

  • Reading question 2. Due on September 24, 2014

Briefly explain what, according to Nagel, is ‘a curious but very common suggestion about the origin of the fear of death’. Why does Nagel think that suggestion cannot be right?

  • Reading question 3. Due on October 15, 2014

According to Parfit, both The Impersonal Total Principle and The Impersonal Average Principle have counterintuitive consequences. Briefly explain what they are.

  • Reading question 4. Due on October 28, 2014

What are Rawls’ reasons for claiming that ‘Kant assumes as a law of nature that people learn from experience and remember the past’?

  • Reading question 5. Due on November 20, 2014

According to Thomson, if the violinist only needed to use your kidneys for one hour, you ought to let him do so. Explain why she nonetheless thinks that, even in this case, the violinist would not have a right to use your kidneys.

  • Reading question 6. Due on December 03, 2014

Briefly explain what Antony means when she writes that ‘For D.C.T. to explain morality, it must also explain what makes God good.’


You should submit your papers to Moodle by 4pm of their due date. You should also bring a hard copy of your paper to class the day it is due. Late submissions will not be accepted, except in the case a legitimate, well-documented excuse. If you have a legitimate excuse not to come to class the day the paper is due, please contact me well in advance.

  • First paper. Due on September 30, 2014

The topic for the first paper is available here. Please read it over and bring any questions you may have to class.

  • Second paper. Due on November 04, 2014

The topic for the second paper is available here. Please read it over and bring any questions you may have to class.

  • Third paper. Due on December 12, 2014

The topic for the third and final paper is available here. Please read it over and bring any questions you may have to class.