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This has been my life the last month - getting these handouts ready, walking through them with my students, meeting one on one to work out what they didn't understand in class, then rushing home to start the cycle all over again. It's all done now except for the grading, but I still thought some of you might enjoy seeing my handiwork.

(As a heads-up: these were the starting point of my class's discussion. If you know philosophy and my discussion seems simplistic or flat-out wrong, that's because I probably used this as a jumping-off point to get to a better way of approaching the issues. I'm mainly sharing this because several people asked just what I've been so busy with.)

Day #1: What's this course all about, anyway?Day #2: Can we be Good without God?
Day #3: Does our society decide what counts as moral?Day #4: Morality and the LawDay #5: Can we really act against our best interests?Day #6: Do we have a duty to help others?Day #7: Utilitarianism vs. LibertarianismDay #8: Is true equality even possible?Day #9: Does motive matter?Day #10: Kant on Choosing RightlyDay #11: Criticisms of Kant's EthicsDay #12: What counts as a human, anyway?Day #13: How do we become good?Day #14: Does our society decide what counts as moral?Things I Learned
  1. Aristotle and Kant require more time to show why they're relevant and convincing.
  2. Kant in particular needs more focus. To say nothing of more understanding on my part. Next time I'm finding time, somehow, to do Kant's kingdom of ends and maybe a little out of the Religion book. Really.
  3. Even though these students all have had an introductory philosophy course, I can't expect them to be exposed to the things I teach my students in that first course. In particular, I can't expect them to know the problem of free will. Since Aristotle really ties in to those same problems, I need to find at least an hour to introduce that problem.
  4. The things that I think need refuting before we can get on with the business of philosophical ethics. Cultural relativism is much less a part of my student's mindset than it ever was with mind, as is the whole idea that religion and ethics are tightly bound. The bigger problem is to show why you can't just pick and choose pieces from different approaches.
  5. Having a class willing to think and talk makes all the difference. My group rocked.

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