Public Ethics

Professor Hank Edmondson
706-421-2671-cell (please try texting first, but be sure to identify yourself)

Office Hours:
Monday 12-2
Tuesday 1-5
Wednesday 12-2

The purpose of this course is to study classical ethical systems so as to apply this theory to the ethical decisions confronting public officials in the work place. These decisions include the proper exercise of discretion, the formulation of public policy, and the right response to authority. This course challenges the student to understand and consider traditional ethical approaches, but it also requires the student to use this theory to solve contemporary ethical dilemmas. In addition to lecture and text material, we will also be viewing several videocassettes selected to underline moral concepts and provoke thought and discussion. Videocassettes used in the past include the highly acclaimed PBS series "Ethics in America."

You must order the class texts yourself, either new or used copies are fine. This will prove to be more economical. See the “Required Texts” link above. Also please note additional links above addressing class schedule, class responsibilities and assignment guidelines.

This summer we will follow a modified schedule and pursue a “hybrid” format in which we will meet in class for the first half of the semester and also use the internet for on-line videos, discussion forums and assignments.

The two texts for the class are below. You must order them yourself off of the internet; accordingly, the titles are hyperlinked to the site where you can order either a new or used book if you choose to use that site. Compared with other classes, your book cost for this class will be low.

If Aristotle Ran General Motors:Thomas Morris

Lying Sisela Bok

1/4 Morris review
1/4 Bok review
1/4 Ethical dilemma paper
1/4 participation

Week 1: august 13: overview 

Week 2: august 20, introduction to moral philosophy, "legislating morality," "constitutional ethics"

Week 3: august 27, natural law ethical theory

Week 4: sept. 3, labor day

Week 5: sept. 10, natural law ethical theory

Week 6: sept. 17, natural right
Review due by email by 3 pm on Morris book ethical theory

Week 7:  sept. 24 natural right

Week 8:  oct 1, natural law, natural right

Week 9: oct. 8, 9 fall break

Week 10: oct 15, utilitarianism 

Week 11: oct. 22 utilitarianism

Week 13: oct. 29 kantianism 

Week 14:nov. 5, existentialism

Week 15: nov. 12 nihlism

Week 16: nov. 19 paper research

november 22: T'giving

Week 17: nov. 26, ethical dilemma papers due
paper presentations

Week 18: dec. 3, paper presentations

dec. 4-7: final exams




© Hank Edmondson 2012