Course Plan and Assignment Schedule

PHL 126: Persons and Values

Note: This course plan is subject to change at the instructor's discretion. Students are expected to check this page frequently to remain abreast of any updates.

Course Organization

The following list of topics is chronological in order and gives the general themes into which our assignments will fall over the course of the term.

Basic Philosophical Skills: A Crash Course

  • Weeks 1-3: Close Reading, Critical Thinking, Analyzing Definitions, Thought Experiments, Argumentation

Philosophy and its Relationship to Other Disciplines

  • Weeks 3-4: Sellars

Free Will and Moral Choice-making

  • Weeks 5-9: Kane; Smilansky

Interlude: Debate Training

  • Weeks 9-10

Epistemology: What Role Does the Internet Play in Our Attempts to Know?

  • Weeks 11-14: Miller and Record

How Should the Needs of Others Factor into Our Moral Thinking?

  • Weeks 14-15: Singer

Specific dates and assignment details are given below in the Course Calendar. Remember to use the "Agenda" view and click on "more details" to get full text and active links.

The whole term is planned out on this calendar. Click on the entry for any day to see what readings and work are assigned for that day. If you have a gmail account you can incorporate the events on this calendar into your own rather easily so that you may access them from your own computer or smartphone.


  1. In some cases the schedule must be viewed by clicking on "Agenda" at the top right box in order for all the text put down for a given day to be visible.
  2. Clicking on "more detail" at the bottom of an entry will display clickable links to readings, etc..

List of Readings and Other Media

We have no textbook in this class. Instead we will use electronically accessible journal articles and other media. Below is a listing of these items. Consult the detailed course plan for specific readings and assignments. Note that access to the journal articles comes via our library. Thus, if you have trouble accessing the articles the first place you should go for help is the reference desk at the library. Please be aware that computer problems of any kind will not excuse anyone from the responsibility to do the work of the class. Please plan ahead.

Work Planning Exercise for Philosophy

Debate team assignments

Wilfrid Sellars: "Philosophy and the Scientific Image of Man"

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Robert Kane: "Responsibility, Luck and Chance"

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Saul Smilansky: "The Ethical Advantages of Hard Determinism"

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Miller and Record: "Justified Belief in a Digital Age"

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Peter Singer: "Famine, Affluence and Morality"

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