Introduction to Ethical Conflict
3 Credit Hours

Course Description

This course explores contemporary ethical conflicts as a way to develop students’ critical thinking skills. Students will examine various moral theories and their application to ethical problem solving by the use of case studies. Students will determine principles upon which to base their decision-making. Areas for consideration may include personal decision-making, right to die, and when it may be acceptable to lie or steal. The discussion board allows students to practice applying the moral theories to current events and to share ideas with other enrolled students.

Course Delivery
FlexNet courses are taught via the internet using iNET (located in TritonPass). Students can enroll in a FlexNet course at any time throughout the semester as long as there is space available in the course, except the last three weeks of the term. Students have until the end of the term to complete the course from the time of enrollment and payment. All FlexNet courses end on the same date, the last day of the term, no matter the enrollment date. FlexNet courses do not have weekly deadlines, but it is highly recommended for students to stay on task.

General Information
Students will study seven chapters from the textbook.

  • 1. Introduction to Ethics: What does it mean to say something is good or bad? Where does morality come from? Who tells us to be moral?
  • 2. Consequential Ethics: The right decision is based on weighing the consequences of an act. Egoism is based on what decision yields good consequences for us and Utilitarianism, which is an objective moral theory that emphasizes that morality is based on creating happiness of the community and avoiding harm.
  • 3. Nonconsequential Ethics: Based on following correct moral principles regardless of the consequences. Divine Command, Kantian Ethics, Prima Facie Duties, Intuitionism, serve as the basis of these rules.
  • 4. Virtue Ethics: Unlike the preceding ethical theories which focus on consequences, intuitions, or rules, Virtue Ethics is concerned with the development of persons with character.  What does a good or virtuous person do?  This theory is based on the early Greek’s writings, specifically Aristotle. 
  • 5. Relativism and Absolutism: Based on the question of whether morality is dependent on culture or are there any absolutes that transcend time and place. The author introduces his compromise…Near Absolute.
  • 10. Death and Dying: A consideration of the morality of allowing to die, mercy death, mercy killing, advanced directives and hospice care.
  • 12. Lying, Cheating, Stealing, Breaking Promises: Is it ever morally acceptable to do one of these?

At the end of chapters 1-5, students will take a test composed of 25 multiple choice and true-false questions. Study guides are provided for each chapter to help students to prepare for the tests.  The final exam covers the information from Chapters 10 & 12. There are three written assignments in which students will apply moral theory to a particular situation and make a moral judgment. Students will review research resources and the academic honesty policies before completing the written assignments. Students must also post to the discussion boards.

Computer Literacy Requirements
Students should have easy access and familiarity with a computer to access the information and take the tests. The chapter study guides and directions for the papers can be printed. Students should feel free to e-mail me either through Quickmail or through my personal e-mail account.

Instructor: Glorianne Schott