My Course Wish List

Your list is empty.

Explore online education in Tennessee

PHIL 1040 (formerly PHIL 121) Syllabus

Course Syllabus

PHIL 1040 (formerly PHIL 121) - Elementary Ethics

3 Credit Hours

Course Information

Course Description:

Morality is tentatively defined as those rules that tell us what is good or bad, right or wrong. They govern our behavior. Ethics is tentatively defined as the rational justification of our moral rules. These definitions will be refined as the course progresses. This course, Elementary Ethics, is a critical analysis of the principle ethical theories and their applications to contemporary moral issues 

Course Outcomes:

By the completion of this course, students will:

1. Be able to recognize, explain and critique the major ethical theories in Western and selected world philosophies, and relate these theories to contemporary moral problems.
2. Be able to apply techniques of philosophical analysis to ethical arguments, and diagnose fallacies in those arguments.
3. Be able to apply the moral problem-solving techniques proposed by various moral philosophers and ethical traditions to their own moral thinking.
4. Develop the ability to analyze and criticize moral arguments and theses, including one's own position.
5. Demonstrate competent English composition and critical thinking skills, sharpened in this class by the writing of analytical essays and ongoing class discussions. 

Prerequisites & Co-requisites:


Course Topics:

Part One: Ethical Theory

Ethics, Ethical Reasoning, and Ethical Theories

1. Ethics and Ethical Reasoning 2. Ethical Relativism
3. Egoism
4. Utilitarianism

5. Kant's Moral Theory
6. Contractarianism
7. Morality and Human Nature 8. Virtue Ethics
9. Feminist Thought 

Part Two: Contemporary Ethical Issues

Moral issues covered include:

1. Euthanasia
2. Abortion
3. Sexual Morality
4. Pornography
5. Equality and Discrimination
6. Economic Justice
7. Legal Punishment
8. Environmental Ethics
9. Animal Rights
10. Cloning and Genetic Engineering
11. Violence, Terrorism War
12. Global Issues and Globalization 



Specific Course Requirements:

Textbooks, Supplementary Materials, Hardware and Software Requirements

Required Textbooks:

Please visit the Virtual Bookstore to obtain textbook information for this course. Move your cursor over the "Books" link in the navigation bar and select "Textbooks & Course Materials." Select your Program, Term, Department, and Course; then select "Submit."

Supplementary Materials:
Hardware and Software Requirements:

Minimum hardware requirements can be found here.

Minimum software requirements can be found here.

Common applications you might need:

Web Resources:

Purdue OWL Online Writing Lab (for APA, MLA, or Chicago style)

The Writing Center Online Writer's Handbook

Student Resources:
  • Technical support information can be found on the TN eCampus Help Desk page.
  • Smarthinking virtual tutoring is available FREE of charge. to access Smarthinking, visit the course homepage and select Smarthinking under Course Resources. You also view sample sessions to see what Smarthinking offers and how it works.
  • Information on other student issues or concerns can be located on the TN eCampus Student Resources page.

Instructor Information

Please see "Instructor Information" in the Getting Started Module for instructor contact information, virtual office hours, and other communication information. You can expect to receive a response from the instructor within 24-48 hours unless notified of extenuating circumstances.

Participation, Assessments, & Grading

Testing Procedures:

This course is entirely online and has no proctored tests. There is one test in the regular sense of a test,

the Ethical Theories Test, which consists of multiple choice/true false questions. It covers the first nine chapters of the book.

The second part of this course (chapters 10-20) is about applying ethical reasoning and ethical theories to ethical issues. This is not conducive to "objective" test formats. Instead of a standard test, as a Final Exam, you will watch a set of talks from, a site containing short, thought provoking talks from scientists, political leaders, business leaders and many other influential people on important issues facing our world and society. You will respond to these talks and answer questions, demonstrating your ability to use moral reasoning and identify ethical perspectives being used to address real world issues.

All testing is fully online and no proctors are needed. 

Grading Procedures:

This course is about understanding concepts and ideas. In the early parts of the course, most assessments focus on learning ethical theories. After that, grading will be based on your application of the theory we cover in the first part of the course to real world issues. At this point, it is about being able to demonstrate understanding of ethical issues. As such, all essay questions are open to partial credit, based on your application of theory to specific issues. 

Grading Scale:

The Grading Scale for this class reflects the highest achievement in the course. The scale may be adjusted by the instructor:





      100 - 90 


    580 - 522 


       89 - 80 

    521 - 464 


      79 - 70

    463 - 406 


       69 - 60 

    405 - 348 


      Below 60

   347 & Below 


Assignments and Projects:

A sequenced list of all graded assignments, projects and assessments arranged by course section or module with due dates if applicable. Each graded item in the course should be listed individually with the number of points assigned. If the gradebook is a weighted grade calculation, the appropriate percentage weight should be also be included.


Module 1 Quiz 


Module 2 Quiz 


Module 3 Quiz  


Module 4 Quiz 


Module 5 Quiz 


Ethical Theories Test 


Module 6 Quiz 20 


Module 6 Discussion 


Module 7 Quiz 


Module 7 Discussion  


Module 8 Quiz   


Module 8 Discussion 


Module 9 Quiz 


Module 9 Discussion 


Module 10 Quiz 


Module 10 Discussion  


Term Paper 


Module 11 Quiz 


Module 11 Discussion 


Final Exam 100 


Total Points 



Class Participation:

Consistent participation in assignments, readings, and discussions is a critical part of this course. Failure to complete all activities will seriously impact your grade, as you will lose the associated points.


Late Policy:

Course Ground Rules

The following two statements (1., 2.) were derived from the TBR System-wide Student Rules document, released January 2012:


Read the document in its entirety here.

1. Standards of Conduct:

  • Students are required to adhere to the same professional, legal and ethical standards of conduct online as on campus. In addition, students should conform to generally accepted standards of "netiquette" while sending e-mail, posting comments to the discussion board, and while participating in other means of communicating online. Specifically, students should refrain from inappropriate and/or offensive language, comments and actions.

2. Review the TN eCampus Academic Integrity/Academic Honesty Policy:

  • In their academic activities, students are expected to maintain high standards of honesty and integrity. Academic dishonesty is prohibited.

Such conduct includes, but is not limited to:

  • an attempt by one or more students to use unauthorized information in the taking of an exam
  • to submit as one's own work, themes, reports, drawings, laboratory notes, computer programs, or other products prepared by another person,
  • or to knowingly assist another student in obtaining or using unauthorized materials.

Plagiarism, cheating, and other forms of academic dishonesty are prohibited.

Students guilty of academic misconduct, either directly or indirectly through participation or assistance, are subject to disciplinary action through the regular procedures of the student’s home institution.  Refer to the student handbook provided by your home institution to review the student conduct policy.

In addition to other possible disciplinary sanctions that may be imposed, the instructor has the authority to assign an "F" or zero for an activity or to assign an "F" for the course.

Other Course Rules:

Students are expected to:

  • Participate in all aspects of the course
  • Communicate with other students
  • Learn how to navigate in Brightspace
  • Keep abreast of course announcements
  • Use the assigned course management (Brightspace) email address rather than a personal email address
  • Address technical problems immediately:
  • Observe course netiquette at all times.

Guidelines for Communications


  • Always include a subject line.
  • Remember without facial expressions some comments may be taken the wrong way. Be careful in wording your emails. Use of emoticons might be helpful in some cases.
  • Use standard fonts.
  • Do not send large attachments without permission.
  • Special formatting such as centering, audio messages, tables, html, etc. should be avoided unless necessary to complete an assignment or other communication.
  • Respect the privacy of other class members


  • Review the discussion threads thoroughly before entering the discussion. Be a lurker then a discussant.
  • Try to maintain threads by using the "Reply" button rather starting a new topic.
  • Do not make insulting or inflammatory statements to other members of the discussion group. Be respectful of other’s ideas.
  • Be patient and read the comments of other group members thoroughly before entering your remarks.
  • Be cooperative with group leaders in completing assigned tasks.
  • Be positive and constructive in group discussions.
  • Respond in a thoughtful and timely manner.


The Tennessee Virtual Library is available to all students enrolled in TN eCampus programs and courses. Links to library materials (such as electronic journals, databases, interlibrary loans, digital reserves, dictionaries, encyclopedias, maps, and librarian support) and Internet resources needed by learners to complete online assignments and as background reading will be included within the course modules. To access the Virtual Library, go to the course homepage and select the Virtual Library link under Course Resources.

Students with Disabilities

Qualified students with disabilities will be provided reasonable and necessary academic accommodations if determined eligible by the appropriate disability services staff at their home institution. Prior to granting disability accommodations in this course, the instructor must receive written verification of a student's eligibility for specific accommodations from the disability services staff at the home institution. It is the student's responsibility to initiate contact with their home institution's disability services staff and to follow the established procedures for having the accommodation notice sent to the instructor.

Syllabus Changes

The instructor reserves the right to make changes as necessary to this syllabus. If changes are necessitated during the term of the course, the instructor will immediately notify students of such changes both by individual email communication and posting both notification and nature of change(s) on the course bulletin board.


The information contained in this syllabus is for general information purposes only. While we endeavor to keep this information up-to-date and accurate, there may be some discrepancies between this syllabus and the one found in your online course. The syllabus of record is the one found in your online course. Please make sure you read the syllabus in your course at the beginning of the semester. Questions regarding course content should be directed to your instructor.

Last Revised on July 26, 2018