Academic Catalog


Foothill College Course Outline of Record

Foothill College Course Outline of Record
Heading Value
Units: 5
Hours: 5 lecture per week (60 total per quarter)
Degree & Credit Status: Degree-Applicable Credit Course
Foothill GE: Non-GE
Transferable: CSU/UC
Grade Type: Letter Grade (Request for Pass/No Pass)
Repeatability: Not Repeatable

Student Learning Outcomes

  • Identify and explain major ethical theories.
  • Analyze and evaluate ethical arguments regarding contemporary social issues.


Analysis and application of competing conceptions of the good. Course focuses on ethical theory (utilitarianism, duty-oriented ethics, virtue ethics, egoism, relativism, etc.) and various topics in applied ethics.

Course Objectives

The student will be able to:
A. demonstrate understanding and evaluate a variety of ethical theories.
B. analyze the underlying logical principles of each theory.
C. demonstrate understanding of the relationship between ethics and other branches of philosophy. Particularly, the implications of metaphysical concepts on ethics as well as the implications of ethics upon political theory.
D. apply ethical principles to contemporary social, political, economic, cultural and scientific concerns.
E. evaluate arguments for and against positions in applied ethics.

Course Content

A. Ethical theory.
1. Consequentialist and non-consequentialist theory.
a. Egoism.
b. Utilitarian theories of Bentham and Mill.
c. Kantian deontological theory.
d. Aristotelian virtue theory.
e. Feminist theory.
2. Relativism and its complications.
B. Issues in applied ethics.
1. Abortion.
2. Euthanasia.
3. World hunger.
4. Animal rights.
5. Environmental ethics.
6. Pornography.
7. Same-sex rights (e.g., gay marriage).
8. Death penalty.
9. Affirmative action.
10. Corporate responsibility.
a. International labor practices.
b. Downsizing.
c. Manipulative advertising.

Lab Content

Not aplicable.

Special Facilities and/or Equipment

When taught as an online distance learning section, students and faculty need ongoing and continuous Internet and Email access.

Method(s) of Evaluation

A. Quizzes.
B. Argumentative essays.
C. Essay and short answer exams.
D. Class discussion.

Method(s) of Instruction

Lecture, Discussion, Cooperative learning exercises, Lecture and discussion

Representative Text(s) and Other Materials

Thiroux, Jacques. Ethics in Theory and Practice. 11th ed. NJ: Prentice-Hall, 2015.

Shaw, William H. Social and Personal Ethics. 8th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Publishing, 2014.

Boss, Judith. Analyzing Moral Issues. 6th ed. NY: McGraw-Hill, 2013.


Types and/or Examples of Required Reading, Writing, and Outside of Class Assignments

A. Primary and secondary literature on ethical theory and applied ethics.

B. Written analysis of readings and response to study questions.

C. Application of ethical theory to current events of ethical concern.

D. Argumentative essays regarding major ethical problems.