PHI/LAW 310. Ethics & Law
Prof. Kyoo Lee, Suite 325-4, Dept. of Philosophy, John Jay College of Criminal Justice
Office Hours: T/Th 12:30pm - 1:40pm
"The total state" is where it "must not know any difference between law and ethics" (Adolf Hitler cited in Hannah Arendt, the Origins of Totalitarianism). What does it mean, how is it possible, and why is it necessary, to recognize the differences, relationships and tensions between the two? Asked differently, why and how across history and cultures do lawyers suffer and benefit from "the image problem"? This course offers an opportunity to reflect philosophically on the ethical status of contemporay legal culture of the United States and beyond, and to interrogate closely some of the key conceptual bases and politico-rhetorical frameworks of legal positions and practices, with a focus on their ethical dimensions and ramifications.
By the time you take the final exam, you will:
- Have a little sharper and sounder mind and eye for details: read between the lines.
- Understand, in both concrete and abstract terms, why and how ethical reflection forms an integral part of any legal decision.
- Function a little better as a responsible global citizen, both legally and ethically.
- Selected readings, all web-linked or pdf downloadable from the class schedule page.
- Each day of the class, you must bring a hard copy of the listed reading material or at least the electronic file** in question. Those not in posession of the class material in any readable form are considered unprepared and thus will be noted negatively.
- **In-class use of a portable computer or any portable electronic devices where the reading file is stored, is allowed, but only on the condition that the wireless connection or mobile communication function is kept off throughout the class time. The violation of this rule will be regarded as a serious offence and the student in question will be immediately evicted from the classroom, which will be counted as an unexcused absence. Never "surf" the internet or text-message during the classtime.
97- A+ 93- A 90- A- 87- B+ 83- B 80- B- 77- C+ 73- C 70- C- 67- D+ 63- D 60- D- Below 60 F (Fail)
- 100 points system is used.
- Grades are unnegotiable, unless there is a clerical error.
- All the grades up to the final exam or paper are calculated numerically in order to give each student maximum opportunities to recuperate, and also to evaluate more accurately the learning process and incremental achievements.
- The numeric total will simply be converted to the corresponding letter grade. Therefore, there is very little reason either to rejoice or to despair at any stage of following the course. Just keep putting coins in the piggy bank, and your consistent and overall efforts will be justly rewarded: you reap what you sow, no less, no more.
Course Requirements and Evaluation Criteria
Attending (up to 10 points)
- upto 2 excused & upto 2 unexplained absences are allowed with no penalties. Only with documentary evidence can your absence can be excused.
- For the 3rd absence, you lose 3 points, and for the 4th point, another 3 points. After the 5th absence, 1 full alphabetical grade drops automatically per class missed, e.g., from A to B, down to F.
- Lateness causes disruption in class, and affects your own learning process. A grace period will be given for a while. But if you are late 4th time, you will start losing 1 point; 5th time, another 1 point and so on.
Preparing/Participating/Presenting (up to 30 points)
- First, the level of your preparedness, i.e., your knowledge of the reading material for each day, will be contantly and individually monitored.
- Second, as for participating in class discussion, if you're too shy or unwilling to speak in class, you can write a one-page class note or a small reflection paper instead within 7 days after each class, and email it to me. I will count each submission up to 2 point. No late submission accepted.
- Third, as for formal presentations, each student is entitled to give up to two presentations, which must be scheduled in advance in consultation with me. For each presentation, you can earn up to 5 points. A group work presentation, consisting of up to 3 people for each group, is also encouraged. Presentation is strongly encouraged. Your presentation during Units 1-3 will count towards the participation grade; your presentation during Unit 4 will count torwards the writing grade (see below).
Writing (up to 60 points)
- (30 pts) 4 exams, each up to 7.5 pts, each minium 1,250 words (approx. 4-5 pages, double-spaced).
[NB1] The submission deadlines for each exam are firm; for each class day missed, 2 points will be deducted. For instance, 3 class days later, 6 points lost. So if you miss 4 class days, your submission will not be accepted. [NB2] Also note that the 4th exam can be replaced by a scheduled presentation during Unit 4: in other words, you have the option of writing first three exams and doing one presentation, and make your presentation count as the 4th exam.
- (30 pts) 2 papers, each up to 15 pts, each minimum 2,500 words (approx. 8-9 pages, double-spaced): Rubric
[NB1] The submission deadline for all papers is the last day of the class; You will have an ample chance to revise your drafts and thoughts during the semester, for the paper grades will only be indicated but not be finalized until the last day, when all papers are due. [NB2] Also note that the number of papers you can write is flexible, ranging from 1 to 4, as long as the total number of words you produce by the last day is minimum 5,000. That is, If you prefer to write shorter papers, you can write 4 papers, instead of 2. Or if you prefer to write just 1 long paper, you may do so. Or you can do 1 short paper (1, 250 words) and 1 longish paper (3,750 words). Although the recommendable default option is 2 papers with 2,500 words each, the decision is entirely yours and would depend on the kind of progress you end up making or not making through the writing process. To repeat: whatever combination you choose, make it 5,000 words.
- How you submit: Only a word-processed print-out, i.e., a hard copy, is accepted: no email submission.
- How I grade: All the written assignments submitted for a formal instructional evaluation will be blind-reviewed.
- What happens after you submit: As a general rule, you can expect to receive the written feedback/grade on your paper or exam in 2 weeks. And I will keep all the original copies of the graded writings until the end of the semester, in order to be able to double-check the grade records, if necessary.
Statement of College Policy on Plagiarism
"Plagiarism is the presentation of someone else‘s ideas, words, or artistic, scientific, or technical work as one‘s own creation. Using the ideas or work of another is permissible only when the original author is identified. Paraphrasing and summarizing, as well as direct quotations, require citations to the original source. Plagiarism may be intentional or unintentional. Lack of dishonest intent does not necessarily absolve a student of responsibility for plagiarism.`It is the student‘s responsibility to recognize the difference between statements that are common knowledge (which do not require documentation) and restatements of the ideas of others. Paraphrase, summary, and direct quotation are acceptable forms of restatement, as long as the source is cited. Students who are unsure how and when to provide documentation are advised to consult with their instructors. The Library has free guides designed to help students with problems of documentation." (From the John Jay College of Criminal Justice Undergraduate Bulletin, p. 36)
Should plagiarism be determined, a formal disciplinary action will be taken immediately: the student in question will receive an F grade for the course.
Accommodation of Religious Observances
Upon request, academic accommodations for a religious observance are available on an individual basis; by the end of the second week, please provide me with a supplementary document that specifies and verifies your context and needs for modification.
Accommodation of Documented Disabilities
Please contact me within the first two weeks of the semester. An appropriate, case-by-case arrangement will be made to ensure that the student in question is given an equal opportunity for learning.