HUM 400: Ethics

A tale from The Decameron, by John William Waterhouse

As of 3/14, this course has been converted to an online-based method of instruction.

Important Links

Supplementary Readings

Forum (Discussion Board)

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  • 4/24/20

    Well, here we are. I have a video message for you:

    • Slides are posted on the Ethics of Technology page

      Also, just to reiterate something I told you a long time ago: there is no final exam!


    The Ethics of Technology page is posted. I’ll post the slides tomorrow, but the readings are up, and I’ll post a question for you to think about on the forum page.

    I will be grading your papers over the rest of the week and will email you your grade, with time for comment, before I enter it into PeopleSoft next week. I will also hold office hours on Zoom early next week. In the meantime, feel free to contact me by phone, text or email with any questions!

  • 4/16/20

    Slides and paper #2 info are posted. (Let me know if you can’t open the audio files.) Sorry for the delay. I will post another unit on Ethics of Technology in a bit, but we’ll just have some discussions about it–no paper.

  • 4/15/20–2nd Update

    Wow, this is taking me longer than I thought. I’ve posted a mess of links about humanitarian aid in the face of Covid-19–way too many for you to read, here. Please skim through them–I will reference them in my slide annotations when I post them tomorrow/today (it’s 4 a.m. and I need some sleep). BRB!


    Hi everyone. I’ve been busy holding conferences with my critical thinking students at the beginning of this week, but I will be posting the second of two units tonight, with the final paper assignment. Stay healthy, and stay tuned!

  • 4/3/20–update

    The audio files I linked were set to “private” as a default in my Google drive. I just set them to open, so now you can listen to them!

    The first of two units is finished, and posted here. There’s a lot to look at, so spend some time reading and listening, and then let me know if you have questions. The short paper assignment is at the bottom of the page. I’ll have some Zoom office hours next week for anyone who needs help with the concepts or the paper. Thanks for your patience! Dr. C.

  • 4/1/20

    FINAL UPDATE: It’s fixed now.

    ANOTHER QUICK UPDATE: I was patting myself on the back for being so efficient, but can’t get the participation field to load. I will keep trying.

    QUICK UPDATE: Please disregard the first email. I messed up the mail merge fields for notes and participation. I just fixed it and resent it. SORRY. First time mail merger, here.

    Happy Spring Break! I’ve emailed you your grades thus far, but had to do it from my non-school account ( Please check your spam account if it’s not in your inbox right now, and email me with any questions.

    Tonight I will post the lecture on capitalism/business ethics and communism, so look for that later on. Stay healthy! Dr. C.

  • 3/23/20


    Hold up, discussion warriors! The Forum plug-in is indeed glitchy, and several of you have emailed me about it. THANKS for letting me know! I will figure out what’s going on and update here when it’s fixed.

  • 3/22/20

    I hope you had a mellow weekend.  Learning how to use WordPress has been pretty fun, but it’s not as fun as seeing you face-to-face, let me tell you.  I have some news.  I’ve had to revise the grading policy in order to adjust to this new modality.  The old policy included a final exam, which counted for 20% of your grade.  I don’t foresee us being able to have a final, or any traditional exam, in the way I’d envisioned it.  Instead, I’ve decided to have you participate in an ongoing discussion board and write two short papers.  Now, your final grade will be figured like this:

    Notebook with notes = 10% (already collected)
    Pop quizzes = 10% (already completed)
    Participation (attendance & discussion board participation) = 20% (partly completed)
    Exam #1, #2 and #3 (lowest grade dropped) = 30% (already completed)
    Short paper #1 (on capitalism/business ethics, socialism and humanitarianism) = 15% (to be done)
    Short paper #2 (on technology and science) = 15% (to be done)

    We’ll be skipping the ethics of war and peace (boo), but I had to cut something out.  Sorry.
    In the coming days, I will email you your grade thus far, list my expectations for the short papers and start posting videos.  You can work at your own pace.  Anyone who finishes the discussions and papers by April 20 will get a grade for the semester.  Those who need more time can take an incomplete and finish over the summer.

    Stay tuned!  Dr. C.

  • 3/19/20

    Hi everyone. Yesterday, I think, was the first full day where I struggled to comprehend this new reality. How many of you are experiencing stress and general instability right now? I get it, and hope that you have someone trusted to talk to and are staying on top of it. Moving forward, I have a few updates: First, I will spend today putting all of your grades thus far online, and in a format that you can access. I will also create a grading rationale for the next month, which will comprise the rest of the semester. Then, I will start working on the lessons for each module.

    Second, given the current events, I really can’t be interested in tax evasion right now. All anyone is thinking about is Covid 19 and what’s going to happen. One of my best friends is exhibiting signs of the virus, and it’s preoccupying my mind and heart. So why not dive into it? (Update: my friend tested negative!)

    I’m hosting a HUM 400 office hour on Zoom this afternoon from 4-5 P.M. If you have any questions, or just want to talk, I’m here:

  • 3/17/20

    Hello again, dear students. I hope you are finding your way home and remain in good health. I’ve created a new page called “Supplementary Readings,” where I’ve archived all of the articles I’ve handed out (or meant to, or will hand out) this semester. Please check it out. A few things are missing, and more will be loaded as we finish up the semester. I will spend the next few days making a video lecture for the next week of class, so stay tuned!

    Answers to your questions from the survey:

    Is there any way you could put everything that is left for the course up so I can complete it early? Probably not, but I will try to get the whole course done ASAP. Right now, I’m aiming for the end of the semester.

    How will we be taking notes? There will be no more note-taking for a grade. I will post video lectures, for which you should probably take your own personal notes. You’ll need them when you do the essay exams (more about the format of these later).

    Will you be posting PowerPoints for us to follow while you lecture? I’ll post videos, which may include PPT slides. I haven’t tackled this part of the course yet, but it’s up next.

    How does this affect the remainder of the year: will we receive a new syllabus? Same syllabus, but due dates are off of the table (except for the date when your work needs to be done at the end of the semester, if you want a grade by then. People who need more time can have it, but I can’t give you a final grade until all of your work is turned in. I will give incompletes to those who can’t finish by the end of the semester.)

    If we use a videoconferencing format, will we still have to meet at the regular time? Absolutely not. We are done meeting MWF, 9:00 or 10:00. You will be working at your own pace.

  • 3/15

    Hi everyone. Thanks for subscribing! Could you please fill out this survey?

    It’s so I can see what you’re doing and thinking about doing for the rest of the semester. Thanks! I’ll be on campus tomorrow getting organized; I’ll post links to the course readings on a separate page when I’m done. Stay tuned, and stay healthy! Dr. C.

  • HELLO!


    Today we are going online, to avoid the Plague. I expect that we will be avoiding each other for most, if not the rest of the semester. This is ok, and we can do it!

    We have completed the third of five exams: Revelatory Ethics, Rationalism and Alternatives to Rationalism. As soon as I get the next week’s lectures sorted, I will grade your third exam and figure out a way to get your grades to you. Right now, you just need to know a few things. First, I will record my lectures and post links to them on this announcements page. Assignments will be posted under the videos, with due dates. I will hold regular office hours via Zoom, at which times you can log on and talk to me about whatever is on your mind. Please be patient while I set up the rest of the course in this new format. It might take a few days. In the meantime, subscribe to this page here:

    Join 236 other subscribers

    I hope you are all coping with this new reality. Your best move right now is staying home to Flatten the Curve, making sure you have a reliable internet connection, and taking good care of yourself.

    See you very soon! Dr. C.

“Let this grisly beginning be none other to you than is to wayfarers a rugged and steep mountain.”
― Giovanni Boccaccio, The Decameron

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