14 Journal entries

Weekly Journal Entry: Each unit of the course (roughly a week’s worth of content and work) can be completed at your own pace and will include a short journal assignment (roughly 500 words). Specific prompts and instructions are found on each week’s entry page in the portfolio template you will use to create your portfolio. These assignments are graded on whether you answered the entire question and filled the length requirement. Points will be deducted for missing components or incorrect information, but you should get full credit if you follow directions. These are meant to get you thinking about philosophy and applying philosophy to the show but are not meant to be overly demanding.

KEY:
VID=VIDEO ON MOODLE
THE GOOD PLACE S#E#= SEASON AND EPISODE NUMBER OF THE GOOD PLACE. Note the double episode premieres for Seasons 2-4 are counted as Episode 1 of that season in this schedule. Episode number should match numbers in streaming services.
TFT= THE FORKING TROLLEY
ENGELS= THE GOOD PLACE AND PHILOSOPHY (BLACKWELL)
BENKO= THE GOOD PLACE AND PHILOSOPHY (OPEN COURT)
WOLFF= READINGS IN MORAL PHILOSOPHY

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Recommended Topics Course Content Timeline Date

Fri 1/29

Introduction to the Course

Overview of Ethical Philosophy

What is Ethics?

What is it to be a good person, and can you work at being a better person?

Philosophies:
Plato
Aristotle (Virtue Ethics) Kant (Kantian/Deontological)

Syllabus

Vid: What is Philosophy?

Vids: How to Argue 1 & 2

V id: Metaethics

The Good Place S1 E1-4

TFT: “Everything is Fine!”

Vid: Get Away With Anything?

Wolff: Plato “Value of Justice”

Vid: Aristotle

Vid: Aristotle and Virtue Ethics

Wolff: Aristotle “Nicomachean

Ethics”

Vid: Kant and Categorical

Imperatives

Wolff: Kant “Categorical

Imperative”

Journal Entry 1

Fri 2/5

Main Ethical Theories

What is the value of honesty? Is it moral to act in self-interest if it serves a greater purpose?

Philosophies:
Deonotology (Kantianism) Utilitarianism/Consequentialism Contractarianism

The Good Place Season 1 ep. 5- 7

TFT: Somewhere Else Calculating the Consequences

Vid: Kant (Review)

Wolff: Nagel (Kantian) “Right

and Wrong”

Vid: Consequentialism

Vid: Utilitarianism

Wolff: Bentham (Utilitarian)

“An Introduction to the

Principles of…”

Vid: Hobbes

Vid: Contractarianism

Wolff: Hobbes (Contractarian):

The State of Nature

11. Journal Entry 2

Fri 2/12

Catch Up/Get Ahead Week

Use this week to get ahead on the show and assignments

The Good Place S1, E8-11

Engels Ch. 4

Journal Entry 3

5

Fri 2/19

How We Affect Each Other’sExperience and Ethics
Is Hell other people?

Philosophies:
Sartre (Existentialist)

The Good Place S1 E12-S2 E1

Vid: Sartre

Vid: Existentialism

Vid: Sartre and Bad Faith

Vid: Sartre “Hell is Other People” Explained

Benko Ch. 16 & 17

Engels Ch. 13 (optional, has big

spoilers!)

Wolff: Sartre “Existentialism”

Journal Entry 4

Fri 2/26

Identity, the Self, and Ethics

This week is also intended to allow you to get ahead on the show

What are existential crises?

1ST PORTFOLIO FEEDBACK OPPORTUNITY

The Good Place S2 E2-4

Vid: What is an Existential

Crisis?

Benko Ch. 16 & 17

Engels Ch 13 (optional, big

spoilers)

TFT “Existential Crisis”

Journal Entry 5

Fri 3/5

Using Philosophy to Improve Ourselves and Trust Others The Trolley Problem
Leap (in)to Faith

How can we use philosophy to improve our own ethical lives?

Philosophies:
Philippa Foot (Utilitarian) Kierkegaard (Existentialist)

The Good Place S2 E5-8

Vid: The Trolley Problem

TFT: The Trolley Problem

Vid: Kierkegaard

Benko Ch. 14

Engels: Ch. 6 & 9

TFT: The Leap to Faith

Journal Entry 6

Fri 3/12

Using Philosophy to Make Ethical Decisions
How do we make decisions to be “the best version of ourselves”?

Why do we become anxious?

Can moral particularism help us escape this problem?

Philosophies:
Johnathan Dancy (particularist) Kierkegaard (existentialist) MIDTERM PORTFOLIO FEEDBACK OPPORTUNITY

The Good Place S2 E9-12

Vid: Kierkegaard: The

Existential Problem

Benko Ch. 10-12 & 21

TFT: My Best Self

Journal Entry 7

6

Fri 3/19

Angels, Demons, and… Bureaucrats

What does intervention by supreme beings do for our ethics?

Philosophies:
Aquinas (Catholic, Natural Law)
Plato

The Good Place S3 E1-E3 (S3 E1 is actually a two-part 44- minute episode)

Benko 4, 13, 18-19

Engels 14 (recommended)

Vid: Aquinas

Wolff: Aquinas “The Natural

Law”

Wolff: Plato “God and

Morality”

Journal Entry 8

Fri 3/26

Care Ethics

Do our ties to each other require us to help each other be more good?

Philosophies: Feminist Care Ethics

The Good Place S3 E4-6

Vid: Care Ethics

Benko Ch. 15

Engels: Ch. 7

Wolff: Baier “The Need for More than Justice”

Wolff: Held “The Caring Person”

Journal Entry 9

Fri 4/2

Free Will vs. Determinism

Do we have free will in our ethical choices?

Philosophies:
Frankfurt (Compatibilist)
3RD PORTFOLIO FEEDBACK OPPORTUNITY

The Good Place S3 E7-9

Vids: Determinism and Free

Will, Compatibilism

Benko Ch. 3

Engels Ch. 2, 23

Wolff: Frankfurt “Alternative

Possibilities and Moral

Responsibilities”

Journal Entry 10

7

Fri 4/9

Postmodern Ethics

What if all of this ethics stuff is just a product of history and people?

What if the system produces ideas of “goodness” based on who has the political power to determine what is good? What if that system is unjust?

Philosophies: Nietzsche Foucault

The Good Place S3 E10-12

Benko Ch. 5

Vid: Nietzsche

Vid: Nietzsche and Morality

Wolff: Nietzsche, “Beyond

Good and Evil”

Vid: Foucault

Vid: Introduction to Foucault

Foucault “Technology of the

Self” (PDF On Moodle)

Journal Entry 11

Fri 4/16

Ethical Resistance

When is it ethical to resist the system?

How much resistance (specifically violence) is ethical in resisting and changing an unjust system?

The Good Place S4 E1-4

Benko Ch. 1, 6

TFT: What we Owe to Each

Other

Wolff: Thoreau

Wolff: MLK

Wolff: Mandela

Journal Entry 12

Fri 4/23

Death and Ethics

What does it mean to have been good after we die?
4TH PORTFOLIO FEEDBACK OPPORTUNITY

The Good Place S4 E5-8

Vid: Perspectives on Death

Vid: A Good life

TGP&P Ch. 2, 10, 20

TFT: Conclusion

Journal Entry 13

Fri 4/30

Using Popular Art to Teach High Art?
What can we learn from ethicalphilosophy and how does “low art” help us learn?

The Good Place S4 E9-13

Engels: Ch. 21, 25

Journal Entry 14

Wed Final Essay and Self- 1. Course Portfolio Due 11:59PM 5/5 Assessment Due

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