Applied Ethics Students Contemplate Morality of Syllabus

By Nathan Schmidt

This week, students in an Applied Ethics course decided collectively to write about the morality of the course’s syllabus for their upcoming midterm assignment. The course, AETH 20139 Ethics of Party Fouls, is a new highly flexible course where students are able to do whatever they want as long as they do not commit any wrongful gaffes. So far, none of them have actually written anything about party fouls.

The course has also been known for attracting an upper crust of students from across multiple disciplines. It has focused on applying ethical theories to practical issues that affect every student, like partygoers getting destructively drunk on premises, or couples loudly going through breakups in the living room. But instead of focusing on their work, this semester’s class has focused instead on the work’s presentation.

“I just don’t see why we have to have a midterm,” said Gerard Robespierre ‘22, while on a Zoom call and practicing his beer pong game with a Solo Cup perched on his pet cat’s head. “We already know the basics. Also, according to an ethic of deontology, where the moral good of an action can be found within that action, it’s better for us to not do a midterm than to do it badly.”

Other students in the course shared similar opinions. Julia Somersell ‘21, cycling through different virtual backgrounds of underwater coral reefs on the same Zoom call as Gerard, said, “I think if we’re going to do a course like this, we should at least focus on the party fouls that matter. Biggest one: Syncing your phone to the stereo and playing, like, a Miley Cyrus album. I mean, what is this, 2012?”

Philosophy professor Jerry Flamberge, who runs the course, had little to say about his students’ complaints. “Most of them will be beyond partying age anyway by the time Covid is over,” he commented over an alarmingly large coffee mug that later turned out to be filled with nothing but mocha frappuccino. “The important thing is getting a theoretical basis for sensibly tackling everyday issues in life, and then ignoring it and doing something that gets DPS involved.”

Sources also indicate that the reason for the students’ lack of interest in party fouls is because none of them were getting invited to parties before the pandemic anyway.

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