Syllabus Moral Responsibility and Free Will

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Basic Information / Course Syllabus

  • Instructor: Dr. Mark Alfino
  • Course Title: Philosophy 419: Moral Responsibility and Free Will
  • Contact Information and office hours at
  • Course Description: This course engages recent philosophical work on the problems of moral responsibility and free will.
  • Course Learning Outcomes: See below
  • Course Schedule, Graded Activity, Texts, and Assignments: See course wiki

Learning Outcomes for this Course

  • Philosophy Department Learning Outcomes for Majors Seminars:
  • 1. Be able to read, interpret, and analyze primary texts and secondary sources in philosophy.
  • 2. Be capable of formulating coherent philosophical arguments of their own, including clearly stating premises and conclusion(s) and articulating reasonable objections as well as responses to those objections.
  • Specific Additional Course Learning Outcomes
  • 1. students will be able to read, understand, discuss and take positions on a variety of problems raised by recent philosophical work on moral responsibility and free will.
  • 2. Students will reflect on philosophical method as they approach the topic area of the course.

Writing Enriched Course Learning Outcomes

  • 1. Students will be able to demonstrate competency in formal and informal writing specific to the discipline in which the writing occurs.
  • 2. Students will be able to integrate appropriate primary and secondary research in their writing by the means customarily used in the discipline.
  • 3. Students will be able to incorporate feedback received during an intensive revision process.

Assignments that support the Writing Enriched Course Learning Outcomes

  • Short writing: 50-70% of grade. This includes small written assignments, peer review writing, and back evaluations. Specific short writing assignments including:
  • Short ungraded student writing shared with the class.
  • Writing to short prompts from 500-800 words, with peer review and backevaluation
  • Papers and Presentations
  • Thesis-driven academic writing, circulated for peer comments as drafts and peer reviewed. Two 5-7 page papers.
  • Student Presentations with writing and presentation media.
  • Depending upon student choices for optional assignments, between 80-100% of the grade for the course is based on writing. Many optional assignments also include writing.


  1. I do accept late work, but you must complete all work in the course to receive a grade.
  2. I have a flexible attendance policy.
  3. You must disclose any work that you are turning in for this course that you are submitting or have submitted for other courses.
  4. You must comply with all university policies concerning academic honesty, sexual harassment, discrimination, and sexual misconduct.