Policies & Assignments

Course Vision:

Journals3GGL Journals help you reflect each course day.

In God and the Good Life you will:

1. Learn how to argue convincingly, deeply and responsibly.
2. Cultivate the practice of philosophical self-reflection.
3. Discover the personal and social value of philosophy.
4. Grow in five intellectual virtues: curiosity, argumentative rigor, intellectual courage, intellectual humility, and empathetic reasoning.

Learning Objectives:

You will develop (and be evaluated on) five specific skills related to the course vision:

1. Closely reading philosophical texts and analyzing their key arguments.  By the end of this course, you should be able to identify and comprehend the main principles and arguments in major philosophical texts.  And you should be able to compare these arguments to related positions in the history of philosophy.
2. Closely reading major news sources and analyzing their key arguments.  By the end of this course, you should be able to correctly identify the logical structure of arguments in the news.  You should be able to identify important philosophical assumptions in these arguments and determine what evidence or missing assumptions are needed to make the arguments logically sound.
3. Contributing to a sustained interpersonal dialogue.  By the end of this course, you should be able to ask strong questions designed to learn about another person’s philosophical viewpoint.  You should be able to actively listen and incorporate personal evidence into your philosophical insights.  You should be able to responsibly identify and address philosophical differences.  And you should be able to execute multi-step, action-oriented projects within a ~15 person team.
4. Writing a persuasive philosophical apology, explaining and defending your core philosophical beliefs.  By the end of this course, you should have completed a significant, multi-section essay that draws on interesting personal narratives, original philosophical arguments, and textual commentary to defend a coherent philosophical stance on the good life.  You should also be able to anticipate and respond appropriately to objections to your core assumptions.  And you should be able to draft, internalize feedback, and edit smaller sections into a well-organized long-form essay.
5. Verbally articulating philosophical arguments in formal ethics bowl debates and in group dialogues.  By the end of this course, you should be able to efficiently convey arguments to an audience while using compelling examples to motivate premises.   You should be able to identify logical strengths and weaknesses in others’ spoken arguments.  You should be able to think of objections and replies quickly.  You should be confident in experimenting with ways of combining rhetorical tools like ethos and pathos into authentic and logically coherent speeches.


Grading System:

GGL is graded on a total point system.  You earn points for completing different assignments. There are many routes to a high letter grade. But all of them require constant attendance, engaged participation, and (most importantly) timely, successful completion of assignments. There is no curve for the course–your grade is determined purely based on the effort you put in and your achievements over the course of the semester.  The teaching team wants you to grow in this class and to score as well as possible on every skill, so please talk to us if you want to strategize about how to reach for more points or if you do not understand how you are doing.  Points will be posted to Sakai as soon as they are available.

Total Points Breakdown

The percentage cutoffs for different final letter grades are:

Final Letter Grade: Percentage:
A 93%
A- 90%
B+ 87%
B 83%
B- 80%
C+ 77%
C 73%
C- 70%
D 60%

Late Work and Absence Policy:

Instructors reserve the right not to accept late work. Instructors will assess requests for extensions on a case-by-case basis, taking into account individual circumstances, whether the extension is requested in advance (to the extent possible), and whether students have an official university excuse.

If a student receives an excused absence for a day on which credit is given for an in-class activity or assessment (e.g. a Comprehension Check), the student will be expected to make up that activity as soon as possible. Students should contact their instructor with the official excuse and make arrangements with their instructor and TA as appropriate. Students without an official excuse will not be allowed to make up credit.

Grading Questions:

Have a question or concern about your grade for an assignment?  First check the directions and rubric for the assignment and identify where you think points were potentially missed.  Meet with your assigned TA to discuss your questions.  If you still have concerns, you can always present a grade appeal to your professor, who will regrade the assignment using the rubric and discuss your questions.  Everyone on the teaching team is committed to helping you achieve the learning objectives.  

Honor Code:

This class follows Notre Dame’s binding Honor Code.  All work you submit must be your own.  Your sources must be properly cited.  In general, you can just reference course readings by their book or article title.  Outside readings should be cited with a works cited or footnote system.  Direct quotations from others must be in quotation marks.  If you have questions about how to attribute your sources, talk to your  TA or professor.

Support for Student Mental Health:

Care and Wellness Consultants provide support and resources to students who are experiencing stressful or difficult situations that may be interfering with academic progress. Through Care and Wellness Consultants, students can be referred to The University Counseling Center (for cost-free and confidential psychological and psychiatric services from licensed professionals), University Health Services (which provides primary care, psychiatric services, case management, and a pharmacy), and The McDonald Center for Student Well Being (for problems with sleep, stress, and substance use). Visit care.nd.edu.