Ethical Analysis and Advocacy

Instructor: Miguel A. De La Torre


Office Hours: Arranged by email

TA: Rebecca David-Hensley  | Email:

Course Synopsis:


  1. To teach students how to identify ethical and theological assumptions implicit in the moral life of persons and communities.
  2. To teach students to examine critically their own ethical assumptions as well as prevailing ethical assumptions in faith communities and society.
  3. To teach selected options in contemporary religious ethical theory, with special emphasis on Christian ethical theory.
  4. To enable students to develop an understanding of ethics which they can articulate and advocate with critical awareness as religious leaders.
  5. To relate theoretical ethical perspectives to select issues in church and society, especially those germane to pastoral practice.


  1. Participation in forum post discussions.  Specific kinds of preparation will be required.
  1. Complete required readings by the date they are to be discussed.
  1. Mid-term take-home examination.  Maximum Length:  10 pages, typed, double-spaced.
  1. Final take-home examination.  Maximum length: 10 pages, typed, double-spaced. 


A pass/fail grade option is available. Please inform the teaching assistant in writing no later than the class session on January 17 if you choose this option. No reasons need to be given.

For those who choose a letter grade, the following scale is used:
Mid-term take home examination: 30%
Final take home examination: 40%
Forum Posts: 20%
Academic Decorum: 10%

1) Written grades will be based on the midterm (30%) and final (40%) Written grades are determined as follows:

The student demonstrates exceptional quality in written work. Little room for
improvement exists. Several primary sources (outside of class readings) are used
in the writing assignment. Both effort and execution are first-rate. It is obvious
that the reading assignment was critically analyzed. Student consistently posted
responses of 250-400 words; careful to have read the instructions and questions in
the topic so all the necessary components in the response was addressed.
Responses included critical reflection on the material for the week and advance
the discourse with any questions that might further stimulate discussion.
Comments demonstrate a grasp of the relevant materials from the course as well
as the posts from people in that thread.

The student’s work is above average. At least one primary source (outside of
class reading) is used in the writing assignment. Student makes thoughtful posts,
but they are less than 250 words and not engaged with the other comments being
posted. It is obvious that the reading assignment was completed.

The student has fulfilled the minimal requirements for this course, making the
minimum required posts. Effort and the execution of assignment are of average
quality. It is obvious that the reading assignment was not thoughtfully read. There
is room for improvement.

The student work is below average. It is obvious that the reading assignment was
not done. Posts consist of a few words or a sentence. The student is not living up
to the expectations of graduate-level work.

The student failed to accomplish the class assignments.

A late paper will lose one letter grade for each week that it is turned in late. If extra
ordinary circumstances exist which prevent the student from completing her/his
assignment on time, then the student needs to contact the teaching assistant to discuss an alternative schedule prior to when the assignment is due. Students who do not hand in ALL completed assignments must make prior signed arrangements for an Incomplete.

Students not making these prior arrangements will automatically receive an "F" for the course.

2) 10% of the grade is based on academic decorum. Being consistently present during forum discussions is a baseline expectation. Grade decorum is based on the following:

The student is respectful of others. While disagreeing or challenging, the student
never dishonors or disrespects.

Every so often the student attacks another student rather than challenging or
disagreeing with whatever point of view is being offered.

The student is disrespectful and is not willing to entertain different views.

The student disrupts the learning experience of others by the way they conduct
themselves in on the forum discussions.

The student creates a hostile experience.

Submission of Assignments: In an effort to reduce our carbon footprint, we ask that no assignment be submitted in paper form. Please electronically submit your midterm and final using your last name as the file name (i.e., Jacobs midterm).

Incomplete Policy: Students are responsible for following the procedures outlined in the attached document.

This quarter, we'll be having several Zoom meeting sessions as a way of communicating "in person" as well as through the online discussion forums.  These sessions will be a great way to talk about the readings and pose questions and comments in live format, and get some face time with your instructors!  Please attend at least three of the sessions.

I will send out invitations each weekend as reminders for the dates and times of the meetings.  We'll be holding them on Monday and Tuesday evenings from 7:00pm to 7:45pm MST.

The meetings will be held on the following dates:

Monday 9/16  Join from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android:

Tuesday 9/24 Join from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android:

Wednesday 10/2  Join from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android:

Thursday 10/17  Join from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android:

Monday 10/28  Join from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android:

Tuesday 11/5  Join from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android:

Wednesday 11/13  Join from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android:

Required Readings

Order of Readings:

Week 1 (9/11) Kant Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals

Week 2 (9/18) Sheldon In His Steps

Week 3 (9/25) Fletcher Situation Ethics

Week 4 (10/2) De La Torre Doing Christian Ethics from the Margins

Week 5 (10/9) De La Torre Latina/o Social Ethics

Gathering Days, Postmodern/Postcolonial Lecture

Week 6 (10/16) Alinsky Rules for Radicals

Week 7 (10/23) hooks Ain't I A Woman

Week 8 (10/30) Jones and  Smith Spirit and Capital in an Age of Inequality

Week 9 (11/6) Cone, Martin & Malcolm & America

Week 10 (11/15) Final Exam

Sep 10, 2019TueIntroductionsdue by 05:59AM
Sep 12, 2019ThuDeliberative Motif Lecturedue by 05:58AM
Sep 12, 2019ThuKant Discussiondue by 05:59AM
Sep 16, 2019MonKant Reading Analysisdue by 05:59AM
Sep 19, 2019ThuPrescriptive Motif Lecturedue by 05:59AM
Sep 19, 2019ThuSheldon Discussiondue by 05:59AM
Sep 23, 2019MonSheldon Reading Analysisdue by 05:59AM
Sep 26, 2019ThuRelational Motif Lecturedue by 05:58AM
Sep 26, 2019ThuFletcher Discussiondue by 05:59AM
Sep 30, 2019MonFletcher Reading Analysisdue by 05:59AM
Oct 03, 2019ThuLiberationist Lecturedue by 05:58AM
Oct 03, 2019ThuDe La Torre Discussion #1due by 05:59AM
Oct 07, 2019MonDe La Torre Reading Analysisdue by 05:59AM
Oct 15, 2019TuePostmodern/Postcolonial Lecturedue by 05:58AM
Oct 15, 2019TueDe La Torre Discussion #2due by 05:59AM
Oct 17, 2019ThuPolitical Ethics Materialsdue by 05:58AM
Oct 17, 2019ThuAlinsky Discussiondue by 05:59AM
Oct 19, 2019SatMidtermdue by 05:59AM
Oct 21, 2019MonAlinsky Reading Analysisdue by 05:59AM
Oct 24, 2019ThuGender Ethics Materialsdue by 05:58AM
Oct 24, 2019Thuhooks Discussiondue by 05:59AM
Oct 28, 2019Monhooks Reading Analysisdue by 05:59AM
Oct 31, 2019ThuClass Ethics Materialsdue by 05:58AM
Oct 31, 2019ThuJones & Smith Discussiondue by 05:59AM
Nov 04, 2019MonJones & Smith Reading Analysisdue by 06:59AM
Nov 07, 2019ThuRace Ethics Materialsdue by 06:58AM
Nov 07, 2019ThuCone Discussiondue by 06:59AM
Nov 11, 2019MonCone Reading Analysisdue by 06:59AM
Nov 16, 2019SatFinal Examdue by 06:59AM