Philosophy 191 (Now PHIL 1012) 

Purpose: to help other instructors teaching the same course

Common Course ID: PHIL 191 (now PHIL 1012)
CSU Instructor Open Textbook Adoption Portrait

Abstract: These freely available Google Docs are being utilized in a philosophy course for undergraduate students by Joseph Suk-Hwan Dowd at CSU San Bernardino. The Google Docs contain loose translations, or interpretations, of Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, Books I and II; Immanuel Kant’s Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals; and selections from Epictetus’s Enchiridion. The main motivation to create these freely available Google Docs was to make reading material free without subjecting students to hard-to-read copyright-expired translations. Most student access the Google Docs through links provided in the course syllabus and on the online classroom platform Blackboard.

About the Course

Introduction to Ethics, PHIL 191 
Brief Description of course highlights:  Introduction to Ethics, PHIL 191 (now Introduction to Ethics (Topic: Ethics), PHIL 1012). Problems from philosophy at an introductory level. All topics satisfy the GE category C2 and WI designation. May be taken for credit as topics change, but only 3 units can be used for GE category C2.

Student population: . Incoming students have satisfied the GE Written Communication requirement. Most students are not philosophy majors.
Learning or student outcomes: 

  1. Apply the ethical theories of Aristotle, Kant, and Epictetus to real-life situations 
  2. Be able to categorize an ethical theory as consequentialist, deontologist, or virtue ethical

Key challenges faced and how resolved:  At first, students tended not to do the readings. Philosophy lends itself to this problem because undergraduate philosophical essay assignments usually focus on logical reasoning rather than textual interpretation. I solved this problem by assigning reading quizzes.

Syllabus and Sample assignments Syllabus link:

Rewording existing translations is much easier than translating from the original language. Even when no public-domain translation exists, you can make the work of translation easier by checking existing translations for guidance.

About the Instructor

Instructor Name 

Joseph Suk-Hwan Dowd
Adjunct Professor
California State University, San Bernardino 

Courses taught:

  • Introduction to Philosophical Problems (Topic: Asian Philosophy)
  • Asian Cultural Traditions
  • Introduction to Ethics (Topic: Ethics)
  • Introduction to Philosophy
  • Moral Choices in Life

OER/Low Cost Adoption

OER/Low Cost Adoption Process

Provide an explanation or what motivated you to use this textbook or OER/Low Cost option. Save students money on translations of texts without subjecting them to hard-to-read copyright-expired translations

How did you find and select the open textbook for this course? Created them myself.

Sharing Best Practices: Many copyright-expired translations of important humanities texts are available for free online. You can use these translations as they are or, alternatively, do what I did and reword these translations to create an easier reading experience.

About the Resource/Textbook 

Textbook or OER/Low cost Title: 

Provide a brief description of the textbook, OER or Low Cost option, including anything relevant to your choice.

  1. Loose translation based on W.D. Ross’s translation, which is now in the public domain
  2. Loose, interpretive translation influenced by Jonathan Bennett, trans., Groundwork for the Metaphysic of Morals,
  3. Loose, interpretive translation based on Elizabeth Carter’s translation, which is now in the public domain

Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, Books I and II,

Immanuel Kant, Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals,

Epictetus, Enchiridion (selections), 

Authors: Joseph Suk-Hwan Dowd (myself)
Student access:  Links provided in the course syllabus and on Blackboard, an online classroom platform 

Cost Savings:  The Google Docs are available to students for free. The costs of the materials that I assigned before adopting the Google Docs are as follows:

  1. Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, trans. W. D. Ross, The Internet Classics Archive – Cost: Free
  2. Immanuel Kant, Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals, trans. Mary Gregor and Jens Timmermann, rev. ed. (Cambridge University Press, 2012) - Cost: $14.69 at Coyote Bookstore
  3. Sharon Lebell, The Art of Living (HarperOne, 2007) (an adaptation of Epictetus’s Enchiridion) - Cost: $6.00 at Coyote Bookstore

License: I have not officially adopted any particular open-source license for these Google Docs. However, I make them freely available to my students.