CFP: Introduction to Ethics: An Open Educational Resource

Submission deadline: February 15, 2019

Topic areas



CFP: Chapters for Introduction to Ethics OER textbook

Wanted: Philosophers to write brief chapters for lower-level Philosophy textbooks for no money to create free textbooks for students to use in perpetuity.   That’s right, I’m not going to pay you and no one’s going to make any money off of this, and you’re going to release the work you create under a CC-BY creative commons license for the primary purposes of making education in Philosophy more affordable and accessible.

Long story short: I (Noah Levin, PhD, Associate Professor of Philosophy at Golden West College) want to primarily crowd-source two OER (Open Educational Resource) textbooks in Philosophy, one for an intro-level Ethics course and the other for an intro-level Philosophy of Western Religions course, so I need people to write chapters for me (less than 10 pages in length and accessible to first-year college students). If you’re interested, keep reading.

Longer story: I have a sabbatical project to create two free Open Educational Resource (OER) textbooks in Philosophy: one for an Introduction to Ethics Class and one for a Philosophy of Western Religions Class (both at the 100 level). Part of these projects is that I get help writing them. I have already created many completely free Philosophy textbooks (you can see them here, and please do use them if you like them: ), so you can see that just because they are free does not lessen their quality or usefulness in education. In fact, a majority of the writings in these free textbooks are also contained in a majority of the most popular textbooks in their areas. These textbooks I have created make use of materials that are old enough to be out of copyright and be free or are so prevalent (like logic) that there are quality free texts already out there. The same is not true for Ethics (since contemporary topics are, by their very nature, recent) and Philosophy of Religion (since a lot of good advancement has occurred in the past 30 years in that field). So while Ancient Philosophy, Political Philosophy, Logic, Introduction to Philosophy, and the Philosophies of South and East Asia are easy to compile from existing free works (at the introductory level), Ethics and Religion are not. These are the last 2 courses I teach that I do not use OERs for, and I would very much like to have all of my courses use free texts. So, will you pretty please help me write these textbooks?   Why write something for free? I can offer up 5 good reasons that should be enough:

1) Academic writing rarely ever pays anything. We should never fool ourselves: we always pretty much write and publish for free to let others profit from our abilities. It’s part of the game, one that we’re often happy to play for the love of the craft.

2) Giving away quality writings in Philosophy helps democratize philosophy by providing free knowledge that is easy to obtain electronically.

3) No one likes paying for textbooks. If you can spend some relatively small amount of time on your end to save a lot of students a bit of their very hard-earned money, you ought to do so because it is a categorical imperative, will maximize utility, and will help cultivate the virtue of generosity.

4) You will get a publication credit you can use! Just because it’s free and in a OER doesn’t mean you didn’t do some real writing and make a real contribution to education. Are you looking for some more lines on your CV? This would totally help.

5) Satisfaction. Writing something like this is very satisfying, and many students will genuinely tell you that they appreciate your taking the time to contribute to making their educations more affordable (without losing any quality).   You can find all the details for the project here:

I would like to have authors identified and beginning work by Mid-February, 2019. The final deadline for finished chapters will be April 1. Please contact me for more information at: [email protected].  

Here are the details on how to help with this project:

What I will be doing: Creating an Open Educational Resource (OER) Textbook for an introductory-level Ethics course.

What I need: A lot of people to write a lot of chapters.

What you will do: Write a chapter (or more) and release your work, for free, under a CC-BY license for everyone to use for free in perpetuity. The chapters should each be less than 10 pages in length and accessible to first-year college students with no philosophy background. The way you approach the topic (including through the use of fiction) is entirely up to you (subject to my approval and acceptance, of course).

To participate: Contact me, Noah Levin, at [email protected] and attach

- A recent CV

- A recent writing sample

- A list of which THREE chapters you would be interested in writing (in order of preference) along with a BRIEF (no more than 3 sentences) summary of how you will approach the topic (include this in the body of your email)

I will send out initial acceptances no later than January 31 and then I will consider and accept proposals on a rolling, first-come first-accepted basis. A complete list of expected deadlines is at the end of this CFP.

Below is the table of contents for the works I will be creating. Since this textbook is for use in my own courses, I am ONLY looking for chapters that cover these specific topics (at this time) and will provide the finished product as a .DOCX file (in addition to a .PDF and .ePub) for anyone to reuse, edit, and add to for their own purposes. Please select your THREE possible chapters from the bolded options. The full table of contents is included so that you get an idea of the work as a whole.

Introduction to Ethics: An Open Educational Resource

(italicized chapters indicate chapters that already have authors, * indicates works in the public domain, and bolded ones indicate chapters that are open for proposals):

Unit 1 – Introduction to Contemporary Ethics: Technology, Affirmative Action, and Immigration

1: The “Trolley Problem” and Self-Driving Cars

2: What is ethics and what makes something a problem for morality?

3: “Letter from the Birmingham Jail” by Martin Luther King, Jr.*

4: Affirmative Action: Pro and Con

5: The moral issues of immigration

6: Computer ethics: Hacking and Piracy  

Unit 2 – Torture, death, and the “greater good”

7: The ethics of torture

8: What moral obligations do we have (or not have) to impoverished peoples?

9: Euthanasia: Pro and con

10: Capital Punishment: Pro and con

11: The arguments for abortion

12: The arguments against abortion  

Unit Three – Persons, Autonomy, the Environment, and Rights

13: Animal rights

14: John Rawls and the "Veil of Ignorance"

15: Environmental Ethics 

16: Rape, date rape, and the "Affirmative Consent" law in California

17: The ethics of pornography

18: Existentialism and Genetic Engineering   Unit Four – Happiness

19: Is happiness all that matters? Thoughts on the "Experience Machine"

20: Utilitarianism (J.S. Mill)*

21: Utilitarianism: Pros and Cons

22: The Meaning of Life

23: The Ethic of Care

24: The Prisoner's Dilemma  

Unit Five – Religion, Law, and Absolute Morality

25: The Euthyphro Dilemma and Plato's Theory of Justice* (Plato)

26: God, morality, and religion

27: Kant's "Categorical Imperative”*

28: “The Social Contract”*

29: Aristotles Virtue Ethics*

30: Other moral theories: Subjectivism, relativism, emotivism, intuitionism, etc.

List of deadlines:

Call For Proposals out: Jan 1, 2019
Preferred consideration for proposals: Jan 31
Final deadline for proposals: Feb 15 (late proposals will still be considered if space allows)
Confirmation of Proposal acceptance: No later than Feb 16
First draft of Chapters: March 15
It would also be much appreciated if all authors can review and comment on ONE other chapter. These will be assigned after the first drafts have been received.
Chapters sent out for review: March 16
Deadline for comments on other chapters: April 1
Deadline for final revisions: April 15
Completed draft of textbook out for author review: May 1
Deadline for comments on final draft: May 15
Final version released: May 28

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