PH220 — Ethics and Values Morgan State University Dr. John Hersey Midterm Exam Directions: Your exams must be submitted through SafeAssign on Blackboard. Late submissions will be penalized 10 points (one full letter grade) and I will not accept submissions after one week past the due date, which will result in a 0 for the assignment. Plagiarism merits automatic failure for the course. Put your name, PHIL 220 with section number, Dr. Hersey, semester and year, Midterm Examination on the top left of the first page. Clearly identify section headings, item numbers, and descriptions.
Remember the rubric for evaluation of written work from the syllabus. Any references to the text should be indicated simply by the page number in parentheses. Section 1: Explanations Write a 4-5 sentence explanation for 5 of the following. (20 points) The key is to be as thorough, concise, and essential as possible in the short space allotted. Full credit will be given for explanations that not only identify the concept, but also indicate its context and moral significance. 1. Psychological egoism (Ch. 2) 2. Universal ethical egoism (Ch. 2) 3. Greatest happiness principle (Ch. 2) 4.
Cost-benefit analysis (Ch. 2) 5. Care ethics (Ch. 2) 6. Intuitionism (Ch. 3) 7. Divine Command Theory (Ch. 3) 8. Good will (Kant, Ch. 3) 9. Practical imperative (Kant, Ch. 3) 10. Prima facie duties (Ross, Ch. 3) 11. Virtue ethics (Ch. 4) 12. Happiness (Aristotle, Ch. 4) 13. Habit (Aristotle, Ch. 4) 14. Virtue as a mean (Aristotle, Ch. 4) 15. Excellence, de (Confucius, Ch. 4) 16. Mengzi on human nature (Confucius, Ch. 4) 17. Moral absolutism (Ch. 5 and Rachels essay) 18. Cultural relativism (Ch. 5 and Rachels essay) 19. Fatalism (Ch. 6) 20. Hard determinism (Ch. 6) 21. Soft determinism (Ch. 6) 22.
The Value of Life Principle (Ch. 8) 23. The Principle of Individual Freedom (Ch. 8) Section 2: Essays Write a response in answer to two of the essay questions below. (40 points each) Though quality of consideration takes precedence over quantity of pages, 2–3 double-spaced pages for each essay seems to be a good guideline for length. 1. In Ursula K. Le Guin’s short story “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas,” Omelas is a utopian city of happiness and delight whose inhabitants are intelligent and cultured. Everything about the city is pleasing except for the secret underlying Omelas’s happiness.
Omelas’s good fortune requires that a single child is imprisoned and kept in filth, darkness, and misery. Upon coming of age all of the citizens of Omelas are informed of the city’s dark secret. After learning this secret most citizens remain in the city but some walk away. Many take this short story to be a sharp critique of utilitarian moral philosophy. Evaluate this critique by (1) identifying the objection implied in the story, (2) developing a careful and complete interpretation of the relevant aspects of Mill’s philosophy upon which you might base your evaluation, and (3) arguing for the success or failure of this objection.
You may find a copy of the short story on Blackboard. 2. Consider the following scenario. After colliding with an iceberg at sea the luxury liner RMS. Gigantic sinks in the North Atlantic. Four survivors—two adult males, one adult female, all with families safe at home, and a 10-year old boy, who is weak from injuries suffered during the sinking and whose entire family has already perished in the disaster—are adrift on a lifeboat with barely one week’s provisions for all of them.
On the seventeenth day adrift, with the survivors desperate for food, someone suggests that since the boy will most likely die anyway and doesn’t have a family to take care of that the three adults should kill him and use his body for nourishment until they are rescued. In a detailed and thoughtful essay, write an answer to the question “Is it permissible to kill the boy? ” from the perspectives of Immanuel Kant (Duty Ethics) and John Stuart Mill (Utilitarianism). Your essay should include a careful and comprehensive consideration of the relevant aspects of their moral theories for addressing the question.
Finally, give your own personal moral evaluation of the question and the supporting reasons for your view. 3. Consider the following scenario. Three MSU students, Joy, Faith, and Hope, work at a soup kitchen every Saturday helping the homeless. Joy devotes every Saturday helping the homeless because she loves and enjoys doing it. While there is certainly some personal sacrifice in doing so, she cares so deeply for others and sympathizes with the homeless people’s plight so much that she willingly and consistently serves. Faith also helps every Saturday, but very rarely enjoys it.
Some Saturdays she goes begrudgingly and others she must force herself to go. But she does go consistently because she recognizes that there is a universal demand to do good to others that can’t be ignored. Hope is on the fast track to a career in politics and will be running for public office immediately after graduation. She also helps out every Saturday, but works hard only when the local news organizations come around for interviews. In a careful and comprehensive essay analyze each of these person’s actions from the perspective of Kant’s moral philosophy.
Which of these person’s actions has moral worth for Kant? Why? Why do some not have moral worth? Are there any problems with such estimation? Do you agree or disagree with Kant’s evaluation of their actions? Explain in detail why or why not and justify your view? 4. Consider the following passage from Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment: “Look here; on one side we have a stupid, senseless, worthless, spiteful, ailing, horrid old woman, not simply useless, but doing actual mischief, who has not an idea what she is living for herself, and who will die in a day or two in any case. . . On the other side, fresh young lives thrown away for want of help, and by thousands, on every side! A hundred thousand good deeds could be done and helped, on that old woman’s money which will be buried in a monastery! Hundreds, thousands perhaps, might be set on the right path; dozens of families saved from destitution, from ruin, from vice, from the Lock hospitals—and all with her money. Kill her, take the money and with the help of it devote oneself to the service of humanity and the good of all.
What do you think, would not one tiny crime be wiped out by thousands of good deeds? For one life thousands would be saved from corruption and decay. One death, and a hundred lives in exchange—it’s simple arithmetic! ” (Part I, Chapter 6). Explain the argument given in this passage. Is it a good act utilitarian argument (assuming the facts to be roughly as stated)? How would a rule utilitarian and a Kantian criticize this way of act utilitarian reasoning? Which of these two kinds of criticism (if any) do you find more convincing? Explain your reasoning in detail. 5.
To what extent do you believe that Jews, Christians, and Muslims use the Divine Command Theory approach rather than egoism or act or rule utilitarianism as a basis for their ethical systems? That is, do you believe that most Jews, Christians, and Muslims follow their religion’s moral rules because they believe that those rules were established by a supernatural being or for other reasons, for example for the promise of reward in the afterlife, out of fear of punishment, for salvation, etc.? Explain your answer in detail. 6. Moral rules can be very useful for governing our lives and guiding our actions.
However, problems can arise in the application of such rules to unusual situations. In such cases adherence to rules can result in actions being performed that would be considered immoral. How does Aristotelian Virtue Ethics, with its emphasis on the development of a virtuous character, address the problem of moral rules? Be detailed and very specific in your consideration. To what extent do you think the problem of moral rules plays a role in modern morality? 7. Write a dialogue between two people who advocate different positions on the issue of moral absolutism and moral relativism.
Be thorough, thoughtful, and reflective. Style, humor, creativity, and cleverness in your examples are all welcomed, but make sure that the dialogue makes clear that you understand the key concepts concerning relativism and absolutism. 8. Write a dialogue between two people who advocate different positions on the issue of freedom. Be thorough, thoughtful, and reflective. Style, humor, creativity, and cleverness in your examples are all welcomed, but make sure that the dialogue makes clear that you understand the key concepts concerning freedom and determinism. . Do you think that suicide is morally justified? Drawing on some of the ethical theories from our text, explain why you believe that it is or is not justified. If you believe that it is sometimes justified, then identify and explain the conditions that make it justified. 10. Do you think that capital punishment is morally justified? Drawing on some of the ethical theories from our text, explain why you believe that it is or is not justified. If you believe that it is sometimes justified, then identify and explain the conditions that make it justified.
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