PHIL 240A: EXAM #1 REVIEW QUESTIONS

 

The first exam will take place in class on Wednesday, July 3rd. PLEASE BRING ONE OR MORE BLANK BLUE BOOKS AND A PEN OR LEGIBLE PENCIL TO THE EXAM. EXAM BOOKS WITH NOTES WRITTEN ON THEM OR WITH PAGES MISSING WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED. Please answer all questions completely, but concisely. ANSWER IN COMPLETE SENTENCES. The exam will consist of selections from the following questions. You will have 50 minutes to complete the exam. To complete the exam in 50 minutes, it will be important to have thought out your answers in advance. In preparing for the exam, you are encouraged to discuss these questions with other members of the class, and to discuss what the relevant considerations would be in answering them. However, each student is expected to develop his/her own answers to the questions. You should not discuss the wording of an answer or attempt to come up with an agreed upon answer. If you draft answers to the questions, you should not show your draft answers to others, nor should you read or copy someone else's draft answers. I will provide a sample question and answer in lecture. In answering the following questions, whenever you are asked to discuss the views of any of the authors we have read, your answer should show that you are familiar with the reading, especially with the reasons they give for their positions.

 

1. Explain and distinguish the following pairs or groups of terms. (You are not required to define them. You can use examples to illustrate them. However, your explanations or examples should be adequate for explaining the distinctions to a reasonably intelligent person with no philosophical background.)

(a) Moral Principle/Particular Moral Judgment

(b) Top-Down/Bottom-Up Moral Reasoning (Use one or more examples)

(c) Normative/Evaluative/Purely Descriptive Terms

(d) Normative/Evaluative/Purely Descriptive Statements

(e) Descriptive Cultural Relativism about Particular Judgments/Descriptive Cultural Relativism about Basic Standards/Normative Cultural Absolutism About Basic Standards/Normative Cultural Relativism about Basic Standards/

Metaphysical Relativism With Respect to Morality/Epistemological Relativism With Respect to Morality

(f) Descriptive Egoism/Descriptive Hedonism

(g) Psychological Egoism/Ethical Egoism

(h) Self-Motivation/Selfish Motivation

 

2. Why can we not find out about the nature of moral rightness or moral wrongness by looking up the words "right" and "wrong" or "moral" and "immoral" in the dictionary?

 

3. Each of the following normative moral rules or principles can be interpreted as an attempt to provide a purely descriptive sufficient condition for moral wrongness. For each rule or principle: (i) Translate it into a form in which it explicitly has the form of giving a purely descriptive sufficient condition for moral wrongness (To be complete, your answer to this question must include the words "sufficient condition". Note that even though none of the principles below is purely descriptive, because each of them contains a normative moral term, each of them can be represented in a form in which it has two parts, one purely descriptive part and one normative/evaluative part, where the principle is understood to claim that the purely descriptive part is a sufficient condition for the normative/evaluative part.); (ii) Identify the purely descriptive sufficient condition in (i) and explain why that condition is purely descriptive. (iii) Translate your answer to (i) into a statement of implication. (To be complete, your answer to this question must include the word "implies" or the "".) (iv) Explain what would be required logically for there to be a counterexample to (iii). (v) Is there a counterexample to (iii)? If so, describe it and explain why it is a counterexample. If not, explain why not. [Answer part (v) on the basis of the considered moral judgments of most students in the classdo you think that would most students in the class agree that there is a counterexample?]

(a) Thou shalt not kill;

(b) Thou shalt not lie;

(c) The intentional, premeditated act of permanently destroying all life is wrong.

(d) Engaging in sexual intercourse with a live human being against their will and not aimed at the survival of human kind is wrong.

(e) The First Version of the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you (Note: You may use DUOAYWHTDUY or [some more manageable abbreviation] to stand for "doing unto others as you would have them do unto you. There is more than one way to interpret the Golden Rule in answering this question. Any reasonable interpretation will be accepted, so long as it can be plausibly be regarded as giving a purely descriptive sufficient condition for moral wrongness.)

(f) The Second Version of the Golden Rule: Love all others as yourself.

 

4. (a) Is "normative" a normative term? Explain. (b) Is "evaluative" an evaluative term? Explain. (c) Is "purely descriptive" a purely descriptive term? Explain.

 

5. (a) What is the Divine Command Theory? (b) What is the Euthyphro Question? (c) What are the two answers that we identified to the Euthyphro Question? (d) Which of the two answers to the Euthyphro Question must an advocate of the Divine Command Theory accept? Explain your answer. (e) Which answer would you give? Explain your answer.

 

6. For each of the following implication claims: (i) State whether or not it is true; then explain your answer by: (ii) stating what would be necessary, in logical terms, to provide a counterexample to it; and (iii) either giving a counterexample to it or explaining why there are no counterexamples to it:

(a) Descriptive Hedonism Descriptive Egoism;

(b) Descriptive Egoism Descriptive Hedonism

(c) Normative Hedonism Descriptive Hedonism

7. (a) What is called the 'Paradox of Hedonism'? (b) What is Bishop Butler's distinction? (c) Use Bishop Butler's distinction to explain how the so-called Paradox of Hedonism could be true.

8. (a) What is Descriptive Egoism? (b) What is Descriptive Hedonism? (c) What is Lincoln's Defense of Descriptive Egoism? (d) On the most reasonable interpretation, why does Lincoln's Defense commit Lincoln to Descriptive Hedonism? (e) How does the Experience Machine thought experiment provide some reason for thinking that Lincoln's Defense of Egoism is mistaken?

 

9. (a) What are the four levels of moral disagreement discussed in class? In your answer explain which levels are above which others [you may use a diagram]. (b) Explain why moral disagreement at a lower level does not imply moral disagreement at all higher levels. Use an example to illustrate your explanation. [Hint: To answer part (b), you do not have to discuss all the levels. It is sufficient to choose two levels and to show that moral disagreement at the lower of the two levels does not imply moral disagreement at the higher of the two levels.]

 

10. (a) What is an ultimate moral disagreement? (b) Why is there no infallible test to determine whether any given moral disagreement is an ultimate moral disagreement?

 

11. For each of the following authors: (i) State whether the author is a Descriptive Cultural Relativist about Basic Standards and (ii) Explain why you attribute to the author the position that you do in your answer to part (i). [If, for any of the authors, you do not believe that the textual evidence enables you to give a definitive answer to part (i), your answer to part (i) should be "Indeterminate"; then explain why the author's position is indeterminate in part (ii).] (iii) State whether the author is a Normative Cultural Relativist about Basic Standards and (iv) Explain why you attribute to the author the position that you do in your answer to part (iii). [If, for any of the authors, you do not believe that the textual evidence enables you to give a definitive answer to part (iii), your answer to part (iii) should be "Indeterminate"; then explain why the author's position is indeterminate in part (iv).] (v) State whether the author is a moral realist or moral anti-realist (metaphysical relativist) with respect to fundamental moral principles, standards, or values and (vi) Explain why you attribute to the author the position that you do in your answer to part (v). [If, for any of the authors, you do not believe that the textual evidence enables you to give a definitive answer to part (v), your answer to part (v) should be "Indeterminate"; then explain why the author's position is indeterminate in part (vi).]: [Your explanation of an author's position must show that you are familiar with the author's own reasons for the position he takes]

(a) Mackie

(b) Brandt

(c) MacIntyre

 

12. Why is normative cultural relativism incompatible with the claim that the Western European colonizers or North and South America should have respected the religious practices of the American natives?

 

13. Why is the advocate of Normative Cultural Relativism committed to there being at least one normative rule or principle that applies to all cultures? What normative rule or principle is it?

 

14. What is the difference between Relative and Non-Relative Tolerance? [In your answer explain why the advocate of Non-Relative Tolerance committed to there being at least one normative rule or principle that applies to all cultures, even those that don't accept it and say what that rule or principle is.