PHIL 240A.  FINAL EXAM REVIEW QUESTIONS

 

            The Final Exam will take place in class on Wed., July 23, in Savery 142.  PLEASE BRING ONE OR MORE BLANK BLUE/GREEN BOOKS AND A PEN TO THE EXAM.  BLUE/GREEN 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.  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. 

Final Exams will be available for pick-up in the Philosophy Department Office, Savery 345, on Monday, August 4.  If you would like your Final Exam mailed to you, please provide me with a sufficiently large, stamped, self-addressed envelope.

 

1.  Many philosophers have attempted to give purely descriptive necessary and sufficient conditions for an act's being morally right [or morally wrong], or at least to give purely descriptive sufficient conditions for moral rightness [or moral wrongness].  Others have been mistakenly interpreted as attempting to do so.  What does it mean to say that a given property P is a purely descriptive sufficient condition for an act's being morally right [or morally wrong]?  [Your answer must show that you understand "purely descriptive" and "sufficient condition".]

 

2.  Below is a list of potential candidates for purely descriptive sufficient conditions for an act's being morally right [or morally wrong].  For each, answer the following questions:  (i) State the principle or theory in a form in which it can be seen to at least attempt to provide a sufficient condition for an act's being morally right [or morally wrong].  [Hint:  You can state it in the form of an implication.]  (ii) Does the relevant principle or theory attempt to provide a purely descriptive sufficient condition for moral rightness [or wrongness]?  Explain.  [In answering this part, if the proposed sufficient condition can be reasonably interpreted in more than one way, and at least one of the reasonable interpretations yields a purely descriptive condition, then interpret it in a way that yields a purely descriptive condition, EXCEPT, if the philosopher who originally proposed the relevant principle or theory would NOT interpret it purely descriptively, then explain why not.]  (iii) Does the relevant principle or theory provide a genuinely sufficient condition for moral rightness [or moral wrongness], when measured against the considered moral judgments of most reasonably intelligent people?  Explain.  [Hint:  Can you think of any counterexamples?] 

(a) Divine Command Theory

(b) Golden Rule #1:  Love others as yourself.

(c) Golden Rule #2:  Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

(d) Act Utilitarianism

(e) Rule Utilitarianism

(f) Social Practice Utilitarianism

(g) Ross's Rule Deontology (Answer parts (i) and (ii) only.)

(h) Kant's First Version of the Categorical Imperative

(i) Kant's Second Version of the Categorical Imperative (Answer parts (i) and (ii) only.)

(j) Kant's Third Version of the Categorical Imperative (Answer parts (i) and (ii) only.)

(k) Rawls's Principle of Reasonableness (Answer parts (i) and (ii) only.)

(l) Talbott's Universalizability Principle

(m) Aristotle's "Golden Mean" Formula

(n) Normative Hedonism

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

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

 

3.  (a) Are you a cognitivist or a noncognitivist with respect to moral discourse?  Explain your answer in a way that shows that you understand the distinction.  (b) Must a moral noncognitivist also be a moral anti-realist?  Explain your answer.  (c) Must a moral cognitivist also be a moral realist?  Explain your answer.  [Hint:  Is J.L. Mackie a moral cognitivist about most people's moral judgments?  Is he a moral realist?]

 

4.  Recently, there has been much commentary on the need for moral education for high school students.  Suppose that the following philosophers could be brought back from the dead (if necessary) and prevailed upon to open schools for moral development for high school students, where the goal would be to give the students the basis for acting in a morally appropriate way in any circumstance:  (i) What sort of education or training would students receive?  (For example, would they study academic subjects?  If so, what?  If not, what would they do?) (ii) Why would the students receive the sort of education or training described in your answer to part (i)?  [NOTE:  To answer part (ii) you need to explain the author's moral theory, but you do not need to do so to answer part (i), unless you are claiming that the author would teach his/her moral theory to high school students.]

(a) J.J.C. Smart (Act Utilitarian)

(b) Richard Brandt (Rule Utilitarian)

(c) J.S. Mill (Social Practice Utilitarian)

(d) W.D. Ross (Rule Deontologist)

(e) Immanuel Kant (Basic Principle Deontologist)

(f) David Hume (Communitarian Non-Cognitivist)

(g) Aristotle (Virtue Ethics)

(h) Alasdair MacIntyre (Virtue Ethics)

 

5.  What is the General Euthyphro Question?  What are the names of the two possible answers to it?  Explain which name goes with which answer.

 

6.  Answer the following questions for each of the moral theories listed below:  (i) According to this theory, who is the moral authority for settling questions about normative moral statements? (ii) What answer would this theory give to the General Euthyphro Question, as applied to normative moral statements? Explain your answer.

(a) Divine Command Theory

(b) Mill's Social Practice Utilitarianism

(c) Kantian Ethical Theory

(d) Hume's Communitarian Non-Cognitivism

(e) MacIntyre's Normative Cultural Relativism

(f) Aristotlean Virtue Ethics (as interpreted by Talbott)

(g) How would you answer the General Euthyphro Question?  Explain. 

 

7. (a) What is the example of the dutiful friend and the caring friend?  (b) How does that example raise a problem for deontological ethical theories?]

 

8.  According to Hume, what is the role of reason and sentiment in making a particular moral judgment: (a) that an act of ingratitude is wrong? (b) that an act of refusing to pay back a loan is unjust (and thus wrong)? 

 

9.  Compare Hume and Kant's accounts of morality.  In your discussion, make sure you cover the following issues:  (a) reason vs. sentiment in moral judgment; (b) moral cognitivism vs. moral non-cognitivism; (c) moral realism vs. moral anti-realism; and (d) the universal vs. the conventional in moral judgment.

 

10.  Explain the difference between the justice perspective and the care perspective in the theory of moral development.  (b) Why is the disagreement between the advocates of the justice perspective and the care perspective in ethics one manifestation of the disagreement between Kant and Hume on the nature of ethics?

 

11. (a) Explain MacIntyre's distinction between internal and external goods.  (b) Use the distinction between internal and external goods to explain why Aristotle does not believe that happiness is a goal or an end state (like the feeling of elation that the Mariners will have if they win the World Series or the feeling of superiority that they would have when they were given their World Series rings to wear).  (c) What does Aristotle think happiness is for human beings?

 

12. (a) What is Aristotle's Golden Mean Formula for Virtue?  (b) State Aristotle's Golden Mean Formula in a form in which it might give necessary and sufficient conditions for moral rightness.  (c) Give three reasons why Aristotle's Golden Mean Formula does not provide purely descriptive necessary and sufficient conditions for moral rightness and explain them.  [We discussed four in lecture.]

 

13. (a) For Aristotle, what is the difference between natural virtue and virtue in the strict sense?  (b) Which of the philosophers we have read defends a theory of what Aristotle calls "natural virtue"?  Explain.

 

14.  In the Nicomachean Ethics (from which Prof. Talbott read in lecture) Aristotle says:  "Socrates, then, thought the virtues were rules or rational principles (for he thought they were, all of them, forms of scientific knowledge), while we think they involve a rational principle."  (a) Use the distinction between explicitly applying a principle and being implicitly guided by a principle to explain the difference between Socrates and Aristotle on the role of rational principles in morality.  Your answer should show that you understand the explicitly applying/being implicitly guided by distinction.  [You should use a non-moral example to explain the explicitly applying/implicitly guided by distinction.  To be complete, your answer must explain Socrates' view of the role of rational principles and Aristotle's view of the role of rational principles in morality.]  (b) Which of the philosophers we have read defends a theory of morality that most resembles Socrates' theory?  Explain.

 

15.  In class we considered three ways of defining the so-called "Naturalistic Fallacy".  (a) What are they?  (b) Two of the definitions of "Naturalistic Fallacy" are flawed.  Which ones are flawed and why they are flawed?  (c) One definition of "Naturalistic Fallacy" avoids the flaws of the other two.  Which one is that? 

 

16.  For this question, use the third, unflawed definition of "Naturalistic Fallacy".  For each of the philosophers on the following list:  (i) State how they would they answer this question:  Is the so-called "Naturalistic Fallacy" truly a fallacy? [If you cannot determine the answer on the basis of the readings and the material presented in lecture, your answer should be "Indeterminate".]  (ii) Explain your answer to (i).

(a) Smart

(b) Brandt

(c) Mill

(d) Kant

(e) Ross

(f) Hume

(g) Mackie

(h) Aristotle

(i) What is your opinion?  Explain.

 

17.  (a) What is Moore's Open Question Argument?  (Summarize it.)  (b) If it is successful, what does Moore's Open Question Argument show about normative (and evaluative) terms?  (c) If the Open Question argument is successful, does it show that Act Utilitarianism is false?  Explain.  [Hint:  Does the Act Utilitarian claim to offer a definition of "morally right" and of "morally wrong"?]

 

18. (a) What is the difference between an internal and an external reason or justification for acting morally? (b) What sort of reason does Kant believe can be given to act morally?  Explain.  (c) Explain why Hume does not believe that there is any reason for acting morally.  According to Hume, where does the motivation to act morally come from?  (d) What sort of reason or justification, if any, do you think can be given for acting morally?  Explain.

 

19.  (a) Is Mackie a moral realist or a moral anti-realist?  (b) What are the two main arguments that Mackie uses to support his position?  Name them and summarize them briefly.  (c) Is McNaughton a moral realist or a moral anti-realist?  What is the "Moral Mistake Argument" that McNaughton uses to support his position?  Summarize it briefly.  (d) What is Talbott's extension of McNaughton's argument?  Summarize it briefly. 

 

20.  There are 21 students in our PHIL. 240 class.  Suppose we comprised an isolated community of independent and inter-dependent agents, all relatively equal.  We would undoubtedly find ourselves facing many potential Collective Action Problems (CAPs).  Suppose that in each of the CAPs we faced, each of us could cooperate or defect without anyone else knowing which act we had performed.  Suppose, also, that there is no earthly or divine punishment for defecting.  In our community, whenever we are faced with a CAP, almost everyone cooperates, even though they expect there to be a small number of defectors.  (a) What would an individualistically rational person do in such a circumstance?  Explain.  (b) What would a person who was reasonable, in Rawls's sense, do?  Explain.  (c) Those who defect in a CAP when most other people are cooperating are referred to as "free riders".  Why are they referred to as "free riders"?  (d) What would you do in a collective action problem in these circumstances, if you knew that most of the others would cooperate?  Would you cooperate or defect?  Explain your answer.  [Again assume that there is no earthly or divine punishment for defecting.  Note that there is no right or wrong answer to part (d) of this question.  You will be graded on your explanation of the reasons for and against defecting, not on what you ultimately decide.]