Part 1 and 2 Essays
Part I: Short Essays
Answer THREE of the following short essays, drawing on and citing the relevant texts. Replies should be somewhere between 300 – 500 words (16 points/essay).
- What does Mill mean when he writes: “[to claim that utilitarianism is too high for humanity] is to mistake the very meaning of a standard of morals and confound the rule of action with the motive of it” (326)? What is the distinction between a standard of morals and a motivation for morality, and why is it important for Mill?
- Why does Kant think that human beings are the only things with unconditional value? What would a Kantian approach to the value of nature look like?
- What exactly is a virtue, according to Aristotle? Be precise. How do we become virtuous?
- What are some of the differences between how men and women (stereotypically) tend to approach ethics, according to Kohlberg and Gilligan (in Baier essay)? Why does Baier think that Hume’s approach to ethics is more in line with a stereotypically female approach to ethics.
- Imagine someone who is naturally loving and trusting of people. She doesn’t think about whether she is doing the right thing. She doesn’t deliberate much at all. She is just friendly and kind by nature. According to Kant, do her actions have moral worth? How would Mill and Hume judge her?
- What are some of the assumptions of Traditional Just War Theory that McMahan seeks to challenge? How does McMahan’s his moralized understanding of innocence relate to his challenge to the moral equality of combatants? What are some of the implications of his view?
Part II: Long Essays
Answer TWO of the following long essay questions, drawing on and citing the relevant texts. Replies should be somewhere between 600 – 800 words (26 points/essay).
- What is the relationship between being moral and being happy? Consider how Kant, Mill, Aristotle, and Tessman would answer the question. Then present your own thoughts on the relationship. Is it possible to be happy without being moral? Is it possible to be moral without being happy? Explain. Part 1 and 2 Essays
- Hume, Wong, and Doris and Plakias challenge moral realism in different ways. Explain what moral realism is and briefly show why these authors think that it is an indefensible view. How would a moral realist (like Kant or Mill) respond to their challenges? Finally, if moral realism is false, does this mean that all ethical views are equally legitimate? Explain.
- Several of the texts that we read this semester addressed—either directly or indirectly—the issue of moral luck. What is moral luck? Would Kant admit that moral luck is possible? What about Aristotle? How do Tessman and Calhoun make use of the concept of moral luck to explicate their respective conceptions of moral damage and moral failure. Do you believe that we should acknowledge moral luck as a genuine phenomenon? Explain.