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1 Humanities 2702 Fall 2007 Midterm Exam There are two sections: a short answer section worth 24 points and an essay section worth 75 points you get one point for writing your name! No materials (books, notes, outlines, fellow classmates, etc.) may be used during the exam. You may only use a writing instrument, your own mind, and your blue book. You may answer the questions in any order, just make sure you mark which question you are answering clearly (e.g., Short Answer 2 or Essay 1 ). Good Luck! Short Answers: Answer the following questions in one paragraph (each is worth 4 points). 1. What are deontic concepts? What are value concepts? What is the difference between a deontic ethical theory and a value-based theory? What is one example of a valuebased theory? Deontic concepts deal with issues of right and wrong actions and what is permissible, obligatory or impermissible. Value concepts deal with values of good and bad or good and evil and with what is a moral/non-moral value or what is an intrinsic or extrinsic value. A Deontic ethical theory takes the notion of right and wrong action to be primary and characterizes good and evil/bad in terms of the former. A value-based theory takes the notions of good and evil/bad, or values, as primary and defines right or wrong action in terms of the former. Examples of value-based theories are: utilitarianism, natural law theory, etc. 2. What is the difference between an intrinsic value and an extrinsic value? Give an example of each. Something has intrinsic value if it is valuable in and of itself. Somethings has extrinsic value if it has value only in relation to something else, most commonly only if it has value in relation to something that has intrinsic value. Life is an example of something with intrinsic value. Money is an example of something that has extrinsic value. 3. What is the greatest happiness principle in utilitarianism (be specific!)? The greatest happiness principle is the fundamental principle in Utilitarianism. It is: to act in such a way as to maximize pleasure and minimize pain for all both now and in the future. 4. What is act utilitarianism and what is rule utilitarianism and what is the difference between them? Act Utilitarianism: An act is right if, and only if, of those acts available to the agent in the circumstances, it would produce the greatest total net happiness.

2 Rule Utilitarianism: An act is wrong if, and only it, it is contrary to a rule, such that were society to have a practice of enforcing that rule, this practice would maximize overall net happiness. Act utilitarianism applies the greatest happiness principle to individual acts. Rule utilitarianism applies the greatest happiness principle to rules and determines the rightness or wrongness of acts based on whether it is in accord with a moral rule. 5. What function does a decision procedure play in an ethical theory? Why do some think that the decision procedure of divine command theory is problematic? A decision procedure in an ethical theory specifies procedures under which one could concretely decide how to act in a given situation based on that ethical theory. Divine command theory s most likely decision procedure is to act in accordance with the will of God. Some think this is problematic for our only access to the will of God is through revelation/scripture. Not only are there different people/texts that claim to be revelatory, but different interpretations of those texts. Thus, the decision procedure is problematic since we have no direct contact with what God wills. 6. Briefly define: Moral relativism, moral absolutism, moral skepticism, and moral nihilism. Moral relativism: All moral principles are relative to something, e.g., culture, the individual, etc. Moral Absolutism: True moral principles are absolute, i.e., not relative, universal, etc. Moral skepticism: We simply don t know if there are moral principles or not. Moral nihilism: Moral principles are meaningless, there are no moral principles. Essay Section: Write an essay on each of the following questions (each is worth 25 points). 1. Explain in detail ethical egoism. How does ethical egoism differ from psychological egoism. Explain Ayn Rand s argument for ethical egoism. What is Rachels criticism of Rand s argument. James Rachels also criticizes two other arguments for ethical egoism. Explain each of these arguments and give Rachels criticism of them. Ethical egoism is the theory that one should/ought to act always to further one s own self-interest. One must do so in the long-term as well. Psychological egoism is the claim that in fact people act always to further their own self-interest. Psychological egoism is a factual claim, ethical egoism is an ethical claim, i.e., a claim about what one should or ought to do. An ethical egoist could believe that psychological egoism is false, i.e., people in fact don t act to further their own self-interest, but still maintain that they should act to further their own self-interest.

3 Rand argues that ethical egoism is the best ethical theory, because she believes that it is the only ethical theory that respects the value of the individual. She contrasts it with altruism, i.e., that one should always act for the benefit of others. She claims that if one follows an altruistic ethic, they do not respect their own individual value, i.e., that their life does not matter or only matters insofar as they can help others. Only ethical egoism respects the value of the individual. Rachels criticism of Rand is that she sets up a false dichotomy between acting in self-interest and acting altruistically. That is, Rachels argues that Rand sets up an either/or choice between acting out of self-interest and acting for altruism. Only given this would altruism be seen as not valuing the individual. Rachels criticizes two other arguments for ethical egoism: (1) That if everyone acts in their own self-interest we will all be better off. Rachels argues that this is not an argument for ethical egoism at all since the goal is that we are all better off. Thus, it is an altruistic argument that one should act in one s own self-interest. (2) That ethical egoism best captures our everyday, moral intuitions. That is, one does not lie, because if one gets a reputation for lying no one will believe them and this will not be in their own self-interest, etc. Rachels argues that although in many cases this is true, there are also a lot of cases in which, if you could get away with it and no one would know, lying, murder, etc. would be in one s best self-interest and thus the ethical thing to do according to E.E. But this clashes with our everyday, moral intuitions. 2. Explain in detail the natural law theory of ethics. Explain in detail the principle of forfeiture. Explain in detail the principle of double effect (including the four conditions necessary for double effect to apply). How would these two principles apply to the bombing of Dresden if: (1) It was done solely to shorten the war by destroying Nazi factories in Dresden and (2) It was done to terrorize the citizens of Nazi Germany? In other words, analyze situations (1) and (2) using the two principles. Natural law theory believes that ethical principles are built into human nature by their creator (although, there is some possibility of a natural law theory without a creator). These natural laws or natural moral principles are manifested in the end/purpose/telos/function of human beings and can be gleaned from our natural inclinations. Some of these are: Life, procreation, knowledge, and sociability. Natural law theory is an absolutist morality meaning that the natural laws are inviolable. However, there seem to be many cases where natural laws conflict, e.g., when someone is trying to kill me and I kill them in self defense. In this case, the value of my life and the value of my attacker s life come into conflict. Therefore, natural law theory must specify how these conflicts are to be resolved. It does so using two principles:

4 (1) The principle of forfeiture states that whenever someone threatens to violate the natural rights of someone, e.g., right to life, then they forfeit their own natural rights. Thus, if someone tries to kill me, they forfeit their own right to life and I am justified in killing them only to prevent them from killing me (or someone else.) (2) The principle of double effect comes into play when a particular action is intended to preserve someone s natural rights, but at the same time has bad effects. There are four criteria that an action must satisfy if it is to fulfill the principle of double effect and be justified: (i) The act itself is permissible, (ii) The bad effect cannot be avoided, (iii) the bad effect is not a means to the permissible end of the action, and (iv) the proportionality requirement, i.e., that the good of the action is proportionally better than the bad effect. In the case of the bombing of Dresden. If it is done to shorten the war by destroying the factories in Dresden then it satisfies principles (1) and (2). The Nazi regime (and Nazis) forfeited their right to life by trying to kill others. And, (2i) Shortening the war is itself permissible), (2ii) this cannot be done without destroying the factories that produce weapons, but this means that some innocent people will be killed, (2iii) the killing of innocent people is not a means to the end of shortening the war (in this case), i.e., the death of innocents is merely a side-effect, and (2iv) The number of innocent deaths occurring as a result of the bombing of Dresden is outweighed by all the life that will be preserved by shortening the war. If Dresden is bombed in order to terrorize people, this could fail either the forfeiture principle, but most likely it would fail either 2i or 2ii or 2iii. So it could fail on many different accounts. 3. There are two main stages in James Rachels critique of cultural relativism: (1) A critique of the argument for cultural relativism and (2) three consequences of the thesis of cultural relativism which Rachels believes should lead any reasonable person to reject it. In your essay first explain in detail the thesis of cultural relativism and then explain in detail (1) and (2) above. Cultural relativism is the thesis that all ethical principles and values are relative to a culture. Thus, what is right or wrong depends upon what culture you are talking about. Something that is right in one culture may be wrong in another and viceversa (and not just believed to be right or wrong, but actually right and wrong). In other words, there are no absolute principles of right and wrong. (1) Rachels thinks the most common and popular argument for cultural relativism is what he calls the cultural differences argument: (i) Different cultures have different (and sometimes contradictory) beliefs about what is right and wrong Therefore, there simply is no fact of the matter about what is right or wrong - what is right or wrong is relative to a culture.

5 Rachels demonstrates that this argument is invalid. That is, even if the premise was true (and it could very well be), the conclusion does not necessarily follow. Simply because different cultures have different beliefs about what is right or wrong does not prove that there really is no fact of the matter about what is right or wrong. In other words, one or both of the cultures can simply be wrong about what is right or wrong. Analogous example: From the mere fact that if one culture believed that the world was flat and one culture believed that the world was round, one cannot conclude that there is no fact of the matter about whether the world is flat or round. (2) The three consequences of cultural relativism that Rachels thinks would make any reasonable person reject it are: (i) We could not judge one culture to be inferior to any other: Since C.R. argues that there is no absolute, cross-cultural principles of right or wrong, one cannot compare the ethics of one culture against another. Something may seem horribly wrong in another culture (the holocaust), but that is simply wrong for us, i.e., in our culture. In that culture (Nazi Germany), it is right. (ii) The notion of moral progress (even within the history of one country) no longer makes sense if C.R. is true. For example, in the culture of pre-civil war America, slavery was acceptable. One may believe that we have morally Progressed since slavery is no longer acceptable in America. However, if C.R. Is true then this is wrong. According to C.R., slavery was right in the culture Of pre-civil war America and is wrong in America now, but there is no absolute ethical principles which would allow us to judge the former worse than the latter. (iii) Finally, if C.R. was true we could simply inspect our own culture to find out what is right and wrong. This seems false, since it seems that we have to do more to find out what is really right and wrong than just look at what our culture thinks is right and wrong. That is why we debate ethical issues all the time, instead of just inspecting what is acceptable to our culture or not.

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