Midterm Study Guide
Midterm Study Guide PHIL 3730
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This 10 page Study Guide was uploaded by Jada Notetaker on Sunday February 28, 2016. The Study Guide belongs to PHIL 3730 at Georgia State University taught by Dr. Suzanne Neefus in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 68 views. For similar materials see Business Ethics in PHIL-Philosophy at Georgia State University.
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Date Created: 02/28/16
PHIL 3730 Midterm Study Guide The following questions are intended to guide your review. Some may appear as test questions in various forms; others may not appear at all. Test questions will draw from the assigned readings and material discussed in class. 1. Critical Thinking What are the parts of an argument, and how are they typically structured? Think back to your Critical Thinking or Intro to Philosophy classes if you took them. There are the premises (the “support” for the argument) and the conclusion (what you’re trying to convince someone of). What is the difference between an inductive and a deductive argument? An inductive argument’s premises can provide either strong or weak support for the conclusion, sort of like how a light dimmer isn’t fully on or off, just somewhere in between. The purpose of a deductive argument is to be proven valid by the truth of its premises. It might be easier to think of it like a light switch. Just as the light’s either on or off, the argument is either valid or invalid. How would you explain each of the fallacies, using examples to illustrate? Here, these memes might help. Ad hominem: Appeal to force: (Tumblr) (Tumblr) Begging the Question: Biased Sample: (Tumblr) (Tumblr) Strawman Argument: (Tumblr) Appeal to Force/Ad hominem: Equivocation: Fallacy of Accent: False Analogy: False Dichotomy: 2. Professional Duties What is the difference between a descriptive and prescriptive statement? Descriptive statements tell you the facts of a situation. (For example, Company M lends the back rooms of its stores to usage by the Mafia for pay.) What do we mean by “normative”? How is this different from “ethical”? Normative statements make value judgements on situations when compared to the “normal” state of affairs. (Allowing dangerous criminals consistent access to a company’s property and accepting their blood money is wrong.) However, what’s “normal” may differ from how ethical theories think people should act. What is the difference between a perfect and imperfect duty? Let’s say your group project is due the third Sunday of next month at 11:59 PM. This duty is clear (perfect) with respect to who (it’s a group project, of which you are a part), what day, and what time. However, you have some room (imperfect) regarding where (you can turn it in over the WiFi at the library, in your room, in the lounge, on your phone). How does a defeasible duty differ from an absolute duty? Defeasible = defeatable (That’s not a word, but we’ll just act like it is one for this example.) If you can get out of performing a duty, negotiate it, or avoid it altogether, it’s defeasible. If a duty must be performed, it’s absolute. How would you explain Cultural Relativism and criticisms of the view? Basically, Ruth Benedict said that what is moral is determined within each culture. No practices from any culture are better or worse when compared to those of another, they’re just different. Criticisms: 1. It doesn’t allow for the idea of moral progress. 2. We can’t judge our own culture’s past. 3. It doesn’t follow logically that one culture can’t be better than another. 4. It’s not necessary for tolerance of other cultures. 5. The differences between cultures are usually about beliefs instead of values. 3. Stockholder Theory How would you explain Stockholder theory and the primary arguments Friedman gives? The title pretty much sums it up: “The Social Responsibility of a Business is to Increase its Profits.” CEOs only report to stockholders (investors) and their area of expertise is management not poverty/the environment for example; thus, they shouldn’t be spending stockholders’ money on social causes (which Friedman says is similar to Taxation without Representation™). As such, CEO’s are only responsible for maximizing profits, since Friedman assumes that’s what the stockholders want. What is Friedman’s view about the metaphysics of corporations and responsibility? Only individual people have to bear social responsibilities, not business. The CEO is a person and may pursue social causes on his/her/their own time, but certainly not at the expense of the stockholders. What is Friedman’s view on cloaking? Cloaking is when a company does a socially responsible thing not because it’s “right,” but to cover up that they’re doing it to look good to the public and capitalize on that image. The downside is that consumers will eventually see companies profiting without being socially responsible as “evil,” which affects every company. What are some criticisms of this view? 1. Ignoring the complexity of life and only basing actions on the single criteria of stakeholders’ whims is too inflexible (resistant to change). 2. It’s illegal (inconsistent with the law). Things like consumer protection laws are now in place for a reason. 3. It’s inconsistent with basic ethics (ouch). 4. “Businesses are better at getting social messages across.” Friedman: “No they’re not. They’re supposed to follow the law and make money. If businesses were supposed to do something socially responsible, the gov’t would already have laws making them do that.” What sorts of revisions of this view might mitigate the force of the objections? All it takes is proper communication between the CEO and the stockholders. If they approve of pursuing socially responsible causes, they by all means the CEO’s free to do that within the established limits (if there are any). 4. Stakeholder Theory How would you explain the basic idea of this theory? A company should strive to maximize value for all of its stakeholders (from customers to employees to stockholders and everyone in between, betwixt, and beyond). What arguments does Freeman give against stockholder theory and for stakeholder theory? Criticisms 13 about stockholder theory above came from Freeman. For his own theory, he argues that the consequences are more value for all involved, it respects the rights of its stakeholders equally, it promotes better character, and it’s simply more pragmatic. What is Freeman’s view about the metaphysics of corporations and responsibility? Freeman sees companies as made up of people. A corporation’s responsibility is to advance the interests of every stakeholder (anyone invested in the corporation in any way). How does Freeman distinguish amongst different stakeholders? There are primary, secondary, internal, and external stakeholders. What are some criticisms of Freeman’s view? The biggest critique is Freeman’s lack of directions for CEOs on how to uphold the theory. Also, he leaves out the category of the Unorganized Stakeholder. What sorts of revisions of this view might mitigate the force of the objections? Freeman suggests being neutral (not really prioritizing stakeholders) and being transparent whenever possible. He says CEOs will need to be skillful to pull this off. 5. Utilitarianism What is the difference between psychological egoism, ethical egoism, and revised egoism? Phychological egoism – everyone’s only in it for furthering their own interests Ethical egoism – everyone should only be concerned about their own interests Revised egoism – insofar as they comply with the law, everyone should do whatever they want How would you explain Bentham’s version of Utilitarianism? An action is only good if produces the largest possible amount of pleasure and the reduction of pain. It’s bad if the pain outweighs the pleasure. Bentham figured the goodness of actions with his hedonistic calculus. 1. Intensity (of the pleasure) 2. Duration 3. Certainty (the likeliness of the pleasure occurring) 4. Remoteness (what’s the distance between you and the outcome?) 5. Repeatability 6. Purity (how much pain is expected to come with the pleasure?) 7. Extent (how many people will be involved in the consequences of the action?) How would explain Mill’s version of Utilitarianism? Mill changed “pleasure” to “happiness” and introduced the concept of higher and lower pleasures. Think of lower pleasures as base bodily pleasures and higher pleasures as imagination, noble feelings, intellect, and moral sentiments. What are the classic objections to Utilitarianism, and how might a Utilitarian respond? The Swine Objection: “If we should only be seeking pleasure, then nothing’s separating us from animals. A wellkept pig’s life is better than ours since it can live in constant pleasure!” Mill: “Animals don’t have the same rational capacities as humans. By developing our higher pleasures, we reach levels of fulfillment a pig could not attain.” 6. Kant’s Duty Ethics On Kant’s view, what makes something morally good? 1. Did you act out of respect for the Categorical Imperatives regardless of how you feel about them? (That’s essentially it.) What is the significance of reason in Kant’s view? Everyone has a duty to respect the rights of others insofar as they are rational. How would you explain the difference between hypothetical and categorical imperatives? Hypothetical Imperative – If you want do something (get a job), you have to do something else first (meet the requirements for the job). Categorical Imperative – Necessary actions that apply to everyone all the time and it doesn’t matter if you like it or not (like an ethical blanket, it covers everybody). How would you explain each formulation of the CI, using examples to illustrate? 1 Formulation: Only do something if you would will everyone else to be able to do it (even to you). So, don’t lie if you’re not okay with everyone lying. 2 Formulation: Always treat yourself and others as ends in themselves (multifaceted people deserving of respect who have their own goals and desires), never only as a stepping stone to your ends. Negative freedom – freedom to not be coerced or lied to Positive freedom – freedom to become a better person (“develop one’s capacities”) Also, one should be free to pursue “meaningful” work. 3 Formulation: Act like you’re already living in a perfect world (“ideal kingdom of ends ”) where everyone abides by these ethics and you’re both subject to and a sovereign leader of this kingdom. What are the classic objections to Kant’s Duty Ethics, and how might a Kantian respond? “Can you wrong an animal?” Kant: “No. Animal rights don’t really matter unless they affect how you treat people.” Purity of motive/Conflicting duties: “Let’s say a murderer shows up to your door and says ‘I’m bout to kill John and I think he’s hiding your garage. Is he here?’ Does your duty to save John’s life supersede your duty to never lie?” Kant: “Nope. There’s no such thing as a conflict of duties. The rule is to never lie, so never lie. Any conflict that arises is because you felt some kind of way about the duty. Actions are to align with the CI out of respect for the CI and no other reason (such as if you just want to).” 7. Virtue Ethics On Aristotle’s view, what makes something morally good? If an action strikes the balance between two vices and becomes a positive habit, it’s good. How does a person develop character? They act justly and develop the habits of acting justly (eventually they will begin to appreciate the virtues in themselves). Instead of focusing on every possible thing that goes into each choice, the importance is how it affects you as a person (your trajectory on a map of character development, if you will). What is the significance of the Golden Mean? It’s pretty much the main idea of Virtue Ethics. Imagine Cowardice, Bravery, and Foolishness on a straight line (in that order). The virtue is bravery, since a deficiency in it results in cowardice, and an excess leads to foolishness. Everyone’s threshold for virtues is different. What are the classic objections to Virtue Ethics, and how might a Virtue Ethicist respond? “Where’s the list of right actions?” Aristotle: “There isn’t one. An act of bravery for someone else may be foolish if you do it. Just find the Golden Mean for you and stick to it. Besides, it doesn’t matter if you do the right thing for the wrong reason. Eventually, you’ll appreciate your developed virtues in themselves.” “But virtuous actions aren’t the only right actions.” Aristotle: “Like I said, it doesn’t matter why you do something, just where it takes your character.” “This sounds incredibly selfcentered.” Aristotle: “Ah, but it isn’t. You actions affect your larger moral community, so, hopefully, you become a good influence. ” “What if someone has the moral luck of being born into a position that makes it easier for them to be virtuous?” Aristotle: “Then they still have to abide by their specific virtues, whatever those may be.”
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