Contemporary Moral Problems Exam 1 Study Guide
Contemporary Moral Problems Exam 1 Study Guide PHIL 3720
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This 2 page Study Guide was uploaded by Jada Notetaker on Sunday February 28, 2016. The Study Guide belongs to PHIL 3720 at Georgia State University taught by Ms. Elizabeth Dwyer in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 54 views. For similar materials see Contemporary Moral Problems in PHIL-Philosophy at Georgia State University.
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Date Created: 02/28/16
PHIL 3720 Exam 1 Study Guide [The exam will consist of one essay question (prompt TBD by the instructor). Completing the essay will require you to be able to answer the following questions.] 1. What is an argument? What are the parts of an argument? An argument is any attempt to convince others that some belief is true. Premises (the statements that support your conclusion) and a conclusion (the point the argument is trying to convince others of). 2. How do we determine whether an argument is a good (or bad) argument? If the conclusion follows logically from the premises, it’s valid. If it remains true when mapped onto what is already known about the world, it is sound. This is proper form. Also, persuasiveness is a mark of a good argument. If the argument fails either of these, it’s invalid, unsound, or both. 3. What distinguishes ethical (moral) problems from other philosophical problems? Moral problems ask how one should act insofar as it affects themselves and others, while other philosophical problems concern other subjects (such as existence). 4. What is an ethical theory? What does an ethical theory attempt to provide? An ethical theory is a tool for determining if an action is “good” or not. They’re an attempt at giving morality a standard. 5. What is the criterion for Utilitarianism? For Kantian Ethics? Utilitarianism: Produce the most happiness for the most people with the least amount of suffering possible. Kantian Ethics: Insofar as someone is rational, their rights must be respected and they must be treated as ends in themselves (never merely as means to your ends). 6. Explain Peter Singer’s argument for providing famine (global poverty) relief. Which ethical theory does Singer apply in his argument? Singer believes that one should donate to famine relief as much as possible without sacrificing anything of “comparable moral importance,” since most people agree that dying of hunger and poor sanitation is bad, and citizens of affluent countries are in a position to help. Also, the distance between you and the affected country doesn’t matter. This falls under utilitarianism. 7. Explain Christopher Wellman’s argument for providing famine (global poverty) relief. Which ethical theory does Wellman apply in his argument? Wellman says we have both positive and negative duties toward one another, specifically when it comes to famine relief. According to him, “negative duties prohibit us from harming others, and positive duties require us to assist others when they are gravely imperiled and we can rescue them at no unreasonable cost to ourselves” (Wellman 428). These duties are characteristic of Kant’s duty ethics. 8. What are some objections to Singer’s and Wellman’s arguments? Can the authors address or overcome these objections? Why or why not? Singer “In the drowning child example, you were the only person available to prevent the kid from drowning. In the real world, there’s millions of other people at least who can help.” Singer: “Just because other people can help doesn’t lessen the individual responsibilities we all have.” “If everyone donated $5 to relieving world hunger, the problem would be solved. Therefore, I don’t have to give more than $5.” Singer: “This only works hypothetically. You and I both know everyone isn’t going to donate $5, so it doesn’t follow that you should abide by that in reality.” Wellman “But poor countries are so far away.” Wellman: “Distance doesn’t matter. The Internet’s capable of connecting people from the most remote places together.” “What if I just don’t want to?” Wellman: “Considering how easy it is to donate from your phone (the very least you could do), there’s no excuse not to. It’s still up to you, though.”
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