ETHICS PHIL 1100
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This 7 page Class Notes was uploaded by Kenton Grimes on Friday October 30, 2015. The Class Notes belongs to PHIL 1100 at University of Colorado at Boulder taught by Michael Tooley in Fall. Since its upload, it has received 9 views. For similar materials see /class/232148/phil-1100-university-of-colorado-at-boulder in PHIL-Philosophy at University of Colorado at Boulder.
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Date Created: 10/30/15
PHILOSOPHY 1100 INTRODUCTION TO ETHICS POSSIBLE EXAMINATION QUESTIONS As is indicated in the Final Exam Handout the nal examination will be divided into three sections and you will be asked to answer a total of three questions one from each section The examination will contain at least 12 questions with at least 4 questions from each of the three sections listed below Finally there will be at least one question from each of the topics listed SECTION 1 SEXUAL MORALITY HOMOSEXUALITY AND PORNOGRAPHY Topic 111 Sexual Morality 1 People embrace a number of quite different and con icting general views on sexual morality Some maintain that sex is only justi ed if the aim is reproduction Others hold that sex is only justi ed if the purpose involves the expression of certain higher feelings such as love Others hold that whether sex is permissible depends upon the nature of the relationship Still others hold that sex should be viewed as simply a form of recreation and not as needing some deeper meaning or purpose Carefully set out the general position on sexual morality that seems to you to be correct What reasons can you offer in support of that view What are the most important objections to your position and how would you respond to them 2 What are the most important arguments that might be offered in support of the view that all sexual activity before marriage is morally wrong Carefully set out those arguments and then offer a critical evaluation of them indicating why you think that they are or are not correct and then considering objections to your own views 3 quotThe rst thing that needs to be said is that sex is fun But unfortunately that39s not the last thing For sex is also potentially very dangerous And while it39s true that the dangers would be minimal if people behaved responsibly the fact is that a very large proportion of people and especially young teenagers are not going to behave responsibly Therefore while the idea that premarital sex is wrong in itself doesn39t seem very plausible the sad conclusion is that society must nevertheless strongly discourage people from engaging in sex outside of marriage since if society does not do this the likely consequences will be disastrousquot Is this a good argument or not If you think that it is a good argument set out what you take to be the strongest objection to it and then indicate in detail how you would respond to that objection If you think that it is not a good argument carefully set out your objection or objections to the argument and then consider how a defender of the argument might respond 4 Is prostitution morally wrong What are the most important arguments that might be offered in support of the view that it is What are the most important arguments that might be offered against that view Which position would you defend and why What is the most important objection or objections to your own view and how would you respond Topic IV Homosexuality 1 Is homosexual sex morally wrong If you think that it is not morally wrong set out in a careful step by step argument the best reason that someone who disagreed with you might offer for the view that it is wrong and then indicate why you think that argument is unsound If on the other hand you think that homosexual sex is morally wrong offer a careful step by step argument in support of that view and then discuss what you take to be the most important objection to your argument 2 quotIt is difficult to think about homosexuality in a dispassionate way given the level of emotion on both sides To clear the air then let us begin by setting aside the claim that homosexuality is an abomination a claim that whether it is true or not makes any calm discussion of the issues very difficult When that is done there are surely a number of points that can be seen upon re ection to be very reasonable Thus for example it is surely true that it is better to be a heterosexual than to be a gay or a lesbian Secondly not only is a homosexual orientation inferior to a normal heterosexual orientation it is undesirable If one39s child were to become gay or lesbian that would undoubtedly be a very sad outcome Finally and because it is undesirable a homosexual orientation should be strongly discouraged although this needs to be done in a sensitive way given that it may turn out to be true as some scientists have suggested that there is in some cases a genetic predisposition towards homosexualityquot Discuss the view that is expressed in this passage If you think that it is fundamentally sound offer support and defend it against important objections If you disagree with all or part of it indicate why and consider objections to your own view Topic V Pornography 1 What view would you defend concerning the moral status of pornography Is the enjoyment of pornography morally wrong or not After setting out your own view and indicating why you think it is correct discuss at least one important objection to your view 2 quotThe enjoyment of pornography is morally wrong because pornography degrades womenquot What reasons might be offered in support of this claim and what objections might be raised against it What view would you defend and why SECTION 2 SUICIDE AND EUTHANASIA Topic VI Suicide and Euthanasia 1 The following argument has been offered for the view that suicide is prima facie morally wrong 1 It is prima facie morally wrong to destroy something that belongs to someone else unless that person has given one permission to do so 2 Our lives are not our own they belong to God 3 Therefore to commit suicide is to destroy something that belongs to someone else 4 God has not given humans permission to destroy themselves 5 Therefore it is prima facie wrong to commit suicide Is this a good argument or not If you think that it is a good argument set out what you take to be the strongest objection to it and then indicate in detail how you would respond to that objection If you think that it is not a good argument carefully set out your objection or objections to the argument and then consider how a defender of the argument might respond 2 quotThough it may be a foolish action a person doesn39t do anything morally wrong by committing suicide But if it is not morally wrong to commit suicide then neither can it be morally wrong to ask someone to assist one Killing someone who asks to be killed is however morally on a par with assisting someone to commit suicide Consequently it cannot be morally wrong to kill someone who wants to be killed Therefore voluntary active euthanasia is not morally wrongquot Discuss the above argument in support of voluntary active euthanasia Is the argument valid as it stands If not are there any missing or implicit premises that could be added or made explicit so that the argument would be valid What about the arguments premises Are there any controversial ones If so what can be said for and against them What is your overall judgment on the soundness of the above argument Be sure to focus upon the above argument and not just upon the general issue that it raises 3 What view does Gay Williams defend on euthanasia in his article and what argument does he offer in support of that view in the section entitled 1 The Argument from Naturequot Carefully set out and then critically evaluate that argument If you think the argument is sound defend it against an important objection If you think it is not sound set out your objection to it 4 A number of writers such as James Rachels have contended that there is no intrinsic difference between intentionally killing and intentionally letting die Set out what you take to be the most important argument or arguments for and or against this contention and critically evaluate that argument or arguments by carefully setting out and discussing at least one important objection to the argument or arguments 5 quotVoluntary passive euthanasia is morally acceptable but voluntary active euthanasia is morally wrongquot What reasons might be offered in support of this claim What objection or objections might be advanced against it What view would you defend and why 6 quotAnencephalic infants do not have upper brains but they are human beings and they do have souls As a consequence they have a serious right to life and it is therefore seriously wrong to kill such infantsquot Is this a good argument or not If you think that it is a good argument set out what you take to be the strongest objection to it and then indicate in detail how you would respond to that objection If you think that it is not a good argument carefully set out your objection or objections to the argument and then consider how a defender of the argument might respond SECTION 3 THE MORAL STATUS OF ANIMALS HUMAN CLONING AND ABORTION Topic VII Animal Rights 1 quotIn icting unnecessary pain upon any sentient being is always prim facie wrong But it is only humans and any intelligent extra terrestrials that may happen to exist and that possess the psychological capacities or potentialities that humans possess that have a right to life The painless killing of any non human animals that one nds here on earth is accordingly morally permissiblequot Discuss this view either defending it against objections that might be raised or showing why it is unsound 2 In the selection from Peter Singer39s book Animal Liberation that is contained in the Applied Ethics anthology Singer sets out and defends a quotbasic principle of equalityquot What is that principle and how does Singer argue in support of it Does that principle of equality entail that all sentient beings have the same rights Is Singer39s defense of that principle successful or not Why or why not 3 Set out clearly and concisely the basic argument that Tom Regan offers concerning the moral status of animals How does Regan s approach differ from that of Peter Singer Is Regan s argument sound or not If you think that it is unsound indicate why that is so If you think that Regan s argument is sound defend it against an important objection 4 What properties do you think are sufficient to give an entity a right to life After brie y outlining the most important alternative answers that might be given to this question indicate at least one answer that you think is correct and why and then defending your answer against possible objections Topic VIII Human Cloning 1 Set out an argument that you think is sound either for the view that the cloning of human beings should not be allowed or else for the opposing view that it should be allowed Defend your view against at least one important objection 2 When cloning is done to produce spare body parts one can object to it on the grounds that it destroys a human embryo and therefore that it is wrong if abortion is wrong But when the purpose of cloning is to produce a living person who is genetically the same as another person it is not really morally problematic in any wayquot Discuss the view expressed in the above passage What reasons might be offered for thinking that cloning that that is done with the purpose of producing a living person is morally problematic Of those reasons which reason or reasons do you think is the strongest Do you think that any of those reasons shows that such cloning is morally wrong or not What objection might be directed against your view and how would you reply Topic IX Abortion 1 Many people maintain that both an extreme pro choice position on abortion and an extreme pro life position must be mistaken and they advocate some sort of moderate view Carefully set out the moderate position that strikes you as the most plausible and then critically evaluate that position If it seems to you sound defend it against some important objections If it seems to you unsound explain clearly what is wrong with it 2 quotAbortion is always in itself very seriously wrong because it is the killing of an innocent member of our own speciesquot After expanding this capsule argument into a more explicit argument critically evaluate the argument If it seems to you sound defend it against the most ilnportant objection or objections If it seems to you unsound explain clearly what is wrong with it 3 What do you think is one of the more promising arguments that can be offered in defense of the view that abortion is always morally wrong in itself After carefully setting out that argument outline a worthwhile objection to that argument Can that objection be sustained or does the defender of the argument have a satisfactory reply to the objection 4 quotThough rape is certainly seriously wrong that fact does not make it right to have an abortion For if a woman who has become pregnant because of rape chooses to have an abortion what she is doing then is punishing an innocent party namely the unborn baby Accordingly if abortion should not be allowed in other cases then neither should it be allowed in the case of rapequot Discuss this argument What is the most important objection to it Does the argument succeed in showing that if an anti abortion view is correct in cases where pregnancy is not due to rape then no exception should be made in the case where pregnancy has resulted from rape 5 Some philosophers have offered the following argument against abortion 1 Almost all human embryos and fetuses are potential persons that is entities that have the potential for acquiring the capacities for thought and self consciousness if they are not destroyed 2 Being a potential person gives one a serious right to life Therefore 3 Abortion is almost always wrong In response Mary Anne Warren argued that if potentialities gave something a right to life then every cell in a human beings body would have a right to life since cloning is in principle possible which shows that every cell is a potential person Is Mary Anne Warren s response to the above potentiality argument a good response or not If you think that it is a good response set out what you take to be the strongest objection to it and then indicate in detail how you would respond to that objection If you think that it is not a good response carefully set out your objection to her response and then consider how a defender of the Mary Anne Warren s argument might respond 6 Carefully set out and then critically evaluate both the best argument in support of the claim that the potentiality for thought and self consciousness gives an entity a serious right to life and the best argument against that claim If you think an argument is sound defend it against a crucial objection If you think an argument is unsound carefully set out your objection to the argument 7 Set out and then carefully evaluate either the strongest argument in support of the view that potentialities suffice to endow human fetuses with a serious right to life or the strongest argument against that view If you think the argument is sound defend it against a crucial objection If you think the argument is unsound carefully set out your objection to the argument 8 What can be said for and against the claim that the following is a correct basic moral principle quotEvery innocent organism belonging to our own biologically defined species Homo sapiens possesses a serious right to lifequot Is the claim correct or not Carefully defend your view against objections 9 Is abortion morally wrong What are the most important arguments that might be offered in support of the view that it is What are the most important arguments that might be offered against that view Which position would you defend and why What is the most important objection or objections to your own view and how would you respond 10 Defenders of the view that abortion is always at least prima facie seriously wrong offer different grounds for thinking that it is prima facie seriously wrong to kill any innocent member of our species Four of the more important reasons offered are as follows a Being an innocent member of the biologically defined species Homo sapiens is in itself sufficient to endow something a right to life b All human beings from the moment of conception have immaterial rational souls and any innocent being with a rational soul has a right to life c All human beings from the moment of conception have the capacities for consciousness thought and selfconsciousness and any innocent being with those capacities has a right to life d All human beings from the moment of conception have the potential of acquiring the capacities for consciousness thought and self consciousness and any innocent being with those potentialities has a right to life 1 Which of the above four answers do you think is the most promising 2 For each of the other three answers describe brie y one reason for thinking that that answer is problematic 3 In the case of the answer that you think is the most promising set out and discuss one important objection to it
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