Homework #3     (due 12/3)

Answer the following three questions. Your type-written answer is due Tuesday, December 3 in class. You may work with others on this assignment, but the answer you write up and turn in must be your own. I will not accept duplicate or near-duplicate answers.

On Handout 11, I formulate an anti-abortion argument I call the ‘Third Anti-Abortion Argument (featuring "The Killing-the-Innocent Principle")’. Let’s assume that premise 4 of this argument is true. Recall that line 3 is a lemma, so we cannot dispute it. That leaves premises 1 and 2.

1. Which premise of the Third Anti-Abortion Argument (premise 1 or premise 2) does Thomson concede for the sake of argument? Provide textual support for your answer.

(Hint: you will find textual support in the introductory section of Thomson’s paper.)

2. Thomson gives what we can regard as an argument against premise 1 of the Third Anti-Abortion Argument, which is the Killing-the-Innocent Principle. Present, Explain, and Evaluate Thomson’s argument against the Killing-the-Innocent Principle. Be sure to include all the details of the story on which Thomson bases her argument. When you do the Evaluate step, really think about whether you believe the argument is sound.

(Hints: you will find this argument also in the introductory section of Thomson’s paper.

Also, I recommend formulating your argument as follows:

1. If the Killing-the-Innocent Principle is true, then _____________ .
2. But it’s not the case that ____________.
3. Therefore, the Killing-the-Innocent Principle is not true.)

3. Present the details of the case Thomson invents having to do with “people-seeds”. What do you think this case is supposed to show about abortion? Explain your answer.




Homework #2   (due 10/24)

Rachels presents a variety of arguments against AUh. I list some here:

1. The Argument from Justice
2. Two Arguments from Rights
         a. The Perverted Cop
         b. The Peeping Tom
3. The Argument from Promises
4. The Too-Demanding Objection
5. The Argument from Personal Relationships

Your assignment is to:

(a) pick one of Rachels’ arguments
(b) Present, Explain, and Evaluate a valid, line-by-line version of the argument (you need to come up with the valid, line-by-line form of the argument)
(c) discuss how a utilitarian might respond to the argument (pick one of the sorts of responses Rachels discusses)
(d) say what you think of that response.

Your answer must be type-written.

Some hints:

 - Put your argument in modus tollens form, as follows:

1. If AUh is true, then _________________.
2. But it's not the case that __________________.
3. Therefore, AUh is not true.

The idea is that your argument will be identifying some implausible consequence of AUh.

 - Use a concrete example in your argument as opposed to stating the argument in very general terms.  The premises will be easier to explain this way.

Your type-written homework is due in class on Thursday, October 24.




Homework #1

On pp. 18-19 of EMP, Rachels lays out six theses of Cultural Relativism. Call the collection of these six theses “Common Cultural Relativism.” As it turns out, Common Cultural Relativism is internally inconsistent—something said in one of theses conflicts with something said in another. Write up a short paper in which you explain how Common Cultural Relativism is inconsistent.

Answer to HW#1