for Final Exam
(note: removed One
Liners on cloning (#'s 25-27);
you're no longer responsible for any cloning material for the final)
The final exam will take place on Thursday, May 20 at 8:00 a.m. in HASA
126. You will be required to write one essay, which will be taken
from Section One of this study guide. I will put two of the essays below
on the exam, but you won't know in advance which two. You will be able
to choose which one of the two to answer. The remainder of the exam will
consist of a subset of the questions from Section Two. On the actual final,
each section will be worth half of the grade for the exam.
The final is open-note
and open-book. So the best way to prepare for the exam is to take this study
guide as if it were a take-home exam. Refine each essay (or at least three out
of the four) until you are satisfied with it. Research the questions from Section
Two until you are confident in your answers to them. Then just bring in the
fruits of your labor to class on exam day. While I encourage you to study with
your classmates, the notes you bring in must be your own. The submission
of duplicate or near-duplicate answers will be considered cheating.
The exam will be a bluebook
exam. Bring a blue- or black-ink pen for the exam -- no red pen, no pencil.
I think we have the room for two hours, so you should have no trouble finishing
the exam. See the syllabus for some remarks
about what I look for in your writing.
Before proceeding, please
read this note on Presenting, Explaining, and Evaluating arguments.
For each numbered item
below, write an essay that addresses each of the lettered sub-items. I have
set up the essay questions in this way (viz., with lettered sub-items) because
I have found that, if I don't, students tend to skip some parts of the question.
To be sure you address each part of each question, and to make it clear in what
part of your essay you are doing so, you may even write the letters ('(a)',
'(b)', '(c)', etc.) directly in your essay, if you wish.
- (a) Present Gay-Williams's "Argument
(b) Explain this argument. (That is, give the rationale for each premise
of the argument (even if you don't accept them). One of the premises
is a moral principle. When explaining that premise, state and explain
the general ethical theory the principle is based upon.)
(c) Evaluate the argument. If you think the argument is sound, then
present what you consider to be the best objection to the argument
and explain why you think the objection ultimately fails.
- (a) Present The No-Moral-Difference
Argument for Voluntary Active Euthanasia (inspired by Rachels).
(b) Explain this argument. (Hint: explaining one of the premises will
require describing a case involving a potential
candidate for euthanasia. Explaining the other premise will require,
among many other things, a presentation of one of the central thought experiments
of Rachels's paper.)
(c) Evaluate the argument.
- (a) What is the Survival Lottery?
Describe the details of the system. Explain the main alleged benefit
of instituting the Survival Lottery.
In "The Survival Lottery," Harris discusses a "playing God"
objection to instituting the survival lottery (or to killing person A in order
to save persons Y, Z, R, and S). The simplest way to present the argument
is as follows:
1. To kill A in order to save Y, Z, R, and S is to play God.
2. It always morally wrong to play God.
3. Therefore, it is morally wrong to kill A in order to save Y, Z, R, and
(b) Explain the argument. In order to do this, you will first need to
say what is meant in the argument by 'play God'. But don't give your
own interpretation; instead give the interpretation that is suggested by Harris's
(c) Under the interpretation of 'play God' that Harris's text suggests, the
argument is obviously unsound. Identify the false premise and explain
why it is obviously false.
(d) What do you think of the Survival Lottery? Supposing the system
could be implemented as designed, free from abuse, do you think it should
be implemented? Why or why not?
- In class we discussed two
of Singer's arguments against animal experimentation. I called one 'An Argument
Against Animal Experimentation' and I called the other 'A New Argument Against
(a) Present one of these two arguments (as I formulated it in class).
(b) Explain that argument. (When explaining the argument, you need to provide
the rationales only for the premises. Although the argument in question
has five lines, only three of them are premises.)
(c) Evaluate the argument. If you think the argument is sound, then present
the objection to the argument that we discussed in class (and that Singer's
considers). When doing so, present the theory of moral standing that supports
the objection. Say why you think the objection fails.
- One Liners
The "blanks" in the fill-in-the-blank questions may correspond
to more than one word.
- The distinction between ________
euthanasia and ________ euthanasia corresponds, respectively, to
the distinction between killing and letting die.
- True or False?: By 'euthanasia',
Gay-Williams means what we mean by 'active euthanasia'.
- True or False?: In the passage
we studied, Aquinas gives a "playing God argument" against suicide.
- Sum up Natural Law Theory in a
slogan (as we used the term 'Natural Law Theory' in class).
- According to your instructor,
what does it mean for an act to be in a person's "best interest"?
- According to hedonism, one life
is better for the person who lives it than another if and only if _______
- True or False?: If hedonism is
true, then it is impossible for an act of suicide to be in a person's best
- True or False?: Like Rachels,
Gay-Williams appears to be very suspicious of "slippery slope" arguments.
- Gay-Williams contends that the
legalization of active euthanasia would lead to "an overall decline in
the quality of medical care." Does Brock consider this potential consequence
of legalizing VAE?
- True or False?: The American Medical
Association's position is that passive euthanasia is morally permissible but
active euthanasia is morally wrong.
- Rachels's cases of Smith and Jones
is supposed to establish that there is no morally relevant difference between
________ and ________ .
- True or False?: In Rachels's view,
most actual cases of killing are more reprehensible that most actual cases
of letting die.
- Would a utilitarian accept the
idea that the killing-letting die distinction is morally relevant?
- Brock considers two kinds of argument
against active euthanasia. He writes that "The first kind of argument
is that in any individual case where considerations of the patient's self-determination
and well-being do support euthanasia, it is nevertheless always ethically
wrong or impermissible." Give a concrete example of this first kind of
argument (you may write out the argument or you may refer to it by name if
it is one with which we are all familiar).
- True or False?: Brock advocates
weakening the general legal prohibition against homicide.
- True or False?: Brock maintains
that although VAE should be legalized, doctors should not be the ones performing
- Instituting the Survival Lottery
seems to be analogous in many ways to flipping the switch in the Case of the
Runaway Trolley. What in the former corresponds to the trolley? What
corresponds to the five people on the track? What corresponds to the one person
on the alternative track?
- True or False?: Harris acknowledges
that those who are in some way responsible for the fact that their organs
have failed should not be entitled to receive new organs in the Survival Lottery.
- True or False?: According to Harris,
the most serious objection to instituting the Survival Lottery comes from
the sixth commandment.
- Although Singer's paper is called
"All Animals Are Equal," he really means to be talking about only
- What does it mean to say that
a thing has "moral standing"?
- True or False?: The fact that
the owner of some car would be justifiably upset by having her car destroyed
shows that that car has moral standing.
- What, according to Singer, is
- True or False?: Cohen maintains
that we have no obligations to animals.