PHIL 1100 - Ethics
Study Guide for Exam #1
For Exam #1, you are responsible for four main topics:
- what ethics is
- religious approaches to ethics (DCT, the Euthyphro Problem)
- sociological approaches to ethics (CR, arguments for and against CR).
You are responsible for seven readings:
- Shafer-Landau, “Introduction”
- Rachels, “What is Morality?”
- Mortimer, “Morality is Based on God’s Commands”
- Plato, from Euthyphro
- Benedict, “A Defense of Ethical Relativism”
- Rachels, “The Challenge of Cultural Relativism”
- Lewis, from Mere Christianity.
The first part of the exam will contain multiple-choice/true-false/very-short-answer questions. The second part of the exam will contain short-answer questions similar to the Study Questions below.
To prepare for the exam, re-read any readings you found challenging, study your notes, study the lecture slides, and, most importantly, write out your answers to the questions below, as if it were the exam. Do this before your the review session in lecture, so that you will know what questions you need to ask.
- (a) What are the three main areas of normative ethics? Name a question that is asked in each area.
(b) What is the fundamental project of the Normative Ethics of Behavior?
(c) Give an example of a theory in the Normative Ethics of Behavior. Give an example of a moral principle in the Normative Ethics of Behavior that is not a theory (i.e., not a “fully general” principle).
- (a) What is an argument? What does it mean to say that an argument is valid? What does it mean to say that an argument is sound?
(b) Can a sound argument have a false conclusion? If so, invent an example of an obviously sound argument with an obviously false conclusion. It not, explain why not.
(c) Can an argument in which every line is false be valid? If so, invent an example of an obviously valid argument in which every line is obviously false. It not, explain why not.
(d) Suppose we have an argument with a certain conclusion. If you say that that argument is unsound, are you thereby saying that you think the conclusion is false? (In other words, if an argument for a conclusion is unsound, does this show that the conclusion is false?) Explain your answer.
- (a) State 10C (the theory based on the Ten Commandments).
(b) Give your own counterexample against 10C, based on your own imaginary case. Describe your imaginary case in detail, and then represent your argument against 10C in the form of an argument like this:
P1. If 10C is true, then ______________________ .
P2. But it’s not the case that _____________________ .
C. Therefore, 10C is not true.
- (a) State DCT (the Divine Command Theory). Illustrate the theory with an example.
(b) Does believing in the Divine Command Theory logically require believing in God? If so, explain why. If not, explain what follows from the combination of DCT and atheism.
(c) Explain The Euthyphro Problem for DCT. (You can either present and explain the line-by-line version of the argument we had on a slide, or you can explain the problem less formally. Whatever you do, your answer should include the following elements: Socrates’s Question; an explanation of both possible answers, or “horns”; a detailed explanation of one of the allegedly implausible implications of “Horn 1”; an explanation of why “Horn 2” is allegedly not an acceptable option for a Divine Command Theorist.)
(d) Evaluate the Euthyphro Problem. Do you think Plato’s objection successfully undermines any attempt to base morality on God’s commands? Or do you think that Plato’s objection fails? Explain.
- (a) State CR (Cultural Relativism). Illustrate the theory with an example.
(b) Does CR imply that everyone should be more tolerant of the practices of other cultures? Explain your answer.
(c) Present the Cultural Differences Argument in favor of CR, give the rationale for P1, and then say what you think of P2.
(NOTE: When I ask you to “present” an argument, I am asking you simply to write down the premises and conclusion, in valid form. When I ask you to “give the rationale” for a premise, I am asking you to give the reason the premise is supposed to be true -- the reason that a proponent of the argument would give for thinking that the premise is true.)
(d) Present the Reformer’s Dilemma argument against CR, define the technical term, and give the rationale for each of the premises.
(e) Evaluate the
Reformer’s Dilemma argument against CR. That is, say whether you think it's a sound argument, and why or why not.