PHIL 1100 -- Ethics
Prof. Chris Heathwood
T.A. Alex Wolf-Root
University of Colorado Boulder
Study Guide for Final Exam
The final exam will come in two parts and will take place over two class periods. The first part will consist of very-short-answer questions (multiple-choice, true/false, fill-in-the-blank questions, and the like). The second part will consist of short-answer questions (questions that can usually be answered in a sentence to a paragraph). Those will be similar to the sorts of questions below. Both parts are in-class, closed-note, and closed-reading exams. For the second part, you'll need to bring a bluebook.
For the final, you are responsible for seven main topics:
- Kant's Categorical Imperative
- Rossian Pluralism
- The Doctrine of Double Effect, the Doctrine of Doing and Allowing, and the Trolley Problem
- Marquis on Abortion
- Thomson on Abortion
- Slave Reparations.
You are responsible for fourteen readings:
- Kant, excerpts from Groundwork for the Metaphysic of Morals (1785)
- Kant, excerpts from a "comtemporized" edition the Groundwork
- Feldman, "Kant" (1978)
- Ross, parts of "What Makes Right Acts Right?" (1930)
- Foot, "Abortion and the Doctrine of Double Effect" (1967)
- Thomson, parts of "Killing, Letting Die, & the Trolley Problem" (1976)
- Norcross, parts of "Puppies, Pigs, and People" (2004)
- Boonin and Oddie, "Arguments from Analogy" (2005)
- Marquis, "Why Abortion is Immoral" (1989)
- Paske, "Abortion and the Neo-Natal Right to Life" (1998)
- Thomson, "A Defense of Abortion" (1971)
- Lyons, from "Corrective Justice, Equal Opportunity, and the Legacy of Slavery and Jim Crow" (2004)
- Robinson, "America's Debt to Blacks" (2000)
- Horowitz, "Ten Reasons Why Reparations for Blacks is a Bad Idea for Blacks -- and Racist Too" (2001)
Being responsible for the readings includes being responsible for the Reading Questions. Some reading questions might even appear on the exam.
And you are responsible for everything we did in lecture, including what we talked about and what's on the slides. The slides are available on the course schedule on the syllabus.
To prepare for the exam, re-read any readings that you found challenging, re-take the reading quizzes, 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 the review sessions, so that you will know what questions you need to ask.
In some questions below, I ask you to "Present, Explain, and Evaluate" some argument. I am asking for something very specific. To know what that is, see this document: Presenting, Explaining, and Evaluating Arguments.
- (a) State Kant's Categorical Imperative (KCI), defining any technical terms. Explain the basic idea of the theory in your own words.
(b) Give an example involving an act that is intuitively morally right and that KCI implies is morally right. Explain thoroughly why KCI implies this.
(c) Give two examples involving an act that is intuitively morally wrong and that KCI implies is morally wrong. Make one of these examples correspond to one of the ways in which an act can be wrong on KCI ("contradiction in conception"), and make the other example correspond to the other way in which an act can be wrong on KCI ("contradiction in will"). In each case, explain thoroughly why KCI implies that the act is wrong.
(d) Present, Explain, and Evaluate the Argument from Innocent-But-Non-Universalizable Maxims against KCI.
- (a) Define 'prima facie duty'. Illustrate the idea by means of an example.
(b) Present Ross's list of seven basic prima facie duties. For each duty, say in a sentence what the duty is.
(c) State Rossian Pluralism (RP). Explain the basic idea of the theory in your own words.
(d) Present, Explain, and Evaluate Ross' Argument from Promises against Utilitarianism.
- (a) State the Doctrine of Double Effect (DDE).
(b) Explain the cases Magistrate and Driver. Illustrate the DDE by showing how it is supposed to explain why it's wrong for the magistrate, but right for the driver, to kill one so as to save five.
(c) State the Doctrine of Doing and Allowing (DDA). (You can state it either as Foot does or in the other way we did it in class.)
(d) Illustrate the DDA by showing how it is supposed to explain why it's wrong for the magistrate, but right for the driver, to kill one so as to save five.
(e) Explain the cases Switch and Footbridge. Then state "the Trolley Problem."
(f) Explain why the DDA apparently cannot solve the Trolley Problem.
- (a) Present, in line-by-line format, Norcross' Argument for Vegetarianism. (No need to give rationales for the premises.)
(b) According to one objection to Norcross' Argument, purchasing and consuming factory-raised meat is not morally on a par with Fred's behavior because whereas Fred directly harms his puppies, purchasers of factor-raised meat do not directly harm the farm animals. Describe a variant of the Fred case that suggests that this objection fails, and explain why it suggests this.
(c) According to another objection to Norcross' Argument, purchasing and consuming factory-raised meat is not morally on a par with Fred's behavior because whereas Fred doesn't need to eat chocolate to be healthy, we need to eat meat in order to be healthy. We presented a reply to this objection in class. What was it?
In a popular comment, a New York Times reader wrote, "The bottom line is this: People have been consuming animals since people have existed." There is an argument for the permissibility of eating meat lurking here. Extract, Explain, and Evaluate that argument. (Extracting, Explaining, and Evaluating is just like Presenting, Explaining, and Evaluating an argument except that you yourself need to come up with the line-by-line statement of the argument for the first step.)
- (a) Present and explain Marquis' main argument. This will require identifying his main thesis, identifying his theory of the wrongness of killing, and explaining how that works (including explaining what is meant by 'future like ours').
(b) Why, according to Marquis' theory of the wrongness of killing, would it be wrong for me to kill you?
(c) (i) Explain the "Failure to Conceive" Objection to Marquis' argument against abortion. (ii) Explain why it fails.
(d) What is Paske's personhood account of the wrongness of killing? Be sure to explain what is meant by 'person' (you can use our definition from class), and to give helpful examples of persons and non-persons.
(e) Why, according to Paske's theory of the wrongness of killing, would it be wrong for me to kill you?
(f) What does Paske's personhood account of the wrongness of killing imply about abortion, and why?
(g) Present, Explain, and Evaluate Paske's "Cat Person" Argument Against Marquis' FLO Theory.
- (a) (i) Present and Explain the Standard Anti-Abortion Argument as we formulated it in lecture. (ii) Which premise of this argument do most defenders of abortion try to attack? (iii) Which premise does Thomson call into question? (iv) How does she call it into question?
(b) Present Thomson’s Positive Argument for the permissibility of abortion.
(c) (i) According to the Responsibility Objection to Thomson’s Positive Argument, what is the morally relevant difference between a typical unwanted pregnancy and Famous Violinist that is supposed to undermine P2 of Thomson’s Positive Argument. (ii) Present a case that suggests that this difference is indeed a morally relevant difference. (iii) Evaluate this objection to Thomson’s argument.
- (a) What is the Compensation Principle? And what principle that we already studied in our course does this most resemble?
What is "the Historical Claim," as presented in Prof. Boonin's slave reparations lecture.
(c) What follows from these two claims (the Compensation Principle and the Historical Claim)?
How would or might Robinson bridge the gap from the answer to (c) to his desired conclusion -- namely, that present-day Americans owe reparations to present-day African-Americans. (Hint: this requires two distinct steps, one of which is an empirical claim and the other of which is a moral principle.)