PHIL 1100 -- Ethics
Fall 2016
Prof. Chris Heathwood

University of Colorado Boulder


Homework Assignment #1 (due Tuesday, September 20 in class):

Listen to this radio story by Mariya Karimjee called "Whose Great Idea Was This?" (advance to 9:10 for the story).  Warning: it is (to me at least) an intense and disturbing story, and also talks about sex and related things.  The story lasts about 32 minutes.

As you are listening, pay attention to your moral reactions to the story.  Identify one that seems to be incompatible with cultural relativism as we stated it in class (i.e., CR).  So you'll be looking for an ethical judgment (one involving the notion or right or wrong) that is about the story, that seems true to you, but that CR would imply is not true.  (If you didn't have any moral judgments about the story that fit this description, then come up with one that you think would be happen in some people.)

(a) Write out a little argument against CR based on your reaction.  It will probably be in one of these forms:

P1. __________________ .
P2. If __________________, the CR is false.
C. Therefore, CR is false.

P1. If CR is true, then __________________ .
P2. But it's not the case that ________________ .
C. Therefore, CR is not true.

In the case of the first argument form, your judgment would go in the blank.  In the case of the second argument form, your judgment would be the whole of P2.

(b) Give the rationale for the premise that mentions CR.  (So that would be P1 in the first argument form above, and P2 in the second.)  The rationale for a premise is the reason that it is supposed to be true, or an explanation of why it is true.

So the assignment that you turn in needs to consist of this one three-line argument, and then a paragraph give the rationale for one of its premises.

By the way, the radio story above is based on a different radio story or podcast.  You find that one here:  This version of the story is a little longer and a little more explicit about sex stuff.