Philosophy 1200 - Philosophy and Society
Study Guide for Exam #2
Exam #2 will take place on Thursday, October 30 in class. Bring a bluebook. Also bring (and write your exam in) blue or black ink -- no red ink, no pencil. Exam #2 will be a closed-note and closed-book exam.
What You're Responsible For. The questions will be short-answer-type questions. The study questions below will give you an idea of the sort of questions you can expect. You are responsible for the following topics:
- affirmative action
You are responsible for the related readings from our Readings page.
How to Prepare:
- Re-read the readings.
- Study your notes from class. For any days you missed, be sure to get the notes from a classmate.
- Write out answers to each of the study questions below.
- Come prepared with questions on Review Day, which will be Tuesday, September 30.
- Come see me in office hours (or make an appointment to see me at some other time) to clear up any lingering confusions.
Let me emphasize the importance of actually writing out answers to these questions. We often think we understand something -- until we try to put it in writing. Only then do we realize we don't really understand it. If you don't write out your answers, you won't know what you don't know.
- Ericsson considers the sentimentalist argument against prostitution based on the idea that loving sex is much, much better than mercenary sex. Explain why he thinks this argument fails. Be sure to give an example (either your own, or one that Ericsson gives) that illustrates this.
- Ericsson considers an argument against prostitution like the following:
P1. Our most basic needs should be free.
P2. Sex is one of our most basic needs.
C1. Therefore, sex should be free.
P3. If something should be free, then it’s wrong to sell it.
C2. Therefore, it’s wrong to sell sex.
Suppose P1 means this: "In an ideal world, our most basic needs would be free." Explain why Ericsson thinks this argument fails. Be sure to give an example (either your own, or one that Ericsson gives) that illustrates this.
- Here is one interpretation of the paternalist argument against prostitution:
P1. Prostitution is a dangerous job.
P2. Dangerous jobs should be outlawed.
C. Therefore, prostitution should be outlawed.
Explain why Ericsson thinks this argument fails. Be sure to give an example (either your own, or one that Ericsson gives) that illustrates this.
- Suppose P2 in the argument from the previous question is revised to avoid Ericsson's objection as follows: "Dangerous jobs that are of no social value should be outlawed." Explain why this new argument avoids the objection from previous question. Then explain why Ericsson thinks this new argument fails.
- What is the Argument from Analogy for the Permissibility of Prostitution that we discussed in class?
- Evaluate the following objection to the argument from the previous question: people pay for massages for therapeutic reasons, but people pay for sex just to get pleasure; thus paying for a massage and paying for sex are not morally on a par. (When I ask you to evaluate an objection, I am asking you to say whether you think it is a good objection, and to back this up with reasons. I.e., if you think it is good, explain why, and if you think it is no good, explain why it fails. Although I am asking for your own opinion here, that doesn't mean that "anything goes." Your answer should still be clear, well-defended, and not open to obvious problems.)
- Consider the following objection to the Argument from Analogy for the Permissibility of Prostitution: having sex for money is risky, while giving a massage for money is not. How would Ericsson respond to this objection?
- Evaluate the following objection to the Argument from Analogy for the Permissibility of Prostitution: paying for sex involves sex, but paying for a massage does not.
- Be prepared to introduce your own allegedly morally relevant difference that bears on the Argument from Analogy for the Permissibility of Prostitution, and then to evaluate this objection.
- In discussing the feminist charge, Ericsson acknowledges that prostitution as currently practiced may involve some gender inequality. What, according to Ericsson, is the proper response to such inequality? Explain.
- State, either in your own words or her own words, what you take to be Shrage's main reason for opposing prostitution. What do you think of this objection to prostitution?
- Do you think buying or selling sex for money is objectionable? Explain your view, addressing any relevant objections.
- Explain the difference between weak and strong affirmative action (as Boonin uses these terms). Which is the more controversial one?
- What does the "'pro' camp" believe about (strong) affirmative action, and what does the "'anti' camp" believe about it. What is Boonin's view about it?
- Boonin cites six features that race-based affirmative action has in common with geography based "affirmative action" (three of which are often discussed by pro-affirmative-action people and three of which are often discussed by anti-affirmative-action people). What are they?
- Explain the argument using an analogy about people running a race that's supposed to show that race-based affirmative action is required as a matter of fairness.
- State the "unfair disadvantage argument" in a line-by-line format (with two premises and a conclusion). Which of these premises does Boonin accept?
- Present Boonin's objection to the unfair disadvantage argument.
- One objection to "the appeal to diversity" in favor of affirmative action claims that this argument for affirmative action mistakenly assumes that people of the same race all think alike. Do you think this is a good objection? Evaluate it (bringing in Boonin's thoughts on it, if you wish).
- Explain Boonin's objection to the argument from diversity (understood as an argument for the claim that affirmative action is obligatory).
- How does Boonin understand the right to be judged on one's individual merits?
- Explain one of Boonin's objections to the anti-affirmative-action argument that is based upon this alleged right.
- What is the strong version of the right to equal treatment? Does Boonin think affirmative action violates this right, assuming there is such a right? Explain.
- Explain one of Boonin's objection to the anti-affirmative-action argument that is based upon this alleged right.
- In the end, how does Boonin think a university or an employer should answer the question, "Should we practice race-based affirmative action?"
- Explain why capitalists might not be so bothered by inequality in income.
- Explain the ideal of capitalism Haslett calls "distribution according to productivity." Contrast this with the corresponding socialist ideal. Then explain why Haslett thinks the practice of inheritance conflicts with this ideal.
- Explain the ideal of capitalism Haslett calls "equality of opportunity." In your discussion, explain how this differs from the ideal of "equality of outcome," and why capitalists prefer the former ideal to the latter. Finally, explain why Haslett thinks the practice of inheritance conflicts with this ideal.
- Explain the diminishing marginal utility of wealth and the role this plays in Haslett's defense of the idea that abolishing inheritance would better respect the capitalist ideal of freedom (in the broad sense).
- Summarize in your own words Haslett's argument for abolishing inheritance.
- Explain Haslett's reply to the objection that inheritance should not be abolished because inheritance rights are entailed by property rights.
- Explain Haslett's reply to the objection that we should not abolish inheritance because if we do, people won't work as hard (and this would diminish productivity, which is bad for the economy). What do you think of this reply?