Philosophy 1200 - Philosophy and Society
Study Guide for Exam #3
Exam #3 will take place on Thursday, December 4 in class. Bring a bluebook. Also bring (and write your exam in) blue or black ink -- no red ink, no pencil. Exam #3 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:
- famine relief
- organ selling
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, December 2.
- 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.
- Give some disturbing facts about world poverty, and cite the source. (Class lecture is an acceptable source.)
- State our interpretation of Singer's main argument in line-by-line form (as we stated it in class).
- How would you justify the first premise of this argument?
- Explain how one might attempt to justify the main moral principle that appears in Singer's argument (the strong version of Singer's principle) via "inference to the best explanation."
- Give the rationale for the third premise of our interpretation of Singer's main argument.
- State the Singerian Argument by Analogy (involving the case of the shallow pond) in line-by-line format. This will require describing fully the details of the shallow pond case.
- Get across to us the radicalness of the conclusions of these arguments. Why would Singer think it shows that "the way of life that has come to be taken for granted in our society ... needs to be altered."
- One reply to the argument by analogy is that failing to give more money to famine relief is not morally on a par with failing to save the child in Shallow Pond, because there is a morally relevant difference between them -- namely, proximity: in Shallow Pond you are physically close to the child, but with famine relief you are not physically close, and this explains why you are obligated to assist in Shallow Pond, but not with famine relief.
Rebut this reply by constructing a pair of cases designed to show that distance is in fact not a morally relevant factor. (Hint: to do this, invent two cases such that (i) the only difference between them is the physical distance between the agent and the person needing assistance, and (ii) intuitively, this doesn't affect the agent's obligation to assist.)
- Another reply to the argument by analogy is that failing to give more money to famine relief is not morally on a par with failing to save the child in Shallow Pond, because there is a morally relevant difference between them -- namely, whether others are around to help as well: in Shallow Pond you are the only one who can assist the child, but with famine relief you are not the only one who can help, and this explains why you are obligated to assist in Shallow Pond, but not with famine relief.
Rebut this reply by describing a variant of Shallow Pond designed to show that this factor seems not to be a morally relevant factor.
- Explain Arthur's putative counterexample to the Strong Version of Singer's Principle involving kidney donation. Be sure to make it totally clear why this case seems to show that Singer's principle is false.
- State the weaker version of Singer's principle, and explain how it differs from the Strong Version. In your view, does Arthur's kidney donation example undermine this principle as well? Explain.
- Explain the difference (as discussed by Arthur) between positive rights and negative rights.
- Does Arthur maintain that an act can be wrong only if it violates someone's rights? Explain.
- What, according to Slote, is the morally relevant difference between failing to give more money to famine relief and failing to save the child in Shallow Pond.
- It might be true that our capacity for empathy, when it is normally developed, leads us to have greater empathy concerning the suffering of those of the same race as us, and less empathy concerning the suffering of those of other races. Explain as clear as you can how, if true, this fact would appear to be a problem for Slote's moral theory.
- State's Kant's Formula of Humanity. It can be in your own words if you want. Describe a case to which Kant's principle applies and gives a plausible verdict.
- Describe the case we called 'Trolley' and then the case we called 'Bridge'.
- Most people think that while it's ok to kill the 1 to save the 5 in Trolley, it's wrong to kill the 1 to save the 5 in Bridge. Describe a difference between the cases that someone might think explains this apparent moral difference between them, but that you think is not a morally relevant difference. Then explain why you don't think it's a morally relevant difference.
- Explain how an advocate of Kant's Formula of Humanity would explain why it's ok to kill the 1 to save the 5 in Trolley, but wrong wrong to kill the 1 to save the 5 in Bridge.
- Explain how the permissibility of organ donation poses a problem for the idea that it's wrong to sell one's organs because to do so is to treat oneself merely as a means.
- Chadwick's main objection to the selling of body parts seems to be that doing so would have some undesirable consequences. List three such consequences. What do you think of Chadwick's objection?
- What is what we called 'Nelson's Quest'?
- Give an example to illustrate the idea that Kant's Formula of Humanity doesn't plausibly apply to parts of persons.
- Nelson writes, "If something should be distributed on the basis of desert alone, it should not be sold, but it should not be given away ... either." Explain why this thought seems to show that it is false that organs should be distributed on the basis of desert alone (and so not on the basis of money).
- Give an example that illustrates how being coerced can make it appear that one has consented to something when in fact one hasn't.
- Explain how it might be impossible for a person to give his or her genuine consent to selling his or her own organ.
- What would Dworkin say to the objection to organ selling based on this idea (the idea that it might be impossible for a person to give his or her genuine consent to selling his or her own organ)? What do you think of it?
- Explain the difference between therapeutic and reproductive human cloning.
- Describe a situation in which someone's reason for wanting to engage in reproductive human cloning seems respectable. Describe another situation in which someone's reason for wanting to engage in reproductive human cloning seems questionable.
- State the Playing God Argument against reproductive human cloning. Give one possible interpretation of the phrase 'playing God'. Then, if you think the argument is a weak argument given this interpretation of it, show why the argument is weak. On the other hand, if you think the argument is a strong argument given this interpretation of it, introduce and then rebut a possible objection to it.
- Here is one way to interpret Kass's "manufacturing babies" argument against reproductive human cloning:
P1. It is wrong to do things that partly determine what features your child will have.
P2. If it is wrong to do things that partly determine what features your child will have, then reproductive human cloning is wrong.
C. Therefore, reproductive human cloning is wrong.
First, explain the rationale behind P2 (i.e., the reason for thinking it is true). Next, explain the rationale Kass would give for P1.
- Present, and then evaluate, one of Elliott's attempted counterexamples to a claim like P1 above.
- Explain one of Kass' objections to cloning that Hershenov's proposal is supposed to avoid, and explain how the proposal is supposed to avoid it.
- State the Argument from Harm against Cloning, as we presented it in class. In doing so, explain two specific ways in which cloning might be physically harmful to the clone, and two specific ways in which it might be psychologically harmful to the clone.
- What is the principle we called "A Principle of Non-Maleficence." What does 'prima facie wrong' mean in it, and why it is included in the principle? Does this principle imply that it would be wrong to flip the switch in Trolley? Explain.
- Explain the account of harm that we discussed in class. Illustrate this account by means of an example.
- Suppose human reproductive cloning is available, though the technology has not been perfected -- clones typically have heart and lung problems, and shorter life spans. Suppose a woman cannot produce viable eggs, and so she and her husband decide to have a child by cloning her husband and implanting the resulting embryo in her uterus. Suppose, as predicted, their child has heart and lung problems throughout his life, and has a shorter life span, dying at the age of 35. Suppose that nonetheless child still has a life worth living. Kass would object to the parents' engaging in human reproductive cloning on the grounds that it was very harmful to their child. Explain in detail why it is not so clear that their act was in fact harmful to their child. (Doing so will require you to apply the account of harm from the previous question to this case.) Next, evaluate this objection to the Argument from Harm.
- Which, if any, of the psychological harms that Kass thinks would likely befall a clone apply to the sort of cloning that Hershenov thinks is permissible.
- Now that we've discussed a bunch of possible objections to human cloning, what do you think of human cloning. Would it be ok to allow it to happen? Why or why not?