Philosophy 1200 - Philosophy and Society
Study Guide for Final Exam
The final exam will take place on Tuesday, May 8th, 7:30am - 10:00am. You must bring (and write your exam in) blue or black ink. No red ink, no pencil.
Make-Ups. If you cannot take the exam at the scheduled time, and you think you have a legitimate excuse for missing it (e.g., you become seriously ill, you have a death in your family), and you can provide documentation to support your story, you may be permitted to take a make-up exam. To seek permission, contact our Make-Up Exam Officer, Tom Metcalf, at Thomas.Metcalf@Colorado.edu. You will be permitted to take a make-up version of the final only if Tom accepts your excuse. If your excuse is not accepted and you do not take the final at the regular time, you will receive a zero. (This happened to about five students on the midterm.)
What You're Responsible For. The questions will be very short answer-type questions, similar to those that were on the midterm (though there will be more of them, probably somewhere between 20 and 25 questions). The study questions below give you an idea of the sort of questions you can expect. The exam is cumulative, so you are responsible for the topics from the midterm (see the midterm study guide for these). In addition, you are responsible for the following topics:
- same-sex marriage
- affirmative action
- surrogate motherhood
- marketing organs
- famine relief
Note: you are no longer responsible for punishment.
In addition to the readings from the midterm, you are responsible for the following readings:
Each reading is in our book.
Extra Credit. The philosopher Shelly Kagan will be giving an evening lecture on the ethics of cloning on Tuesday, May 1 at 7:00 p.m. in HUMN 1B50. You should attend, not just because it will be really interesting, but also because there be an extra-credit question on the final that will be really easy to answer if you attend, and impossible to answer if you don't.
How to Prepare. To prepare for this exam, review your notes from lectures, re-read the readings, and, most importantly, write out answers to the study questions below, as well as to the questions from the midterm study guide.
Same-Sex Marriage (Week 9)
- Some think same-sex marriage should not be recognized by the state because they think homosexual acts are morally wrong, and some think homosexual acts are wrong for the reasons embodied in the following argument:
1. Homosexual acts are unnatural.
2. Unnatural acts are wrong.
3. Therefore, homosexual acts are wrong.
Offer two interpretations of the term 'unnatural', and then, for each interpretation, briefly evaluate the resulting argument.
- Give an example of a consequentialist argument against same-sex marriage.
- What does Jordan mean by 'public dilemma'. Give a examples of (i) a public dilemma, and (ii) an issue about which there is not a public dilemma.
- Explain the distinction between a resolution by declaration and a resolution by accommodation. Give a real-life example of each.
- Explain why Jordan thinks that, for public dilemmas, there should be a presumption in favor of a resolution by accommodation rather than a resolution by declaration.
- State the main principle Jordan appeals to in his argument for the view that the state should refuse to sanction same-sex marriage.
- Give an example of a case about which there seems to be an overriding reason to prefer resolution by declaration.
- Explain why Boonin thinks the following claim is false: "It is possible for the state to resolve the public dilemma over same-sex marriage by accommodation if it refuses to sanction same-sex marriage but permits private homosexual acts between consenting adults."
- Explain why Boonin thinks the following claim is false: "It is possible for the state to resolve the public dilemma over same-sex sex by accommodation if it refuses to sanction same-sex marriage but permits private homosexual acts between consenting adults."
- In response to Boonin's objection that Jordan's principle would prohibit interracial marriage if there were a public dilemma about that, Jordan replies that this doesn't matter, because there in fact is no public dilemma about interracial marriage. Explain Boonin's two rejoinders to this reply.
Affirmative Action (Week 10)
- Give an example of a forward-looking justification of affirmative action and an example of a backward-looking justification of affirmative action.
- What is Thomson's thesis about affirmative action? Be sure to distinguish it from a thesis with which it might be confused.
- What institution is Thomson's argument mainly directed towards?
- Explain one reason Thomson rejects the argument for preferential hiring for university jobs based on the idea that race or sex is itself a qualification.
- What principle is the "giving away apples" example supposed to illustrate?
- Explain why, according to Thomson, it's harder to justify preferential hiring for public university jobs than for private university jobs.
- What principle is the "only one available table at the dining club " example (the first such one Thomson discusses) supposed to illustrate?
- True or False: According to Thomson, an equally qualified white male applicant has a right to the same chance at a public university teaching job that a woman or a member of a racial minority does.
- Explain four conditions under which, according to Thomson, a right can be overridden.
- Thomson holds that no one's right to an equal chance of a benefit is violated when women and minorities are given preference in hiring over white males for public university teaching positions. Explain how she would justify this using the analogy of Dickenson and the dining club.
- Simon objects that Thomson's view unfairly requires just one group of people -- white men looking for a job -- to make amends for the wrongs of the whole community. Explain one of Thomson's replies to this objection.
Surrogate Motherhood (Week 11)
- What is a mode of valuation? Name three modes of valuation?
- Define 'parental love'.
- According to Anderson, what is a commodity?
- State Anderson's arguments against the commodification of children and the commodification of women's labor (in premise form).
- According to Anderson, what norms should govern our behavior toward children? What about towards women?
- According to Arneson, should we allow surrogate mothers to reject the surrogate contract if they desire to keep the baby upon its birth? Explain.
- According to Arneson, is surrogacy much different from any other labor contract? Explain.
Marketing Organs (Week 12)
- State's Kant's "mere means" principle in your own words. Describe a case to which Kant's principle applies and seems to give a plausible verdict.
- 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.
- According to Chadwick, is the sale of organs morally permissible? Briefly explain her (consequentialist) argument for her view here.
- What two things does Nelson assume in considering whether it's wrong to sell organs?
- According to Nelson, does the fact that organ sale may be exploitative render it morally impermissible?
- Give an example to illustrate the idea that Kant's mere means principle 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 willy-nilly, either." Explain why this thought seems to show that it is false that organs should be distributed on the basis of desert alone.
- 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.
Famine Relief (Week 13)
- State Singer's main argument in line-by-line form (as we stated it in class).
- Explain how one might attempt to justify the main moral principle that appears in Singer's argument (the one we call Singer's Strong Principle).
- State the argument by analogy (involving the case of the shallow pond) in line-by-line format.
- 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, distance. 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 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 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. Be sure to explain why the case is supposed to do this.
- Explain Arthur's apparent counterexample to Singer's Strong 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. 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.
- 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.
Cloning (Week 14)
- 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 refute the Playing God Argument that uses this interpretation.
- 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.
- Explain one specific way in which cloning might be physically harmful to the clone, and one specific way in which it might be psychologically harmful to the clone.
- State and explain the principle we called "A Principle of Non-Maleficence." (Be sure to explain what 'prima facie wrong' means, and why it is included in the principle, and also the account of harm that is implicit in the principle.)
- Suppose human reproductive cloning is available, though the technology has not been perfected -- clones typically have heart and lung problems, and shorter lifespans. 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 embryo in her uterus. Suppose, as predicted, their child has heart and lung problems throughout his life, and has a shorter lifespan. Nonetheless, suppose the child still has a life well 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. (This involves applying the account of harm you spelled out in the previous question.)
- Describe the case of Brenda (discussed in lecture), or a case like it, and explain why, despite initial appearances, her decision not to delay conception is harmless. Explain how utilitarianism nevertheless implies that what she does is wrong. Finally, explain what utilitarianism would imply about Brenda's third option -- not having a child at all.