Philosophy 1200 - Philosophy and Society
Study Guide for Midterm
The midterm exam will take place on Wednesday, March 7 in class. The syllabus says to bring a bluebook, but this is mistaken -- you can write directly on the exam. But you must bring (and write your exam in) blue or black ink (no red ink, no pencil).
Make-Up Day. If you cannot take the exam on Wednesday, and you think you have a legitimate excuse for missing it (e.g., you become seriously ill, you are an athlete who will be out of town in connection with your duties as an athlete, 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 to do so, contact our Make-Up Exam Officer, Tom Metcalf, at Thomas.Metcalf@Colorado.edu. Make-up day is Friday, March 9, in class. If Tom accepts your excuse, you can take the exam then. If you miss the exam on Wednesday, and you don't have an acceptable excuse, you will receive a zero on the exam.
There will be no class on Friday, March 9; this is exam make-up day.
What You're Responsible For. The questions will be very short answer-type questions. the study questions below give you an idea of the sort of questions you can expect. You are responsible for the following topics:
- animal rights
- parent licensing.
You are responsible for the following readings:
Each reading is in our book, expect for those marked with an asterisk, which are on our website.
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.
Logic (Week 1)
- What is an argument?
- What is it for an argument to be valid? Give an example of a valid argument. Give an example of an invalid argument.
- What is it for an argument to be sound? Given an example of a sound argument. Give an example of an unsound argument.
- Can a sound argument have a false conclusion? If so, give an example of a sound argument with a false conclusion. If not, explain why not.
- Can an argument in which every line is false be valid? If so, give an example of a valid argument in which every line is false. If not, explain why not.
Abortion (Marquis) (Week 2)
- What is Marquis' main thesis? Explain what is meant by "prima facie."
- Explain in your own words Marquis' general strategy for arguing that abortion is wrong.
- Explain why Marquis rejects the view that killing is wrong due to the effect it has on people other than the victim.
- According to Marquis, why would it be wrong for me to kill you?
- What does Marquis mean by "future like ours"?
- Do you think Marquis' account of what makes killing wrong implies the views about the treatment of animal favored by Regan? Explain.
- True or False: Marquis' account of what makes killing wrong implies that euthanasia would be wrong. Explain your answer.
- True or False: Marquis' position on abortion implies that abortion is wrong only once the fetus becomes conscious. Explain your answer.
- What is the desire account of the wrongness of killing? What does it imply about abortion?
- Explain one of Marquis' objections to the desire account of the wrongness of killing.
- Explain the distinction between being a person in the biological sense and being a person in the psychological sense. Give an example of a thing that is a person in the biological but not the psychological sense. Give an example of a thing that is a person in the psychological but not the biological sense. Give an example of a thing that is a person in both senses. Give an example of a thing that is a person in neither sense.
- What is Paske's personhood account account of the wrongness of killing? Which concept of personhood (biological or psychological) is it employing? What does this account imply about abortion?
- Explain Paske's reason for preferring his personhood account over Marquis' future-like-ours account that has to do with killing the elderly.
- Imagine someone in a temporary coma. Presumably, it would be wrong to kill such an individual. Do you think Paske's personhood account can explain this? Explain your answer. Do you think Marquis' future-like-ours account can explain this? Explain your answer.
- Suppose a couple decides not to conceive a child. In doing so, they make it so that one fewer person with a future-like-ours exists. Does Marquis' account therefore imply that what they do is wrong? Explain.
- Explain the difference between the Bodily Theory of Personal Identity and the Psychological Theory of Personal Identity.
- If the Psychological Theory of Personal Identity is true, then when did you start existing (i.e., about how many weeks or months before or after your birth did you start existing)? What implications does this have for Marquis' position on abortion?
- If the Bodily Theory of Personal Identity is true, then when did you start existing (i.e., about how many weeks or months before or after your birth did you start existing)? What implications does this have for Marquis' position on abortion?
Abortion (Thomson) (Week 3)
- Explain in your own words the anti-abortion argument Thomson's discusses at the beginning of her paper (this is the one we called in class the "standard anti-abortion argument").
- Explain Thomson's case of the violinist and how this is supposed to undermine this standard anti-abortion argument.
- Present the argument by analogy that Thomson might give for the conclusion that it's ok for a woman to have an abortion.
- Would Thomson agree with Marquis that aborting a normal fetus is killing a human being with a future-like-ours? Explain.
- True or False: Thomson thinks that abortion is always morally permissible. Explain.
- True or False: Thomson thinks that really fantastic person (a "splendid samaritan") would not have an abortion. Explain.
- The responsibility objection to Thomson's position on abortion contends that the case of the violinist and a standard case of unwanted pregnancy are not morally on a par. What exactly is the difference between these two cases that the responsibility objection claims is morally relevant?
- Explain the hunting example we discussed in class and how this relates to the responsibility objection.
- Explain how Thomson's "people seed" example might be used to respond to the responsibility objection.
- Here's a difference between the case of the violinist and a standard case of unwanted pregnancy: in the case of the violinist, the violinist is not your child, but in a standard case of unwanted pregnancy, the fetus is the woman's child. Explain why this difference might be thought to be morally relevant, and explain the implications this has for Thomson's position on abortion.
- Beckwith discusses a case in which a man takes all reasonable precautions to avoid becoming a father, but nevertheless does become a father. What does he think this shows about Thomson's position on abortion?
Prostitution (Week 4)
- What is Ericsson's view about the morality of prostitution?
- 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 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 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 that illustrates this.
- Suppose P2 in the argument above is revised to avoid Ericsson's objection as follows: "Dangerous jobs that are of no social value should be outlawed." Explain why Ericsson thinks that an argument based on this revised principle fails.
- In one sentence, why does Pateman think prostitution is morally undesirable?
- Does Pateman's reason for thinking prostitution undesirable apply to male prostitution? Explain.
- Does Shrage's reason for thinking prostitution undesirable apply to male prostitution? Explain.
- Does Green's reason for thinking prostitution undesirable apply to male prostitution? Explain.
Animal Rights (Weeks 5-6)
- Regan's main thesis is that animals have rights. Does he mean that they have legal rights or moral rights? Explain. (Your explanation should include an explanation of the difference between legal and moral rights.)
- Briefly explain what crude contractarianism is. Why, according to crude contractarianism, would it be wrong for me to kill you?
- Explain why Regan rejects crude contractarianism.
- Briefly explain what Rawlsian Contractarianism is. Why, according to Rawlsian Contractarianism, would it be wrong for me to kill you?
- Explain why Regan rejects Rawlsian Contractarianism.
- Briefly explain what Utilitarianism is. Why, according to Utilitarianism, would it be wrong for me to kill you?
- Explain why Regan rejects Utilitarianism.
- What general theory of right and wrong does Regan accept instead?
- Rationalism (about rights) is that view that a being has rights if and only if it is rational. Explain roughly what 'rational' is supposed to mean here.
- What is Speciesism (about rights)? Does Regan have an argument against Speciesism? If so, what is it? If not, provide your own argument against it.
- Cohen defends what we called "Rationalist Speciesism." State and explain this view, including specificially what Cohen means by 'rational'. Why, according to Rationalist Speciesism, does a human infant have rights?
- Explain one of the objections to Rationalist Speciesism that we discussed in class.
- Explain Regan's view about the conditions under which a being has rights. Be sure to explain the central notion this theory employs.
- Regan's view implies that non-human animals like monkeys, pigs, cows, and chickens have the right not to be used as mere means for the benefit of others. Explain what this view implies about certain common practices in our society?
- According to Narveson, our duties to children stem overwhelmingly from what?
- True or False: Frey claims that some human lives are of less value than others.
Blackmail (Week 6)
- State Block's thesis. What is the standard case of blackmail that Block wants to defend?
- Why is it intuitive to think that blackmail is morally better than gossip?
- Block quotes George Fletcher's claim that "many good acts are corrupted by doing them for a price"; Fletcher cites prostitution as an example. What is Block's response to this example?
- True or False: In responding to the objection from coercion, Block agrees that blackmail is coercive but denies that all coercion should be illegal.
- True or False: In responding to the objection from exploitation, Block agrees that blackmail is exploitative but denies that all exploitation should be illegal.
- Explain the "Blackmail, Inc." objection to Block's thesis. Then explain Block's response to it.
Parent Licensing (Week 7)
- State and explain LaFollette's thesis?
- According to LaFollette, what three features of driving a car explain why the state is justified in requiring a license to do it?
- For each of these three features, explain why it seems to apply to raising children as well.
- At the end of his paper, LaFollette appears to give an argument from analogy for parent licensing. State that argument and give a rationale for each premise.
- At one point, LaFollette considers the idea that "the right to have children" should be understood conditionally, as the right to rear children if one meets certain minimal standard of child rearing. Explain LaFollette's response to an objection against his view that is based on this right.
- LaFollette admits that "it is highly improbable that we can formulate criteria that would distinguish precisely between good and less than good parents." Explain why he does not think this poses a problem for his proposal.
- State two of the practical objections Fische raises against LaFollete's argument for parent licensing.
- LaFollette states that "the very purpose of licensing is just to determine whether people are going to abuse or neglect their children." Explain Frische's objection to this understanding of the purpose of licensing.
- What general type of argument does Lemieux present against LaFollette: inference to the best explanation; slippery slope; argument from analogy; or process of elimination?