Expert answer:Ethical Theory Utilitarianism and John Stuart Mill

  

Solved by verified expert:Please choose any 2 questions from the different parts (1k word each).Instructions are stated in the question document.PHIL20008 Ethical Theory
Take Home Exam
Exam instructions:
1. Answer a total of TWO questions. Each question must be chosen from a different part.
2. The questions are equally weighted.
3. Your answers are not to exceed 1,100 words per answer, for a total of not more than 2,200 words per take-home exam submitted (excluding bibliography). There is no minimum word limit.
4. Topic overlap restrictions apply to PART A and PART B. These restrictions are clearly stated after the questions they govern. If you don’t respect a restriction, you will receive ZERO marks for that essay.
5. Take home exams are to be submitted on LMS. Check list for preparing and submitting your exam script:
1. Be sure that you have read the “Take Home Exam Rules and Regulations” document available under “Assessment” and that you have complied with them. Take special note of the rules concerning what sources may be used, referencing, and plagiarism.
2. Check you have not exceeded word limits. All text excluding only the list of references/bibliography count towards the word limit.
3. Upload just one document that contains your answers to the two questions you have chosen.
4. Use 12 point font and 1.5 or double spacing.
5. Make sure your student number is on the document you upload.
6. Make sure your name is NOT on the document you upload.
7. Upload your document under the “Assessment Submission” section of the LMS page.
8. Make sure you are uploading the right version: uploading is final!
PART A
1. John Stuart Mill’s “proof” of utilitarianism has been much criticized. Explain what you take to be the most plausible reconstruction of his “proof”. Critically evaluate it.
Topic overlap restriction: you may not attempt this question if you wrote your mid-semester essay on it (Q 1).
2. Is rule utilitarianism a better moral theory than act utilitarianism? Defend your view.
Topic overlap restriction: you may not attempt this question if you wrote your mid-semester essay on the best form of consequentialism (Q 5).
3. Both Peter Railton and John Stuart Mill defend act consequentialism against the charge that it is a cold and unfeeling doctrine. Briefly compare and contrast Railton’s and Mill’s response to this objection. Which response is strongest? Spend the bulk of your essay assessing whether your chosen response is adequate.
Topic overlap restriction: you may not attempt this question if you wrote your mid-semester essay on Railton (Q 3).
PART B
4. In the Groundwork, Kant says things that seem to disparage even pro-social emotions, such as sympathy. Briefly explain why Kant denies moral worth to action motivated by emotion. Does this pose a problem for his ethical theory? Defend your view.
Topic overlap restriction: you may not attempt this question if you wrote your mid-semester essay on the quotation from the Groundwork (Q 6).
5. Briefly explain Korsgaard’s “Practical Contradiction Interpretation” of Kant’s Formula of Universal Law (FUL) as it applies to cases involving a contradiction in conception. (For space reasons, do not discuss how Korsgaard extends the interpretation to apply to cases involving a contradiction in will.) Use the bulk of your essay to evaluate whether, on this interpretation, the FUL can provide an adequate test to identify immoral maxims of action.
Topic overlap restriction: you may not attempt this question if you wrote your mid-semester essay on Korsgaard’s interpretation of Kant (Q 7).
6. Kant’s second formulation of the categorical imperative (Formula of Humanity) is: “So act that you use humanity, whether in your own person or in the person of any other, always at the same time as an end, never merely as a means.” How is this formulation to be interpreted and applied? Can it provide an adequate test to identify immoral maxims of action?
7. Are there any deontological restrictions? If there are, can Kantian ethics provide a satisfactory account of them? Defend your view. (Note: If you are arguing that there are no deontological restrictions, in the course of defending your view, you must consider how a Kantian would respond to your argument, as Kant is widely taken to offer the strongest defense of such restrictions.)
PART C
8. “Virtue is a kind of mean.” (Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics (II.6).) Explain and evaluate.
9. Does virtue ethics have a satisfactory account of right action? Defend your view.
10. Briefly explain what characterizes that family of approaches to ethics known as virtue ethics. Next, briefly state what you take to be the strongest objection to virtue ethics. Use the bulk of your essay to explore whether the virtue ethicist has a satisfactory reply.
11. Briefly explain what characterizes ethics of care theories. Next state what you take to be the strongest objection to the ethics of care approach. Spend the remainder of your essay exploring the potential of the ethics of care approach to develop an adequate response.
PART D
Overlap warning: In your answer to PART D be sure not to reproduce significant parts of your answers to any other question on this exam. However, if it helps your argument and you wish to do so, you may refer to points developed in your answer to a question in another section in your answer to a question in this section. (A note on the difference between a restriction and a warning: Restrictions are strict – violate them and your receive no marks. Warnings are loose – if you overlap too much you effectively submit a script that is short on words/content. There is no minimum word limit, but a script of 2,000 words with 500 words of similar content appearing twice is likely to do less well than a script of 2,000 non-repeated words/content.)
12. In this course, we have studied three families of normative ethical theories: consequentialism, deontology, and virtue ethics. Which do you think is the most promising and why? Defend your view.
13. What should we want from an ethical theory? Defend your view.
14. Virtue ethicists typically claim that virtue ethics does better than any rival approach in recognizing the role of emotions in our moral lives. Evaluate this claim.
week_12_workshop__exam_info_and_final_remarks__1_.ppt

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Workshop 12: the exam and a wrap up
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
How to think about the take home exam
Pre-exam help
Format and kind of questions to expect
How exams are marked
SES
Section reviews
Ethics of care
Skills: essay outlines
1
How to think about the take-home exam
• A take home exam is a formal exam, with a
change of address. Instead of an examination hall,
you can do it anywhere.
• The change of address means that the exam is
open book and so you MUST give references.
• Why a take-home exam?
– It does not penalize those who are not quick thinkers,
who get nervous, or who find it hard to sit and write for
2 straight hours. These are not philosophically
important skills!
How to think about the take-home exam
• A take home exam is NOT two short, timerestricted research essays. (The questions do not
call for research essays at all, though you may do
further research!)
• Almost everyone has one or more other exams at
our around the same time. Having one or more
overlapping exams is not grounds for an
extension.
• You are not expected to work around the clock for
the time you have available.
How to think about the take-home exam
How long should it take?
If you are fully prepared in the way you would be for a
formal exam, and don’t have problems sitting and
concentrating, you should be able to complete it in an
afternoon. But you have the freedom to spread the
work over the full time allocated.
A bad way to approach the exam:
Start studying when the questions are released. By then,
it is too late to get help. This approach might look
efficient, but it is dangerous. (And doomed if you
have other exams.)
Rules & Regs + getting help
Under the “Assessment” page, you will see a list of rules and
regs for the take-home. You ARE allowed to talk to each
other once the exam has started, but not to “collude or
collaborate” — the difference is explained there.
Exam questions will be released on LMS at 9am on Thursday
June 13. Your answers must be submitted on LMS by
5pm on Monday June 17.
Pre-exam help:
Wednesday 12th June 1pm-3pm on level 6 of Arts West.
Email me in advance to let me know what time you’re
coming.
Exam format
2x 1,000 word essays, equally weighted. Do not exceed the
word limit by more than 10% (going under by more than
10% isn’t recommended, either). Your marker will stop
reading at limit + 10%, so you will lose marks if you do
this. (Why? So we can compare apples with apples, and so
the task doesn’t become too burdensome!)
The questions must be from different sections.
There are four sections: consequentialism, Kant, virtue ethics,
comparative.
Topic overlap restrictions
Some questions in parts 1 (consequentialism) and 2 (Kant)
are subject to topic overlap restrictions, which are
clearly stated after the question to which they apply.
Violate them and you get zero points!
In the comparative section, don’t repeat yourself, but if
relevant you could refer back to your answer to another
question.
Topic overlap restrictions are to prevent you substantially
reproducing the answer you gave to your mid-semester
essay. They do not prevent you doing more work in the
same general area. Building on previous work is good.
They only mean that you will have less choice in
questions than others who did no previous work in that
area.
How exams are marked
We use the same criteria as we used for the mid-semester
essay.
Short essays are often harder than long ones: jump right
in, keep focused.
Do not do as politicians do: answer the question actually
asked, not the question you would have liked to have
been asked!
Pay attention to the verbs: they are never just “explain”
or “state” but include words like “critically
evaluate”, “defend”, etc. For questions that ask you
to explain/state and then assess/evaluate, the main
action is in the evaluation, make sure the words are,
too.
How exams are marked
Use the philosophical skills you’ve developed:
• Clearly stating positions
• Demonstrating mastery of abstract concepts
• Clarifying arguments
• Assessing arguments, including by giving counterexamples to claims, raising objections, and
considering replies
• Arguing for positions, rather than making statements
• Avoid M.S.U (making s%$t up)
How exams are marked
Hint:
It’s nice to set up your paper so that the view you reject
seems plausible and interesting at the start (after
you’ve explained it and given an account of what’s
good about it). That way it’s more important and
interesting that your paper shows that that it’s
wrong.
Also: if you don’t, it looks like you’re going after low
hanging fruit. So if you can’t say why it’s plausible
and interesting then either you’ve picked part of
their theory that’s unimportant or you’ve got their
theory wrong. (We’re not reading any B-grad
philosophers.)
Marking rubric
Criteria
poor
fair
good
very good
excellent
Argument structure and
clarity
Thesis is
unclear and
argument
lacks
coherence.
Could be
clearer
about both
thesis & arg
structure;
some
tangents.
Clear thesis;
overarching
argument
reasonably
clear, but
has Ikea
moments.
Very clear
thesis and
argument
that unfolds
coherently
and
concisely in
support of it
Strong
overarching
argument
that offers
strong
support for a
clearly
articulated
thesis
Exposition of
views/arguments/concepts
Contains
significant
mistakes in
exposition
and/or
conceptual
misunderstandings
Some errors
in exposition
or understanding of
concepts, but
got the basics
Solid grasp
of concepts
and
arguments,
but could be
better
explained
Very good
grasp of
concepts/
arguments
with good
explanations
Nailed it:
complex
arguments/
concepts
accurately,
clearly and
concisely
explained
Marking rubric
Criteria
poor
fair
good
very good
excellent
Critical engagement
Very little to no
critical
engagement
Some critical
engagement
but relatively
tangential or
happens too
quickly at the
end of the
essay, because
exposition,
engagement
mis-weighted.
Good level of
critical
enagement in
terms of quatity.
Could have
chosen
somewhat more
fruitful/challengi
ng lines to
pursue.
Very good
level of
critical
enagement;
have chosen
interesting
ways in which
to engage
with texts or
problems.
Excellent
level of
critical
engagement.
Concise
exposition
allowed for
developed
engagement
& interesting,
challenging
lines have
been pursued.
Independence of thought
No indep. of
thought.
Very little
indep. of
thought.
Good indep. as
shown by e.g.
developing a
line of inquiry
mentioned in
slides.
Strong indep.
E.g. bringing
theorists into
dialogue; new
examples.
Sophisticated
answer that
shows high
level of
independent
thought.
Why the SES matters
1. It is what the virtuous person would do.
2. You have an imperfect duty to assist in the projects
of others, where you can. Your responses change and
improve pedagogical practice. (E.g. the move from a
formal exam to a take-home exam.)
3. Of all the acts you could do right now, it is likely to
be the one that maximize the satisfaction of
preferences everyone considered.
Review of core concepts/arguments in Consequentilaism
section. You should be able to:
• Explain the difference between rule and act consequentialism
• Explain the difference between monist and pluralist consequentialism
• Assess the advantages and disadvantages of hedonism vs preference
satisfaction versions of utilitarianism
• Explain and evaluate the demandingness, alienation, counter-intuitive
results objections
• Explain the replies we have assessed to all of these objections
• Evaluate the intuitive appeal of consequentialism
Review of core concepts/arguments in Kant section.
You should be able to:
1.
2.
3.
4.
Explain why Kant is seemingly hostile to emotion.
Explain what a maxim is and give examples of them.
Explain the difference between the HI and the CI.
Apply Korsgaard’s “practical contradiction” interpretation of the
FUL/FLN to examples involving contradiction in conception. (Bonus
for being able to handle CW cases)
5.
6.
7.



Understand what Kant means by “humanity” or “rational nature”.
Apply the FH to examples.
Evaluate core objections to Kant, including:
The problem of false positives; The problem of false negatives
Problems for the correspondence thesis
The problem of whether the FUL/FLN and FH are actually different
ways of putting the CI, given they appear to give different verdicts.
Review of VE section. You should be able to:
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
Explain what Aristotle and contemporary VE means by a virtue of character
Explain and assess Aristotle’s doctrine of the mean
Explain the importance of practical wisdom for Aristotle
Explain and evaluate the doctrine of the necessary compresence of the virtues
Explain, apply, and assess Hursthouse’s agent centered account of right action.
Explain, apply, and assess Swanton’s target-centered account of right action.
Either evaluate any two of the following objections to VE: it doesn’t have an
adequate account of right action; it is insufficiently action guiding; it is vulnerable
to cultural relativism; it faces empirical objections OR one these objections and
one of your own devising.
Core features of ethics of care theories
1. Anti rules
2. Importance of emotions: source of moral response lies in
affect rather than reason
3. Focus on ethical encounters with particular concrete
others instead of impartiality
4. Brings relationships of dependency front and centre.
5. Focus on maintaining relationships
6. Focus on responsibility rather than rights
In these themes has significant overlap with traditional
virtue ethics.
In groups: What do you identify as the most significant
challenges for an ethics of care?
Essay plan
Unpacking what you need to answer a question.
• Question 4: Objections to utilitarianism often
proceed by considering what a utilitarian is
committed to saying about a particular case or
cases and claim that this is the wrong answer. This
argumentative strategy gives considerable theorybuilding weight to our intuitions about particular
cases. How much weight are they being asked to
bear? Can they bear this much weight? Defend your
view.
PHIL20008 Ethical Theory
Take Home Exam
Exam instructions:
1. Answer a total of TWO questions. Each question must be chosen from a different part.
2. The questions are equally weighted.
3. Your answers are not to exceed 1,100 words per answer, for a total of not more than
2,200 words per take-home exam submitted (excluding bibliography). There is no
minimum word limit.
4. Topic overlap restrictions apply to PART A and PART B. These restrictions are clearly
stated after the questions they govern. If you don’t respect a restriction, you will receive
ZERO marks for that essay.
5. Take home exams are to be submitted on LMS by 17 June, 5pm.
Check list for preparing and submitting your exam script:
1. Be sure that you have read the “Take Home Exam Rules and Regulations” document
available under “Assessment” and that you have complied with them. Take special note
of the rules concerning what sources may be used, referencing, and plagiarism.
2. Check you have not exceeded word limits. All text excluding only the list of
references/bibliography count towards the word limit.
3. Upload just one document that contains your answers to the two questions you have
chosen.
4. Use 12 point font and 1.5 or double spacing.
5. Make sure your student number is on the document you upload.
6. Make sure your name is NOT on the document you upload.
7. Upload your document under the “Assessment Submission” section of the LMS page.
8. Make sure you are uploading the right version: uploading is final!
PART A
1. John Stuart Mill’s “proof” of utilitarianism has been much criticized. Explain what you take to
be the most plausible reconstruction of his “proof”. Critically evaluate it.
Topic overlap restriction: you may not attempt this question if you wrote your mid-semester essay on it (Q
1).
2. Is rule utilitarianism a better moral theory than act utilitarianism? Defend your view.
Topic overlap restriction: you may not attempt this question if you wrote your mid-semester essay on the best
form of consequentialism (Q 5).
3. Both Peter Railton and John Stuart Mill defend act consequentialism against the charge that it
is a cold and unfeeling doctrine. Briefly compare and contrast Railton’s and Mill’s response to
this objection. Which response is strongest? Spend the bulk of your essay assessing whether your
chosen response is adequate.
Topic overlap restriction: you may not attempt this question if you wrote your mid-semester essay on Railton
(Q 3).
PART B
4. In the Groundwork, Kant says things that seem to disparage even pro-social emotions, such as
sympathy. Briefly explain why Kant denies moral worth to action motivated by emotion. Does
this pose a problem for his ethical theory? Defend your view.
1
Topic overlap restriction: you may not attempt this question if you wrote your mid-semester essay on the
quotation from the Groundwork (Q 6).
5. Briefly explain Korsgaard’s “Practical Contradiction Interpretation” of Kant’s Formula of
Universal Law (FUL) as it applies to cases involving a contradiction in conception. (For space
reasons, do not discuss how Korsgaard extends the interpretation to apply to cases involving a
contradiction in will.) Use the bulk of your essay to evaluate whether, on this interpretation, the
FUL can provide an adequate test to identify immoral maxims of action.
Topic overlap restriction: you may not attempt this question if you wrote your mid-semester essay on
Korsgaard’s interpretation of Kant (Q 7).
6. Kant’s second formulation of the categorical imperative (Formula of Humanity) is: “So act that
you use humanity, whether in your own person or in the person of any other, always at the same
time as an end, never merely as a means.” How is this formulation to be interpreted and applied?
Can it provide an adequate test to identify immoral maxims of action?
7. Are there any deontological restrictions? If there are, can Kantian ethics provide a satisfactory
account of them? Defend your view. (Note: If you are arguing that there are no deontological
restrictions, in the course of defending your view, you must consider how a Kantian would
respond to your argument, as Kant is widely taken to offer the strongest defense of such
restrictions.)
PART C
8. “Virtue is a kind of mean.” (Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics (II.6).) Explain and evaluate.
9. Does virtue ethics have a satisfactory account of right action? Defend your view.
10. Briefly explain what characterizes that family of approaches to ethics known as virtue ethics.
Next, briefly state what you take to be the strongest objection to virtue ethics. Use the bulk of
your essay to explore whether the virtue ethicist has a satisfactory reply.
11. Briefly explain what characterizes ethics of care theories. Next state what you take to be the
strongest objection to the ethics of care approach. Spend the remainder of your essay exploring
the potential of the ethics of care approach to develop an adequate response.
PART D
Overlap warning: In your answer to PART D be sure not to reproduce significant parts of your
answers to any other question on this exam. However, if it helps your argument and you wish to
do so, you may refer to points developed in your answer to a question in another section in your
answer to a question in this section. (A note on the difference between a restriction and a
warning: Restrictions are strict – violate them and your receive no marks. Warnings are loose – if
you overlap too much you effectively submit a script that is short on words/content. There is no
minimum word limit, but a script of 2,000 words with 500 words of similar content appearing
twice is likely to do less well than a script of 2,000 non-repeated words/content.)
12. In this course, we have studied three families of normative ethical theories: consequentialism,
deontology, and virtue ethics. Which do you think is the most promising and why? Defend your
view.
13. What should we want from an ethical theory? Defend your view.
14. Virtue ethicists typically claim that virtue ethics does better than any rival approach in
recognizing the role of emotions in our moral lives. Evaluate this claim.
2

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