Ethics Essay Questions

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  1. Importance of a course in ethics. How might a
    course in ethics help the student to discover who he is
    • Guide our actions
    • Define our values
    • Give us
    • reasons for being the person we are
  2. What is the relationship b/w religion and
    morality? What are some problems with basing morality on religion?
    • Is god the maker of morality/author of moral
    • law?
    • In divine command theory, god defines right and wrong. 
    • Euthyphro dilemma
    • Dct false –> god does not create rightness;
    • he simply knows what is right and wrong and is subject to the moral law just as
    • humans are.
    • But god gave free will, god is not subject to
    • moral law because if god exists, is possible he exists only in the realm of
    • heaven, leaving people on earth to benefit or suffer from the consequences of
    • each other’s actions.
  3. Explain what the author of the text calls
    “the elements of ethics” p6-8. Do these elements seem reasonable?
    • The preeminence of reason – critical reasoning,
    • evidence, supporting statements
    • The universal perspective – principle of
    • universalizeability – the idea that a moral statement that applies in one
    • situation must apply in all other similar situations.
    • The principle of impartiality – all ppl are =
    • unless there is a good moral reason not to, ex hospital giving +immediate care
    • when necessary.
    • The dominance of moral norms – moral norms tend to override legal/aesthetic/prudential norms.
  4. What is cultural relativism and what are several
    problems with it as a theory? Do you believe that there are moral absolutes in
    ethics? If you answered no then what criteria do you use to make moral
    decisions? If you answered yes then how does on discover these absolutes?
    • Problems:
    • Assumes maj is infallible
    • Social reformers not right
    • Social progress impossible
  5. Do you think that female circumcision is morally
    permissible or should we not judge the morals of other cultures? Explain your
    • Morally
    • Logistically – health risks, dull/dirty cutting
    • tools/operating rooms, not always certified doctor, complications with sex,
    • menstruation, childbirth, risk of infection, bleeding, death.
  6. What is emotivism in ethics? Does the theory
    sound reasonable? Explain. Should emotions play a role in making ethical
    judgments? Explain.
    • Reasons not intended to support statements, but to influence the emotions/attitudes of others, not always true.
    • No such thing as goodness/badness
  7. Summarize the midgley essay trying out one’s new sword
    • Moral isolationism is becoming obsolete. We
    • overlap more than expected, written in the 80s, we do judge other cultures even if we don’t voice it.
  8. What is the dif b/w a deductive argument and an inductive argument? What are several ways to defeat an argument? Symbolize a
    modus ponens, a modus tolens, and a hypothetical syllogism.
    • Deductive - an argument that is supposed to give logically conclusive support to its conclusion
    • --Valid – logical support for conclusion
    • --Invalid if not
    • --Sound – also true premises
    • Inductive - an argument that does not offer
    • logically conclusive support for the conclusion
    • --Strong – probable support for conclusion
    • --Cogent – premises also true
    • Modus ponenes – if p = q, p… then q
    • Modus tolens – if p=q, not q therefore not p
    • Hypothetical syllogism – if p=q, q=r, then p=r
  9. What are the differences b/w a moral statement
    and a nonmoral statement? Use each in an argument to support the conclusion
    that date rape is immoral and wrong
    • Moral: a statement that affirms that an action
    • is right/wrong or that a person or ones motive or character, is good/bad
    • Nonmoral: a statement that does not affirm that
    • an action is right/wrong or that a person or ones motive or character, is
    • good/bad
Card Set
Ethics Essay Questions
Ethics test unit 1
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