Monday, December 04, 2006

Study guide for test #2
Final Exam times, i.e., last (2nd) test time:

For 11 AM class: Monday, Dec. 11, 1-3 PM
For 12 PM class: Wednesday, Dec. 13, 1-3 PM
For 1 PM class: Monday, Dec. 11, 8-10 AM

Optional Review session: Friday at _______ (to be determined Wed at end of class)

To know: everything since the last test!  All readings, all class discussion, all notes. If you’ve been keeping up on the reading, class discussion, the notes on the blog, you should be prepared.

• Be able to explain the basic methods that we used in this class to better think about moral issues (stated a number of times; available at blog).
• True or false? For any moral issue (past and present), there are some religious believers on all sides of the issue; there is generally no one position that can truthfully be called “the religious perspective” on any issue.

What is ethical egoism? (If someone is an ethical egoist, what exactly does he or she believe?)
• Present at least two logically valid arguments against ethical egoism, i.e., for the conclusion that ethical egoism is false.
• Are these arguments sound or not? Explain and defend your view.

Famine aid:
• What is Singer’s argument regarding famine aid issues? Be able to present his complete argument in a logically valid form. You will need to know the details.
o What role do the examples of the pond/pool, Dora and Bob play in his argument? (i.e., why does he discuss these examples?)
• Be able to present at least 5 objections to Singer’s argument. Since identifying the unstated assumptions behind these arguments was our focus, these objections should be made as logically valid arguments; you’ll need to explain why these arguments are sound or unsound (i.e., why at least one premise is false) and/or defend their premises. Simply asserting that Singer is wrong, or that we have no such obligations, or other responses – without giving reasons and defending them – will be inadequate.
• Explain our final conclusion, our main objection to Singer’s argument. This was that one would indeed be sacrificing something of genuinely comparable moral worth if one gave to famine aid, so one of Singer’s premises is false, and that’s one good reason why his argument is not sound.

What is utilitarianism? (If someone is a utilitarian, what exactly does he or she believe? You need to be able to accurately say what utilitarianism is, not merely something close to it)
o Present at least three logically valid arguments against utilitarianism i.e., for the conclusion that utilitarianism is false.
o How might utilitarians respond to these objections? How do utilitarians defend themselves from these objections?
o Do you think these arguments against utilitarianism are sound or not? Explain and defend your view.

o What are active euthanasia, passive euthanasia, voluntary euthanasia, involuntary euthanasia, and non-voluntary euthanasia?
o What is Rachels’s argument for the conclusion that active euthanasia is sometimes morally permissible? Be able to present this in a valid form and explain all premises. You will need to know the details.
o What role does the Smith & Jones example play? (i.e., why does he discuss this example? What objection does this example help him respond to?)
o Be able to present at least three arguments against Rachels’ arguments, all in logically valid form and explain whether they are sound or not.Simply asserting that Rachels is wrong, or that active euthanasia is murder (i.e., wrongful killing), or other responses – without giving reasons and defending them – will be inadequate.

Singer, Kant, Simmons, Machan and Engel on animals:
1. Kant claims that animals are “there merely as a means to an end” for humans, and there are no “direct” duties to animals because animals are not _________. Explain his argument here (what’s the unstated premise?). Explain the objection we discussed to his argument and explain whether it refutes Kant’s views or not.
2. Machan argues that animals have no “rights.” What are his reasons? Explain the objection we discussed to his argument and explain whether it refutes his argument or not.
3. According to Singer, the racist and sexist violate “the fundamental principle of equality.” Explain what this principle is and how they violate this principle. Fully explain how Singer argues this principle applies to animals.
4. Why, according to Singer, would we not want to tie our opposition to racism and sexism to “factual equality?” This addresses a response to racism and sexism that Singer thinks we wouldn’t want to accept.
5. Why, according to Singer’s reasoning, is it wrong that animals are raised and killed to be eaten, worn and experimented on? (His reasoning is not that they have “rights”). Is his reasoning sound? Why or why not?
6. Singer gives a principle for when an experiment on an animal would be morally acceptable. What is his suggestion? Is he right? Why or why not?
7. Be able to present and explain – in valid, premise-conclusion form -- John Simmons’ argument from the article “Reasonable Humans and Animals.” Be able to present ten objections in logically valid form, where all the premises are clearly state, and evaluate these objections with reasons. You need to know the details of this article and the general method of reasoning.
a. Over 50 objections to a similar argument are found here:

Be able to present all the arguments about abortion that we discussed in class in logically valid premise-conclusion form, explain them and evaluate them as sound or unsound, with reasons. Be able to know which arguments are Marquis’s and which are Warren’s. Here are some details that you’ll know if you are familiar with all the discussed arguments:
1. Some people think about “abortions” in general. Explain why we thought it’s better, when one develops a moral view about abortion, to make it clear whether one’s view pertains to all abortions or only some of them, and if just some of them, that one explains which abortions one is arguing to be right or wrong.
2. Some people disagree about whether fetuses are “human” or “human beings”. To help resolve this dispute, be able to explain how the word “human” (as in the claim ‘Fetuses are human’) is ambiguous; be able to explain two distinct meanings, with examples.
3. Be able to explain one method of reasoning to try to figure out the meaning of the word “person” or what the concept of “person” or “being a person” is. This method is generally useful for trying to figure out the meanings of words or concepts when their meanings are not clear.
4. Be able to explain what it is to be a person, on Marquis’s view, and the view that was developed in class. Explain why, on this theory, if God exists, God is a person. Explain why, on this theory, if “ET” existed, ET, Worf, Jabba The Hut and other fictional persons would exist as persons.
5. According to scientists and physicians, approximately when do human fetuses develop some kind of consciousness and ability to feel pain? (Present the range of scientific estimates). Do most actual abortions occur before or after this time period?
6. Explain why a bumper that said “Aren’t you glad your mother didn’t have an abortion?” doesn’t appear to suggest a sound argument against abortion because it suggests an analogous argument against birth control.
7. Some arguments against abortion suggest that birth control and even abstinence are wrong also. (However, since most people don’t believe that birth control and abstinence are wrong, they take this false implication to reveal a fault with the argument.) Explain how this is so and which exact premises have that implication.
8. Some people get upset when it is said, and even argued (i.e., reasons are given), that (early) fetuses are not “persons” and not conscious, feeling beings. Explain to them why they should not get upset, since these facts do not entail that abortions are right. Explain why that is so.
 Here’s a PowerPoint on abortion that you might find interesting:

What are Kant’s categorical imperatives? Be able to explain them.

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