Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Final Test study guide:
The final schedule is here:



· 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)

· Present at least three logically valid arguments against utilitarianism i.e., for the conclusion that utilitarianism is false.

· How might utilitarians respond to these objections? How do utilitarians defend themselves from these objections?

· Do you think these arguments against utilitarianism are sound or not? Explain and defend your view.


· What are active euthanasia, passive euthanasia, voluntary euthanasia, involuntary euthanasia, and non-voluntary euthanasia?

· 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.

· 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?)

· 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.


  • What are two of Kant’s Categorical Imperatives? (You might want to re-read A Short Introduction to Moral Philosophy from RTD, as well as see the handout),

Singer on racism, sexism, "intelligence"-ism and speciesism,

· According to Singer, racists and sexists violate “the fundamental principle of equality.” Explain what this principle is and how they violate this principle. Explain what interests are. Fully explain how Singer argues this principle applies to animals.

· 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.

· Singer discusses a number of other hypotheses to explain why racism and sexism are wrong. What are these other hypotheses? Why are they not good explanations for why racism is wrong, according to Singer?

· 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?

· What is “speciesism” according to Singer? Why is it wrong, according to Singer? Is he right?

· 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?


· 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 to Simmons’ argument in logically valid form, where all the premises are clearly stated, and evaluate these objections with reasons. At least 50 objections are here:

Kant & Machan on animals,

· 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.

· Machan argues that animals have no moral “rights.” What are his reasons? Explain the objection we discussed to his argument and explain whether it refutes his argument or not.

· Machan states that his discussion about whether animals have rights does not answer practical questions about how animals should be treated. Explain this view.


MLK, the “Letter From Birmingham Jail”:

· What is MLK’s argument in favor of the moral permissibility of non-violently breaking (some) laws? Explain his views.

Rachels, EMP, last chapter:

· What would a satisfactory moral theory be like, according to Rachels? What are his five main themes on this?

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