Friday, December 05, 2014

Study guide for final quiz

Study guide for final quiz 

This study guide presents the various topics and readings for the final quiz. Your job, of course, is to be able to show that you understand the many theories and arguments and responses to these arguments.


Our last quiz covered the divine command theory from the Rachels chapter on morality and religion, so there will be no questions about that. But there was discussion of abortion in that chapter that you should be familiar with.

We introduced the issue with this page:

We reviewed many arguments using this:

Here is a PowerPoint on abortion:

We discussed a view on what persons are, or what personhood is, that is similar to a view presented by Mary Anne Warren in an article (from RTD and widely available online):
“On the Moral and Legal Status of Abortion”;

We discussed Don Marquis’s main argument in his article “Why Abortion is Immoral” (from RTD and widely available online):
  • Fetuses are not persons. But killing fetuses is PF wrong nevertheless.

Marquis argues that it is prima facie wrong to kill us because killing us deprives us of our valuable futures

1.      Any action that deprives X of X’s valuable futures is prima facie wrong.
2.      Abortion deprives fetuses of their valuable futures.
3.      Therefore, abortion is PF wrong.

We also discussed Judith Thompson’s “A Defense of Abortion” article, featuring the Famous Violinist, Henry Fonda, burglars and People Seeds examples (from RTD and widely available online):
Among other issues, the violinist example is designed to show something about the right to life. What was that, and how does that relate to abortion?

Here is a shortened version of that article:


The Rachels chapter on Ethical Egoism (and poverty)
Please read "The Singer Solution to World Poverty," from the NY Times, and in The Right Thing to Do, and/or "Famine, Affluence and Morality"

We watched some videos by Peter Singer:


Chapters on Utilitarianism in EMP. The first chapter introduced the theory and applied it to some moral problems (treatment of animals, drug use, euthanasia [however, we didn’t discuss this topic]). The second chapter discussed some theoretical challenges to the theory.

Please read John Simmon's "Reasonable Humans and Animals" (also, here)
Please read Peter Singer's "All Animals Are Equal" (also in RTD)

And Michael Huemer's "Unjust Drug War" (also in RTD)

Finally, general reflections on the overall methods we’ve used in this class.