Midterm Answers

Midterm Answers - Philosophy 140g: Contemporary Moral and...

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Philosophy 140g: Contemporary Moral and Social Issues mid-term examination answer key This handout explains the point rubric to grade the exam. It was difficult to get all of the points. I know that. It was designed to allow students who understand things particularly well to distinguish themselves. Some questions were particularly hard. But on very many questions, many of you simply did not answer the question. To score points, you did not have to say exactly what this scoring rubric says each point is for. But to score points you had to say things that were not only correct, but addressed the question and mentioned the things that were important for a complete answer to the question that demonstrated an understanding of what we did in class. From the Review Questions (4 pts) 1 (2 pts) Is it possible for everyone in our society to be happy, as Aristotle explains it? If not, who cannot be happy? No (1 pt). It is not possible for people without money or friends to be happy, because you need money and friends to be able to exercise many of the virtues (1 pt). 2 (2 pts) How does Foot make out the distinction between killing and letting die using the concept of the agent of harm? Someone who kills is the initiator (1 pt) of the sequence of events (1 pt) which leads to a death. If you play some other role in that sequence of events, then according to Foot you have merely let the person die. Define: (16 pts) 3a (2 pts) supererogatory An action is supererogatory if it goes above and beyond (1 pt) the call of duty (1 pt). Supererogatory actions are not obligatory, but they are even better to do. 3b (3 pts) utilitarianism Utilitarianism has three parts: 1) the consequentialist theory of the right, that you ought always to do what will have the best results (1 pt), 2) a theory of the good, that only happiness is intrinsically good (1 pt), and 3) a theory of happiness (1 pt). Mill’s theory is that happiness consists in pleasure and avoiding pain. 3c (2 pts) instrumental value Something has instrumental value if it is good (1 pt) for the sake of something else (1 pt), or what you can get for it. For example, money is the paradigm example of something with instrumental value, because it is good because of what you can get for it.
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3d (3 pts) the Tragedy of the Commons The Tragedy of the Commons is the problem that arises when each person has an individual incentive (1 pt) to over-use a common resource (1 pt), and as a result everyone is worse off (1 pt). For example, if everyone makes individual decisions about how much to fish, everyone will fish more than is sustainable in the long run. Kant’s Formula of Universal Law would tell us not to act in these ways. 3e (2 pts) hypothetical imperatives A hypothetical imperative says something that you ought to do (1 pt), but only because of what you want, or what your goals are (1 pt). For example, if you want to pass this class, you should turn in your papers. But if you don’t care about passing this class, maybe it doesn’t matter whether you turn in your papers. 3f (1 pt)
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Midterm Answers - Philosophy 140g: Contemporary Moral and...

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