PH220 — Ethics and Values
Morgan State University
Dr. John Hersey
Directions: Your exams must be submitted through SafeAssign on Blackboard. Late submissions will be penalized 10 points (one full letter grade) and I will not accept submissions after one week past the due date, which will result in a 0 for the assignment. Plagiarism merits automatic failure for the course.
Put your name, PHIL 220 with section number, Dr. Hersey, semester and year, Midterm Examination on the top left of the first page. Clearly identify section headings, item numbers, and descriptions. Remember the rubric for evaluation of written work from the syllabus. Any references to the text should be indicated simply by the page number in parentheses.
Section 1: Explanations
Write a 4-5 sentence explanation for 5 of the following. (20 points) The key is to be as thorough, concise, and essential as possible in the short space allotted. Full credit will be given for explanations that not only identify the concept, but also indicate its context and moral significance.
1. Psychological egoism (Ch. 2)
2. Universal ethical egoism (Ch.2)
3. Greatest happiness principle (Ch. 2)
4. Cost-benefit analysis (Ch. 2)
5. Care ethics (Ch. 2)
6. Intuitionism (Ch. 3)
7. Divine Command Theory (Ch. 3)
8. Good will (Kant, Ch. 3)
9. Practical imperative (Kant, Ch. 3)
10. Prima facie duties (Ross, Ch. 3)
11. Virtue ethics (Ch. 4)
12. Happiness (Aristotle, Ch. 4)
13. Habit (Aristotle, Ch. 4)
14. Virtue as a mean (Aristotle, Ch. 4)
15. Excellence, de (Confucius, Ch. 4)
16. Mengzi on human nature (Confucius, Ch. 4)
17. Moral absolutism (Ch. 5 and Rachels essay)
18. Cultural relativism (Ch. 5 and Rachels essay)
19. Fatalism (Ch. 6)
20. Hard determinism (Ch. 6)
21. Soft determinism (Ch. 6)
22. The Value of Life Principle (Ch. 8)
23. The Principle of Individual Freedom (Ch. 8)
Section 2: Essays
Write a response in answer to two of the essay questions below. (40 points each) Though quality of consideration takes precedence over quantity of pages, 2–3 double-spaced pages for each essay seems to be a good guideline for length. 1. In Ursula K. Le Guin’s short story “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas,” Omelas is a utopian city of happiness and delight whose inhabitants are intelligent and cultured. Everything about the city is pleasing except for the secret underlying Omelas’s happiness. Omelas’s good fortune requires that a single child is imprisoned and kept in filth, darkness, and misery. Upon coming of age all of the citizens of Omelas are informed of the city’s dark secret. After learning this secret most citizens remain in the city but some walk away. Many take this short story to be a sharp critique of utilitarian moral philosophy. Evaluate this critique by (1) identifying the objection implied in the story, (2) developing a careful and complete interpretation of the relevant aspects of Mill’s philosophy upon which you might base your evaluation, and (3) arguing for the success or failure of this objection. You may find a copy of the short story on Blackboard.
2. Consider the following scenario. After colliding with an iceberg at sea the luxury liner RMS. Gigantic sinks in the North Atlantic. Four survivors—two adult males, one adult female, all with families safe at home, and a 10-year old boy, who is weak from injuries suffered during the sinking and whose entire family has already perished in the disaster—are adrift on a lifeboat with barely one week’s provisions for all of them. On the seventeenth day adrift, with the survivors desperate for food, someone suggests that since the boy will most likely die anyway and doesn’t have a family to take care of that the three adults should kill him and use his body for nourishment until they are rescued. In a detailed and thoughtful essay, write an answer to the question “Is it permissible to kill the boy?” from the...
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