The final will contain 6 “short” answer questions drawn from the following topics, 10 points each.

Topic 1.  Kantian Ethics

Role of reason—hypothetical vs. categorical statements—categorical imperative—how to form the categorical imperative—universalizability—‘Goldilocks’ problem—the lying axe murderer—using someone as a mere means vs. using someone as a means—humans as ends in themselves—scope of Kant’s moral community–types of coercion, for Mappes—types of deception for Mappes—threats vs. offers—coercive offers—voluntary informed consent—problems with passive deception—lextaliones, problems and Nathanson’s solutions.


Topic 2.  Social Contract

State of nature—causes of state of nature for Hobbes—origins of social contract in human nature—Prisoner’s Dilemma—role of cooperation in optimal outcomes—Rawl’s original position and the veil of ignorance—effects of social contract—problem of who is in the contract—problem of no actual contract—implicit vs. explicit contract—limitations of social contract in re: legal vs. moral scope


Topic 3.  Ethical pluralism, particularism and moral intuitionism

What is pluralism?—What makes some normative theories monistic–Is pluralism more demanding than other ethical theories?—Doctrine of Doing and Allowing—Doctrine of the Double Effect—Prima Facie Duties—Do prima facie duties lead to skepticism?—Problems with Prima Facie Duties–What is particularism?—Moral intuitionism

Topic 4.  Virtue Theory

Function argument–Aristotelian eudaimonia—virtues as means between extremes—role of self-knowledge in the virtues—role of practical wisdom–virtue theory’s relation to the other ethical theories—Aristotle’s definition of virtue—virtue and the Bishop—advantages of virtue theory—flexibility-moral motivation-role for partiality—problems of incompleteness—why should we be moral?—conflict between virtues—situational nature of virtues—virtue theory and character
Stoic Ethics—refinements from Aristotle

Moral Nihilism—emotivism—difference from particularism

The essay question on the test will be drawn from the following questions.  I will choose three for the exam from which you will choose one.  40 points

  1. Kant’s moral theory centers around a type of statement he calls the ‘categorical imperative.’(a) Explain what a categorical imperative statement is, and how it differs from hypothetical imperatives. (b)  Explain Kant’s justification for using categorical imperatives as a guide to identifying what actions are morally obligatory to us (Use examples to improve your response.)  (c) Thoroughly explain and critically discuss one and only one objection to Kant’s use of categorical imperatives


  1. According to Social Contract Theory, cooperation between human beings is of central importance for the creation of a just society. (a) Explain what life for human beings is like in the absence of a social contract—that is, in a state of nature. Examples will assist your answers. (b)  Using the concept of the ‘prisoner’s dilemma explain why Social Contract theory argues that cooperation is in our enlightened self-interest.  (c) Explain and critically discuss one and only one criticism of Social Contract theory.


  1. What is the definition of virtue theory, as given by Shafer Landau. Show how it relates to the function of a human, as developed by Aristotle, including Aristotle’s idea of the purpose of a human.  Does Shafer Landau’s definition differ in some way from Aristotle’s ideas?  If so, is that difference significant?  If not, indicate a few points where they are substantially the same.


  1. Shafer Landau says that virtue theory shares a common problem with Divine Command Theory. What is his argument?  In your opinion, is it a fatal problem for virtue theory?  Why or why not?
  2. Compare and contrast virtue theory and prima facie duties.  Do the features of one make it superior to the other?  Support your answer with adequate reasons.


  1. Mappes says that in order to have voluntary informed consent, a person must have two things. What are those things? Explain them in some detail.  How do illustrate Kant’s ideas, as Mappes claims?


  1. Rawls describes his social contract in terms of a hypothetical ‘thought experiment’.  What is it?  How does it then show his idea that ‘justice is fairness’.  How does Rawls relate to the prisoner’s dilemma?  Do you agree?  Why or why not?