PART 1: Answer the following questions regarding egoism altruism and social contract

  1. Explain the basic difference between psychological egoism and ethical egoism.
  2. Give two different formulations or versions of psychological egoism and ethical egoism.
  3. Is psychological egoism true, and what must be shown to prove its truth?
  4. How is psychological egoism supposed to provide support for an argument for ethical egoism? What is one problem for this argument?
  5. Summarize the arguments regarding the consistency or inconsistency of ethical egoism.
  6. In what sense does the argument for ethical egoism based on economics support not egoism but utilitarianism—in other words, the view that we ought to do what is in the best interest of all or the greatest number?
  7. Explain how the prisoner’s dilemma can be used in discussions of egoism and cooperative endeavor.
  8. What is meant by taking the “moral point of view?”
  9. How does the example of the “ring of Gyges” illustrate the question: “Why be moral?”
  10. Is Hobbes’ proposed solution to the problem of egoism, via the social contract, acceptable?

PART 2: Answer the following questions regarding: equality and discrimination

  1. Summarize the history of civil rights law, including recent affirmative action decisions. Have we made progress in actualizing the principle of equality in the law? Why or why not?
  2. Should racial, gender, or other differences ever be relevant to making decisions about qualified candidates for jobs or educational opportunities? Please support your answer with reference to concepts discussed in the chapter.
  3. Explain the principle of equality. How is this principle related to other moral principles we’ve discussed in other chapters?
  4. Evaluate the ethics of racial profiling and hate crime legislation. Are these useful legal tools?
  5. What is “affirmative action,” and why does it have this name? Explain different types of affirmative action. Which of them involve or may involve giving preferential treatment?
  6. Summarize the consequentialist arguments for and against affirmative action.
  7. Summarize the non-consequentialist arguments for and against affirmative action.
  8. How are equality and liberty related to justice? Which of these two interests (liberty or equality) is most important to your sense of fairness? Is it possible to achieve a fair balance between the two interests?
  9. Do you think that there should be equal opportunity in a just society? What would you mean by equal opportunity? Do you think that it is a realizable ideal?
  10. Do you think that people in Rawls’s “original position” would choose the principles that he suggests? Explain

PART 3: Answer the following questions regarding: Economic Justice

  1. How are equality and liberty related to justice? Which of these two interests (liberty or equality) is most important to your sense of fairness? Is it possible to achieve a fair balance between the two interests?
  2. Do you think that there should be equal opportunity in a just society? What would you mean by equal opportunity? Do you think that it is a realizable ideal?
  3. Do you think that people in Rawls’s “original position” would choose the principles that he suggests? Explain.

PART 4: Answer the following questions regarding: Deontologial Ethics

1. What does Kant mean by “acting out of duty?” How does the shopkeeper exemplify this?

2. What is the basic difference between a categorical and a hypothetical imperative? In the following examples, which are hypothetical and which are categorical imperatives? Explain your answers.

a. If you want others to be honest with you, then you ought to be honest with them.

b. Whether or not you want to pay your share, you ought to do so.

c. I ought not to cheat on this test if I do not want to get caught.

3. How does the character of moral obligation lead to Kant’s basic moral principle, the categorical imperative?

4. Explain Kant’s use of the first form of the categorical imperative to argue that it is wrong to make a false promise. (Make sure that you do not appeal to the bad consequences as the basis of judging it wrong.)

5. According to the second form of Kant’s categorical imperative, would it be morally permissible for me to agree to be someone’s slave? Explain.

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