Philosophy 160


Links:  Assignments and Study Guides

            Class Outlines

            Quizzes etc.

            Terms, Concepts to Know

Sample Mid-Term Exam


Phil. 160 Introduction to Ethics Spring 2011

Instructor: Dr. Norman Lillegard

Office:  H 229    881 7384

Office Hours:  10-ll am TTH and by appointment.

Text: The Moral Domain (In UC and Bradley)



Course Requirements:

!               Attend class and participate, do the readings, do all written assignments, pass the exams. One mini-exam, worth 60 pts.  Two exams. (multiple choice, T/F, see sample exams on web page). First exam worth 120 pts, Final exam is comprehensive, worth 180 pts. Total, 360 pts.

!               Quizzes: there will be frequent (once a week or so) unannounced quizzes. Missed quizzes cannot be made up. Each quiz will be worth 6 – 12 points, and will consist of multiple choice and T/F questions.  Total, 90-120 pts. One half of the quiz points are extra credit.

!                Study guides are due from time to time.  They must be turned in when due. They are worth about 100 pts total (10-20 pts each) which is nearly %20 of the grade, therefore it is essential that they be completed and turned in on time. One purpose of the study guides is to prepare you for classes. Therefore late guides do not serve one of the main purposes.  Consequently, guides turned in one class late can receive partial credit only provided you have a legitimate excuse. No guide will be accepted at all, for any reason, more than one class late.

!               Attendance.  Regular attendance and informed participation in class are essential since (a) not everything covered in class is included in the text (b) you will need help with this material, and that is what class sessions, and the instructor, are for. 40 points.

Extra Credit:  There are three ways to earn extra credit: 1. Half the quiz points are extra credit. 2. Carefully prepared study questions can earn extra points. 3. Reports on selected films viewed outside of class can earn some points.

Total points ca. 550.  Normally %90 of total points gets you an 'A', %80 a 'B' and so forth, but significant adjustments for curve are made when necessary.


The purpose of the study guides is threefold:

1.To ensure that you actually read the assigned texts, and read them carefully;

2. To assist you in developing capacities for close reading of difficult texts (development of reading comprehension);

3. To help you determine what parts of the texts give you the most difficulty. 

#3 will be realized if you come to class prepared to ask about study guide questions which you could not figure out or are very unsure of, AFTER you have made a reasonable effort. Reading the text once does not generally constitute a reasonable effort if you find yourself "stopped" by a question.  You may need to go over parts of a text several times, make notes on it, and THINK about it.  If, having done that, you still do not "get it" then you should bring up that question in class.

What the study guides are NOT for: The study guides are not intended to serve as review material, though you can use them for that purpose if you think it will be safe.



Rules for Preparation of the guide;

            1. Guides must be prepared on 8.5 x 11 sheets, printed from a PC.

            2. you must clearly  indicate what chapter and what question you are answering. If you are answering question 2 in ch. 3, you MUST label it clearly, in bold, with ‘3.2’ i.e. chapter number, then question number.

            3. Multiple sheets must be stapled together or in a folder.

How the Study Guides are Graded  The guides are graded generously. If your answers indicate that you have indeed read the material and made a genuine attempt to understand, you will generally get some credit even if your answers are wrong! Exceptions would be very simple questions, including many of the fill-in-the-blank questions, which may be graded more strictly.




 Access the link for the Phil. 160 web page through the UTM page (click on faculty staff, then on faculty web pages) or by using this address directly:  There you will find a glossary, some sample quiz and exam material, and links to other helpful sites. I do not use blackboard. Everything you need will be on the 160 web page. If you use the internet on your own, understand that it contains an enormous amount of trash and may mislead as much as or more than it may help.



Class Conduct, Instructor's Role, etc.  What I Expect of Students.

Academic Integrity:  Any form of cheating, on study guides, quizzes, or exams, will result in an ‘F’ for the entire course. NO EXCEPTIONS.  Policies regarding academic integrity are further detailed in the student handbook. Cheating includes plagiarism. DO YOUR OWN WORK.


Cell Phones:  phones must be OFF during classes. You may not make ANY use of cell phones during any exam or quiz.. Use of cell phones in such circumstances counts as cheating and results in an F for that exam


Class format: Classes will consist of a mixture of lecture and discussion. Feel free to interrupt with questions. Always do so by raising your hand. Acknowledgment may not always be immediate but it will come. Try to keep your remarks relevant. Listen respectfully to other students even if you think they are “way off.”  They might be doing better than you think!


You may leave class only in an emergency, or when you have made an arrangement ahead of time with the instructor. Otherwise, if you leave class you will be counted absent, no matter how soon you return.


THE PURPOSE OF THIS COURSE  is to help you develop the capacity to READ difficult texts with COMPREHENSION, and to THINK CRITICALLY about ethical concepts and issues which should be of concern to all thoughtful persons and which have figured prominently in the history of ethical reflection up to the present. The figures and texts we study will be your guides, but they are not infallible oracles. Take seriously what careful thinkers say, but do your own thinking too!!

   You will be tested on critical reading and critical thought, on your understanding of the issues raised by the figures you study, your ability to respond relevantly to arguments, and to identify salient historical/philosophical facts.



Course Outline: (subject to adjustments)

Week I. Jan 18: The moral domain. Relativism. Tolerance, diversity etc. The inevitability of Moral Judgment

Week II Jan 25.  Goodness, reason and tragedy, moral truth.  

Week III Feb. 1: Goodness, reason, communal norms etc.

Week IV Feb. 8: The good life, reason and virtue (Aristotle) Mini exam, TH. Feb. 10. 

Week V Feb. 15: Virtue and happiness (Aristotle, cont. )

Week VI Feb. 22: Religion and Ethics. Natural law.  

Week VII Mar. 1: Wisdom and Folly. The principle of double effect. Divine commands.

Review. MIDTERM EXAM, TH Mar 3.  

Week VIII.  Mar.8, Evil, a-moralism, vice.

      Mar. 14-20 SPRING BREAK

Week IX. Mar. 22, Continue week VIII

Week X. Mar. 29 Egoism, Altruism. Sociobiology, etc.

Week XI Apr  5: Feeling, Reason, and Morality (Hume)

Week XII Apr 12: Reason and Duty (Kant)

Week XIII Apr.19: Rightness, Reason and Consequences (Mill)

Week XIV Apr 26: Reviving Virtue Ethics   Virtues and tradition.   

                  Apr. 28  Review. 

            Monday,  May 2, last day of classes.

            FINAL EXAM – Mon May 9th, 10-12 a.m.



1. I have read and understand the rules for class conduct and agree to abide by them.

2. I understand the purposes of the Study Guides, and that Study Guides must be handed in

When due, that any Study Guide handed in one class late for a legitimate reason will be accepted,

but with a loss of %10 of the points, and that no Study Guide will be accepted  more than one week

 after the due date.

3. I understand that quizzes will be unannounced,  and cannot be made up, and that most of them

 will be based on material covered in part of a study guide.

4. I am able to access the Phil. 110 web page, and will use it to keep track of assignments, and for study and review purposes.

5. I own my own textbook and dictionary and will bring them to every class.

6. I have read and understand the list of requirements for this course, consider them fair, and will do my best to fulfill them.


Signed ______________________________________________  Circle the number that corresponds to your class meeting time:  11:00, 1:00 


Print your name _________________________________________________






            Note: all questions to be answered are in ITALICS in this text.

            Week I

            by Jan 20,

Read                           Answer

p. 1-17                         questions 1:1 (p.2)and 2 thru 14.  (questions 4 and 5 overlap)


            Week II

            by Jan 25,

Read                           Answer

p. 17-31                       questions 1:16, 18 thru 29, 31 thru 32

            by Jan 27,

p. 32-54                       questions 2:1 thru 2:17.


Extra Credit : Questions for Antigone film:

            1. What do the sets and costumes in this production suggest about Creon and the character of the state that he rules?

            2. What are some features of this play that show that Sophocles is NOT a relativist?


            Week III

            by Feb 1,

Read                           Answer

p. 54-59                       ques. 2:18- 25

            by Feb 3,

64-66 (Taylor)         ques. 2:37


        Week IV

Read                       by Feb. 8

p. 68-88                   ques. 3:1-24


        Week V

Read                       by Feb. 15

p. 89-97                   ques. 3.25-52


                                by Feb. 22

p. 97-99                   ques. 3:53-59

p. 100-02                 ques. 3:61-64


        Week VI

Read                       by Mar. 1

107-27                     ques. 1-24


        Week VII

                                By Mar. 8

127-39                     ques 25-36

144-48                     ques 42-52.


        Week VIII

Spring break


        Week IX

Read                       by Mar.22

149-153                   q. 1-4

160-63                     q. 16-23


Read                       by Mar 24

166-73                     q. 29, 31-45


        Week X

Read                       By Mar. 29

174-188                   q. 1-11

                                By Mar. 31

188-199                   q. 12-32


        Week XI

Read                       By Apr 5

201-208                      37-47

                                By Apr 7

209-218                     1-11

221-224                   16-18  

        Week XII

Read                       by Apr 12

229-247                   Ques. 1-29

                                By Apr 14

249-259                   Ques. 35-54                           


        Week XIII

Read                       By Apr 19

262-276                   ques 1-17       

                                By Apr 21

285-289                   ques 30-36

291-294                   ques 38-44


        Week XIV

                                Apr 26

295-307                   ques. 1-12

                                By Apr 28

314-316                   ques. 25-28




Terms and concepts: (understand the following terms /ideas)


Test 1: Relativism (individual and cultural); the ‘extraterrestrial position’; thin and thick moral concepts; amoralism; moral incommensurabilities; tragic dilemmas; ‘scientific’ ethics; agent centered and act centered ethics; Aristotle’s definition of virtue, and proper function.


Mid Term Exam: Test I terms, plus, teleology in ethics; practical wisdom vs. ‘ethical science’; moral education (Aristotle); eudaimonia; acting in the ‘mean’; reason as substantive in ethics vs reason as merely instrumental in ethics; facts vs. values; autonomy and moral education; law in Xtian scriptures; in Aquinas- eternal law, natural law, divine law, human law; natural law vs. relativism; sins of the patriarchs.


Remainder of semester:

wisdom vs. folly (Aquinas, Stump); principle of double effect; deontology; divine command ethics; Euthyphro dilemma; duty in Stoicism; duty in the Baghavad Gita; natural evil; different kinds of wickedness (conscientious etc.); evil and bureaucracy; banality of evil; natural law and state of nature in Hobbes; egoism; altruism; the prisoner’s dilemma; sociobiology and ethics; sucker/free rider; rational choice theory; self love, benevolence, particular and general affections, hedonistic paradox, (Butler); feelings vs. reason,  emotivism; projectivism; duty, the categorical imperative vs inclination in Kant; persons as ends or as means; act utilitarianism; hedonistic calculus (Betntham);  rule utilitarianism; higher and lower pleasures;  virtue theory and tradition/narrative; community and ethics; the people of Le Chambon.



                        Phil 160 Quizzes


T or F


1. It follows logically that if two cultures, A and B, have different standards of right and wrong, then there can be no universal (cross-cultural) standards of right and wrong.



In one place, men feed upon human flesh. In another, it is reputed a holy duty for a man to kill his father at a certain age. Elsewhere, the fathers dispose of their children while yet in their mothers’ wombs, some to be preserved and carefully brought up, and others to be abandoned or made away. Elsewhere the old husbands lend their wives to young men . . .

2. #I is

            a. a quote from Montaigne

            b. supposed to support cultural relativism

            c. supposed to support the idea that moral principles are the same for all people

            d. none of these

            e. a and b.


Quiz 1 (9/8)


1. Differences in moral beliefs prove relativism.


2. People who are immoralists (deny any need to follow moral rules) are often people who want to stress individual freedom, according to Midgeley.


Multiple choice:

3. Some apparent moral differences are in fact differences in

            a. religious beliefs

            b. scientific beliefs (beliefs about how the world works)

            c. particular circumstances

            d. all of these separately or in combination.


Qz II 9/15


1. The UN Declaration of Universal Rights obviously involves a relativist view of morality.


2. The following are “thick” moral concepts:

            a. right

            b. wrong

            c. immoral

            d. none of these

            e. a and b.



3. The “extraterrestrial position” is 

            a. the attempt to avoid morality altogether

            b. the moral position of extraterrestrials

            c. may involve “false universality”

            d. a and c


Quiz III (9/22)

1. In Sophocle’s Antigone a conflict arises between duties to God and duties to the state.


2. Plato’s notion in the Protagoras is that ethical disputes

            a. could be resolved by a kind of calculating

            b. arise due to the fact that some people are ignorant or stupid

            c. could never be resolved

            d. a and b.


3. The ‘ring of Gyges’ is a famous wedding ring.



QZ IV 9/29

1. Aristotle treats ethics as discussion of the highest good for humans.


2. Aristotle thinks that a human being is functioning in the way proper to a human when he/she is

            a. following the best desires

            b. using reason to guide all desire, feeling and          activity

            c. in good bodily health

            d. none of these


3. A virtue, in Aristotle, is a kind of power or strength or excellence.



Qz V (10/6)

1. Aristotle thinks of practical wisdom as being like

            a. what Plato thought it was in his dialogue Protagoras

            b. an exact system for calculating how to act

            c. something that is acquired largely through contact with good examples

            d. none of these.


2. Both Aristotle and Aquinas claim that good community is essential to human fulfillment.


3. According to Aristotle, a virtue is a disposition to choose the mean relative to oneself, therefore Aristotle is a relativist.



Qz VI (10/13)

1. Natural law is that part of  eternal law that can be known apart from revelation, through conscience.


2. Aristotle and Aquinas both think about the good teleologically, i.e. in terms of what would fulfill a person’s human nature.


3. The following would be morally permissible, on some version of the principle of double effect:

            a. bombing a munitions factory and unintentionally killing some civilians living nearby

            b. executing an innocent person with the intention of saving the lives of thousands of other people

            c. removing a uterine cancer and killing a fetus in the process

            d. a and c.



Qz. VII (10/22)

1. According to Scotus, what makes an action right is simply that God has commanded it.


2. The death camp doctors came to believe that what they were doing was right, by

            a. being stupid

            b. paying attention to certain facts and completely ignoring others

            c. taking a path that fit with their ambitions

            d. b and c.


3. The Bhagavad Gita is part of the scriptures of Hinduism.



Qz VIII (10/27)

1. Dostoevsky’s Ivan (in The Brothers) seems to think that evil deeds fit into God’s ultimate harmonious plan for the universe.

2. Camus claims that in the long run there must be political solutions to human evil.

3. Camus seems to hold

            a. that there are no values common to all people

            b. a position Montaigne also held

            c. that there are truths of general moral significance

            d. all of these



Qz IX  (11/3)

1. According to Hobbes,

            a. reason tells us that justice is valuable in itself

            b. reason can help us to figure out how to get what we instinctively want

            c. reason can tell us what is the best way to survive

            d. b and c.


2. The relationships between the boys in Lord of the Flies comes to resemble what Hobbes calls ‘the state of nature.’


3. In Hobbes’ account, there would be no industry, arts, or science in the ‘state of nature.’



QZ X (11/10)

1. Butler argues that

            a. selfishness should be distinguished from self-love

            b. self love could include love of others

            c. self love is not a “particular affection”

            d. all of these.


2. A society consisting of human beings with no rules against lying would not be a viable society.


3. The prisoner’s dilemma shows that in many situations a society of rational egoists cannot maximize their own interests.


Qz.XI (11/17)


1. Huck Finn has feelings about people that

            a. have been learned from his culture

            b. seem to be instinctive or natural

            c. motivate him to act in a way we would consider right

            d. all of these.


2. An emotivist claims that ethical utterances such as “murder is wrong” are

            a. merely expressions of feeling

            b. are neither true nor false

            c. have no cognitive significance

            d. all of these.


3.  According to Hume, the entire basis for morality lies in

            a. reason

            b. feeling or sentiment

            c. a combination of reason and feeling

            d. none of these.



QZ XII (11/24)


1. Kant agreed with his predecessors that moral acts are motivated by desires or inclinations.

2. If it is your duty to do X, then you should decide to do X only if it pays or has good consequences.


3. Dr. Whortle says that ‘he could not bring his conscience and his inclination to come square together’  In this quote

            a. it appears that ‘conscience’ represents ‘duty’

            b. it appears that ‘inclination’ represent what a person wants or desires

            c. Dr. Whortle is referring to his desire to keep Peacocke on as a teacher

            d. referring to his sense that he must dismiss Peacocke

            e. all of these.



Qz. XIII Dec. 1


1. Kant probably thinks that even though someone who feels generous and sympathetic feelings when helping someone in need, is admirable for that reason, that admiration is not moral admiration.


2. Mill argues that

            a. we should always weigh the consequences of our actions when deciding what action would be right

            b. we should weigh the consequences of acting one way rather than another when the moral rules conflict

            c. there are no moral rules

            d. all of these.


3.  Utilitarians appear to have a problem with

            a. justice

            b. the nearly universal sense that certain actions, such as enslaving another person, are always wrong (unjust), no matter what the consequences

            c. the fact that acting unfairly is wrong even if doing so makes everyone happy

            d. all of these.




QZ. XIV (Dec. 8)

1. According to MacIntyre, human lives have a narrative form, and are therefore well represented by stories, sagas, etc.


2. The upper class society in which Lily Bart lives emphasizes

            a. justice

            b. equality for women

            c. the idea that a ‘good’ marriage requires love

            d. all of these

            e. none of these.


Quizzes key



                        Class Outlines    Phil 160  Intro. to Ethics.


·        ETHICS in the news.   Examples





·        Ethics NOT in the news. Examples






The SHEER SIZE of it.






Philosophers have sometimes tried to offer specific advice or views on what sorts of conduct or character traits should be counted as good or bad, morally praiseworthy or blameworthy. Normative ethics addresses such matters. But it is perhaps more typical of philosophers in particular that they should expend a lot of energy trying to answer such questions as the following when doing ethics;

          1. Is there really such a thing as moral knowledge , as opposed to opinion?


          2. If there is moral knowledge, how is it acquired? Could the use of reason unclouded by feelings lead to moral knowledge, or are feelings required for such knowledge?


          3. Are there important differences between disagreements about morals and disagreements about history or science or how long it takes to drive from Boston to New York City?



          4. Assuming that moral beliefs are really beliefs, that are either true or false, what makes them true or false? Do they reflect facts of nature? Are they true because they originate in a God who is the source of all truth? Are they about properties that are directly perceptible?



          5. If there is no such thing as moral knowledge, then what am I doing when I claim that it is “true” that the shedding of innocent blood is wrong?  That certainly sounds like a knowledge claim.



          6. What are the relationships between ethics and the rest of culture? Are my beliefs about right and wrong “merely” a cultural inheritance and might they have been quite different if I had been born in a different time or place?


          These and related questions belong to what is sometimes called metaethics. They arise in attempts to reflect systematically about ethics, rather than within it, so to speak. Answers to them do not necessarily help us in our quest for moral advice.



Orienting Questions, Initial Reactions

1. Do you think it is wrong to judge other people’s conduct? Your own conduct?


2. Is there something about moral judgments or claims that makes them “subjective” or “just a matter of opinion?”  Does it follow that we should keep our moral judgments to ourselves?



3.  Do you believe that there are any “moral universals,” that is, moral claims or judgments that apply to all people at all times?  For example, is it always, at all times and places, wrong to kill an innocent person just for the fun of it? Discuss some other possible examples.



4. You have heard people (maybe yourself!) say that morality is “all relative” and may have said or thought similarly yourself.  What does that mean? What reasons could be given for thinking it is true?



5. Apparently the Aztecs thought that human sacrifice was permissible, and perhaps even a duty. Do you think the Aztecs were wrong? Immoral? Or were they simply different?  Explain your view, and relate your answer to question #4. 



What is this story about?


Does Ivan NOT know something everyone else knows, or does he KNOW something that others fail to know?


If Ivan knows something others fail or refuse to know, HOW does he know it?

Protagorean Relativism

Protagoras is perhaps best known for the following remark:


A human being is the measure of all things; of the things that are, that they are, and of the things that are not, that they are not.


To say that a human being is the measure of all things could be to say that each individual person is the measure or standard or norm for what is true or right. That would be individual relativism. If something is sweet to me, then it is sweet (to me), and if the same thing is sour to you then it is sour (to you). There does not seem to be any truth of the matter beyond the truth “for the individual.” or “relative to” the individual. Can we extend that way of thinking to moral differences also? Could it be that child abuse is right (for me) and wrong (for you)?


(I0) What does Protagoras mean by “measure” in the statement quoted above?


          It is also possible that Protagoras wanted to say that human groups or cultures provide the measure or standard for what is right or wrong. In that case he would have been following his Greek predecessor, the historian Herodotus, who declared that “custom is King,” or the Greek poet Pindar, who is cited by Montaigne in the next selection. Herodotus thus held a form of cultural relativism, the view that standards of right and wrong are simply matters of custom which vary from one culture or historical period to another, and that these differences are on the same level as differences in dress or table manners. 2000 years after Herodotus we find the French thinker Michel de Montaigne proposing a very similar view.


Montaigne: Custom is King

Montaigne, who lived in an age of world exploration (the 16th century), was aware of differences in morals among remote peoples,  and, like the sophists of old, became skeptical about the possibility of finding stable moral norms or fixed moral truths. In his Essais he reports on some of those differences.


{begin line}

In one place, men feed upon human flesh. In another, it is reputed a holy duty for a man to kill his father at a certain age. Elsewhere, the fathers dispose of their children, while yet in their mothers’ wombs, some to be preserved and carefully brought up, and others to be abandoned or made away. Elsewhere the old husbands lend their wives to young men; and in another place they are in common, without offence. In one place particularly, the women take it for a mark of honor to have as many gay fringed tassels at the bottom of their garment, as they have lain with several men.

{end line}


Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: aztec sac

Here is another example, not from Montaigne. The Aztecs reportedly sacrificed some 20,000 human beings a year, in a violent ceremony.  If someone did “this” now, it would be a crime. They seemed to view it as an obligation!


“This” = what?


Montaigne does not consider himself to be simply telling interesting stories about people who have bizarre conceptions of morality. Instead, he intends to show how custom totally dominates our lives. If we think that somehow morality comes from a fixed natural order of things, or from God, or from universal rational norms, then we are sorely mistaken: morality rests on custom and nothing more.


{begin line}

To conclude, there is nothing, in my opinion, that she [i.e., custom] does not, or may not do; and, therefore, with very good reason it is, that Pindar calls her the queen, and empress of the world. He that was seen to beat his father, and reproved for so doing, made answer, that it was the custom of their family: that, in like manner his father had beaten his grand father, his grandfather his great-grandfather, “and this,” says he, pointing to his son, “when he comes to my age, shall beat me.” The laws of conscience, which we pretend to be derived from nature, proceed from custom; everyone, having an inward veneration for the opinions and manners approved and received amongst his own people, cannot, without very great reluctance, depart from them, nor apply himself to them without applause. [From Essays, “Of Custom”]

{end line}




Given the sorts of differences mentioned by Montaigne, what should we infer? Montaigne  inferred that morality is “just a matter of custom,” and that appears to imply that it is not something about which there could be any objective truth. What is moral truth for me might be falsehood for you. Even if I feel strongly that the Colonel’s beating of the Tarter was cruel, perhaps it is just a custom in his profession. What is right for me or my group, might be wrong for you or your group. Customs are human inventions which can be changed anytime. On this view beating ones father is on the same level as wearing whatever style of clothing is customary, or keeping the salad fork on the outside, or driving on the right side of the road. “Custom” includes manners, all sorts of local traditions and, on this view, moral (or “immoral”?) practices as well .

          There are also indications of individual relativism in Montaigne. He claims that he has found in himself a “ruling pattern” according to which he lives. He does not suppose that his pattern should fit anyone else. Another person might guide their life according to a very different “pattern.”

          If Montaigne and Protagoras are right, it follows that any attempt to inquire into ethics, in an attempt to find correct  answers to questions about the best way to live or act, must be a waste of time. There could be no correct answer, no best way. There are simply lots of different ways, and there is no way to compare them, no single measure to use in determining which “measures up” or constitutes “the best.”  Each human, or each culture, is itself the measure for itself. Another way to put this view is as follows: morality is relative to particular individuals or to particular societies or historical eras.

Though this view, called, naturally enough, relativism,  has been around for thousands of years,  in recent years various versions of it have become very popular, partly for reasons discussed below.  In the following selection American philosopher James Rachels attacks relativism.


(10) Where Protagoras or Montaigne say that morality is a matter of custom, Ivan’s friends in Tolstoy’s story might say morality is a matter of ______________.



Rachels: Against Relativism


James Rachels (b.I941) was University Professor of philosophy at the University of Alabama. He is the author of several books on applied ethics. He has held the position that philosophy can give genuine guidance in dealing with ethical dilemmas.


Rachels argues that the initial plausibility of relativism disappears upon closer examination.


{begin line}

... Cultural Relativism, as it has been called, challenges our ordinary belief in the objectivity and universality of moral truth. It says, in effect, that there is no such thing as universal truth in ethics; there are only the various cultural codes, and nothing more. Moreover, our own code has no special status; it is merely one among many.

          As we shall see, this basic idea is really a compound of several different thoughts. It is important to separate the various elements of the theory because, on analysis, some parts turn out to be correct, while others seem to be mistaken. As a beginning, we may distinguish the following claims, all of which have been made by cultural relativists:


1. Different societies have different moral codes.

2. There is no objective standard that can be used to judge one societal code as better than another.

3. The moral code of our own society has no special status; it is merely one among many.

4. There is no “universal truth” in ethics; that is, there are no moral truths that hold for all peoples at all times.

5. The moral code of a society determines what is right within that society; that is, if the moral code of a society says that a certain action is right, then that action is right, at least within that society.

6. It is mere arrogance for us to try to judge the conduct of other peoples. We should adopt an attitude of tolerance toward the practices of other cultures.

{end line}


(I0) Rachels gives six claims or ideas commonly expressed by cultural relativists; the first two are the most important. Statement number ______ makes a simple factual claim; statement number _____ goes beyond reporting facts and makes a philosophical claim.


I. Moral relativism – two kinds.


                   a. Sextus – there is nothing good by “nature” (cf x is cold)


                   b. Montaigne – “Custom” is king.


                   c. the pattern of argument in Sextus and Montaigne:

          i. people have varying moral customs (beliefs, standards).


ii. there are no objectively right  moral customs (beliefs, standards).

Ques. Does ii follow from i?


          d. ii does not follow deductively from i. But i might give inductive support to ii.

                   1. Moral disagreements are not like disagreements in the sciences, for example.  In what way?


II. Against Relativism (Rachels)

          a. relativist ideas are expressed in a variety of ways: (add your own)



          b. the “cultural differences argument” is unsound.  An argument from analogy: state it!




          c. Some (bad)consequences of taking cultural relativism (CR) seriously.

                   1. If CR is true, we could never condemn the practices of a different society.  So, is that so bad?




          2. If CR is true, we can determine what is right or wrong just by consulting our social rules. Examples:


So what?




          3. If CR is true, there can be no such thing as moral progress. Why not?

So what?


d. Cultural relativists overestimate the moral differences between cultures. Examples;


e. All cultures (societies) have some moral beliefs in common. Examples:


How come?


          But surely it is always wrong to make moral judgments? (how come?)

          1. What do the stories show?


                   a. false universality p. 18


                   b. immoralist moral reformers (what about the joker?(Batman))


          2. The concern for freedom and privacy  p. 21



          3. Problems with knowledge, in general, and in ethics particularly.

                   i. can’t know

                   therefore can’t judge


          a. relation of 2 to 3. Entangled.

Since no knowledge, no grounds for infringing on freedom.


p. 19  It is not possible to be so detached.


          1. do q. 23.



          2. Accepting differences –






          What does the word mean?


Multiculturalism –





Thick Ethical Concepts.



The possibility of real moral disagreement.


Chinese cat-skinners





Cf. the U.S. declaration of independence (Obama)


          1. similarities


          2. differences


                   One (or more) way(s) of grounding ethical claims.




What is THE question?

          Focus on discrete actions

          Focus on character


Antigone –

          1. When duties conflict, then what?

                   a. Duty to family, brother


                    b. to larger community


                   c. Duty to “God” or some higher source of obligation?


Antigone associates duty to family with a higher duty, the requirements of the Gods. (cf. UN Declaration)


Such duties override all others.  But, there is also the emotional attachment.





Trying to come to grips with

          a. tragic dilemmas

          b. sophistic relativism


1. The Euthyphro

          What sorts of disagreements provoke fighting?  How come?



2. The Protagoras

          a. getting rid of tragic dilemmas by denying that there are moral incommensurabilities.

                   i. how do that? Find a single metric




                   ii. “pleasure” will work. All pleasures are “commensurable”  Explain.


                             a. to act rightly is to act so as to maximize pleasure. E.g.


                             b. to act wrongly is to miscalculate pleasures. E.g.


                             c. miscalculating is a kind of stupidity or ignorance. So acting wrongly is simply a kind of stupidity or ignorance.


Virtue=knowledge. Vice=ignorance.


          REALLY?    Puzzle of the ‘akratic.’


3. The Republic

          1. Moral truth exceeds everything this worldly, including pleasure.


The sun: beyond this world (earth) but the source of all life etc.

 The Good: beyond this world (universe) but the source of everything that is real.

          Problem: what motivates anyone to do what is good, if goodness is beyond this world?  Why be just, for example, if it gives no advantage in THIS world? (Annas, Murdoch)


          2. Why be moral? The ring of Gyges.

Body Heat.





Asking THE question:


Ethical “science”’ Aristotle vs. Plato

Political “science”


Whatever the answer, it must take account of “what people aim at.” A ‘teleological’ account of the good life. (telos) For surely people aim at the good (as they, rightly or wrongly, conceive it).


1. The aim is something desired for its own sake. Otherwise?


          Examples of things desired as means and of things desired for their own sake.


2. Common views on the “aim” or goal.

          A. Happiness (eudaimonia)


                   i. Desired for its own sake.  Not a means to anything.


                   ii. Problem: what IS it?

                   Common views


3. Happiness and proper and excellent functioning.

          a. A “good” x is one that performs its proper function well. Examples.



          b. Do human beings (‘mankind’) hav e a proper function? If so we could figure out what a ‘good’ human being (life) is. 

                    i. how to answer this


Fill in the summary of ch. I, on p. 80


4. The concept of a virtue:

          a. a disposition


                   i. to feel, act, choose

                             a. feeling and pleasure


                   ii. the mean


          b. what the “mean” means (and doesn’t mean)

          c. perceptiveness, salience etc.


5. How you get the virtues

          Cf. questions  (also 79,1)


6. Choice

          a. the voluntary – actions that originate in the agent. Cf. modern determinism.

                   i. involuntary acts involve regret

                             a. in between cases – dumping cargo.

                   ii. what about actions done

                             in ignorance-e.g. when drunk

                             through ignorance-particular circumstances


          b. choice and deliberation

                   choice=df deliberative desire


                   cf. q.

                   a. choice and character -


7. examples (joking etc.)

                   a. the sheer size of morality



8. Practical wisdom

                   a. a master virtue


                   b. opposed to technicians. Cf. modern technicians.


                   c. the wise persons pursuit of happiness  

                             i. no method


                   d. facts and values

                             i. reason as instrument

                   e. reason and teleology



9. Incontinence - ???


10. Friendship – kinds

                   a. the best kind 126)

                   b. its importance for the good life, its ties to community (politics)


                   c. friendship and virtue  -


11. Aristotle on ethical “science” (Nussbaum)

                   a. vulnerability


12. Moral education and autonomy


13. Friendship

                   a. self knowledge

                   b. vulnerability




Orienting Questions

The rise of universities and the Scholastic method     

1. Aquinas – natural law.

          a. The idea of “law” not prominent in Plato/Aristotle. Law presupposes a law-maker.

          b. Theistic views have a “lawmaker” in God.

2. Reason/Law – connection between Aquinas and Aristotle

          a. it belongs to reason to command

                   i. reason is superior in a human, by nature (think of Aristotle), therefore fit to command.


                   ii. only the commands of reason make real law, as opposed to conventions (which may be bad, wrong etc).

                             1. consider all the bad laws. Are they all unreasonable?


                   iii. that is because reason, as in Aristotle, orders activity towards a proper end.   The commands of reason “direct to the (proper, real) end” (teleology) (149) so they CAN’T be bad.


3. Law is directed to the COMMON good. This also fits with Aristotle.

          a. the proper end is life-in-community.


4. Promulgation – law requires it. This fits to the theistic conception.

          Def. of law =

          The obvious question: where (when, by whom) was it promulgated? See reply to Obj. 1


5. Kinds  of law

          Eternal law

          Natural law

          Human law

          Divine law


          a. eternal law-God is “ruler of the entire universe”

                   i. the “community” of the universe?


          b. natural law – notice Rom. 2..14.

                   i. notice the “strict notion” of law as requiring reason for “participating in”


          c. human law – why do we need it?

Because natural law provides only general principles. For the actual conduct of daily communal life, we need lots of detail.

                   i. human law consists of inferences from, and specifications of, natural law.

          e.g. Do good avoid evil



          Be sociable



          ii. again, relation of human law to “custom”


          d. Divine law – why do we need IT?

                   Four reasons

                   q. 9


          e. The natural law is the same for all (anti relativist; note reply to obj. 3 in art. 4)


                   i. both with respect to rectitude and knowledge  =



                   ii. particular inferences vary  e.g.


                   iii. the various origins of differences in custom or belief

                             a. permissible differences in details

                             b. circumstances


                             c. corruption



          f. How it can change.

                   Note esp. Art 5, Obj. 2 and the reply!!!



6. The principle of double effect.

          a. is it ever permissible to kill a person?

                   i. the three conditions (do q. 22) and Aq version


          b. the A version;

 for any action X, X is morally permissible on the principle of double effect iff

          i. X is itself morally good or neutral

          ii. the bad effect must not be the means by which the good effect is brought about

          iii. the motive for X must be the bringing about of the good effect only

          iv. the good effect must be at least equivalent in importance to the bad effect


Problem: what is ‘x itself’?  Actions can come under many descriptions.

Apply to various cases of abortion, euthanasia.


Notice that in applying iv, you do not have to ask about ‘happiness, well being’ etc.

The ‘Pauline’ principle. What is it?

Does it lie behind each of i-iv?


Double effect and utilitarianism.

           X is wrong no matter what, vs. X is wrong unless it brings about the best overall effects.


Warfare and Murder: what actions of killing innocent persons in warfare could be justified using the principle of double effect?

Cf. Hiroshima vs. bombing a munitions factory.


Most justifications are in fact utilitarian or consequentialist.



7. Wisdom and folly:

          a. wisdom is a “gift”  (therefore not available to unbelievers?)


          b. you can better see what wisdom is by considering folly

                   i. dullness, unresponsiveness to justified criticism (Turner, the death camp doctors)

                   ii. the fool has misprogramed his own intellect. Stangl, etc.   Illustrate how that is done.



Commands and obligations

          The good vs. the obligatory.

Something might be good, but not be obligatory.  Examples.

Something might be obligatory, but not be good.  Examples.

Scotus vs. Aquinas? – the obligatory vs. the good. (Does Aquinas think some actions are absolutely wrong?)


Deontology and the obligatory.  Deon=what must be. As opposed to ‘consequentialism.’

X is obligatory vs. X has the best overall consequences.

What makes any action obligatory? 

                   X was promised.

                   X is commanded by someone in a position to command.


Well, who IS in a position to command?



Perhaps Hitler’s commands do not produce MORAL obligations. Perhaps they do not produce any obligation at all?


Surely God’s commands DO generate MORAL obligations.

But there is a problem with God’s commands.


1. cf. the Euthyphro dilemma


2. Duns Scotus

          a. God can will anything except contradictions


          b. compare the Abraham story to ps. 1.


          c. will vs. intellect (Scotus vs. Aquinas)


3. Voluntarism –

          a. Scotus and Luther


          b. how do you get rid of the arbitrariness problem?

                   i. maybe by stipulating that only the commands of a GOOD God obligate.

                             a. the social nature of obligation


                             b. the relationship and social bonds to God.



The Bhagavad Gita

          How to live without being torn apart by moral conflicts. (cf. Antigone)

Arjuna and Krishna (the god).

Your dharma  is what is required (deon) or obligatory, with NO view to consequences.  Like Divine Command ethics in that respect.

(compare to right moves in a game, or a ritual. No REASON need be given for saying the move is ‘right.’)

That person acts rightly who becomes

          a. detached (from results for example)

          b. one with God.


The Stoics: The wise grieve neither for the living nor the dead (Gita 2).  Emotion is the enemy in the ethical life.


God is directing a great drama. Accept your role!

          Focus only on what is in your control. What is?


          Conform yourself (your desires, needs, etc.) to what happens. For God wills it.  

If you only desire what actually happens, you will never be disappointed!!!

Epictetus (50-130 CE)

Kiss your wife. How, with what in mind?

Conform yourself to nature. What is nature? A divine order or logos.



Orienting questions; 1, 2, 4, 5.

Plato, Aristotle, (Aquinas). The Good can (will?) triumph.  REASON is on the side of the good. And reason can (does?) have the upper hand in humans.


Dostoevsky; irrational wickedness. Cruelty for no “reason.”

The “harmony”??



Once again, evils that seem irrational. But, there is a setting that encourages evil acts.

          Bureaucracy – efficiency

          Abstraction (means what?) q. 17

          Contemporary examples –


           and abstraction – illustrate – kinds of “groups” that replace real individuals


What Camus cannot accept – 162

What he affirms nonetheless -


Politics – “unfit” to solve human problems  163


Kinds of evil, and wickedness


Evil = in nature, due to frustration of basic needs, etc.  An animal dying of thirst. A child dying of a terrible disease.


Evil as wickedness:

          Wickedness = evil in persons, (not just acts). Q. 29.

          Self centered forms of wickedness=

Knowing that others count, but ignoring their interests anyway.


Conscientious wickedness – following an “ideal” without remorse . (cf. Camus)

Suppose the ideal is a good one.

          Such a person is still dangerous;



Heteronomous wickedness  (Autonomous)



Malignity – not motivated by what is seen as good.  Cf. the Socratic view. Irrationality of SPITE. Claggart.


Cf. Socrates: virtue is knowledge, vice ignorance. A person who does evil must think it good in some sense.


Benn: Socrates does not recognize malignity.



q. 37


The Banality of evil;(Arendt)


q. 39


Self deception:

Strategies for keeping up a good self image:

Remedies: friends?  Cf. Aristotle.

(Dis)advantages of friends in self examination.


Vice and punishment p.172









          1. Is Lord of the Flies a parable of “how it really is with people?” If so, how is it, really?

                   a. The dominant motives are . . .




                   b. the only way to prevent chaos is thru the imposition of law by force . . .Cf. Glaucon/Thrasymachus in Plato’s Republic.

                   i. think about Ralph and Jack



                   ii. think about Piggy


                   iii. what about the conch?


                   iv. what about the naval officer?


          2.The Confucian dispute on human nature- inherently evil, or inherently good?

Mencius –goodness is inherent. When people do what is not good, they are acting against nature.

People are naturally sympathetic, naturally feel shame, reverence and other moral feelings.

‘Heaven’ implants a kind of natural law, ‘rules of nature’



Goodness is ‘artificial.’ The result of training that goes ‘against the grain.’

The superior or well trained person follows good customs, but only as result of ‘hard training.’




2. Hobbes:  human nature and “Laws of Nature”  People are . . .


          a. The state of nature – a state of war;

          in such a state life is  ____, _____, ___, _____, and _______.

          No one can “win” because?

          Facts that prove we could be in such a state.


          b. three factors that cause “quarrel”




          c. What does “justice” amount to in such a state of nature? Cf. 191 194.  cf. Piggy


          d. There is thus a motive for replacing it with a contract and law.  “Reason” suggests convenient articles of peace.


They are “laws of nature” Such as

                   i. seek peace


                   ii. be willing to lay down the state-of – nature “rights” when others do also

i.e. enter a “SOCIAL CONTRACT”


                   iii. KEEP the contract


But . . .how can I trust others to do the same? I can ONLY WHEN there is a

COERCIVE POWER. Prior to that, there is no right, wrong, just, unjust.


          “Injustice” = violating the contract


          Justice= a rule of reason. Reason tells me what is necessary for peace, survival.


          Reason is concerned only with MEANS.


          e. The WHOLE OF MORALITY consists in these laws.

          Compare to Plato, Aristotle, Aquinas, Scotus.


Summing up: Egoism and altruism

                   a. Hobbes – egoism

                             1. Pity – rooted in?

                             2. Charity – rooted in?

                             3. Tautological egoism (metaphysical)

                             4. Psychological egoism


                   Ques. How should one respond to a.3? a.4?


          3.  Butler – self love and altruism are compatible

                             a. self love is a “general affection” – a desire for ?


                             b. love of others (altruism) is a particular affection

                                      a. examples of particular affections.

                             c. the “hedonistic paradox”


                             d. confusions about the relations between self love and happiness, egoism, selfishness.

                                      i. “benevolence” (love of others) may actually increase happiness in benevolent person.


          4. Butler and Browne 236





          6. Self interest, cooperation, and the Prisoner’s dilemma.  See the chart, p.239.


                   a. one cannot maximize self interest without cooperation.


                   b. looking out for #1 gets in the way of looking out for #1!!


                   c. in fact people do cooperate. Are they “irrational.”? 

                                      i. the problem of free riders

                   and suckers.


                                      ii. Once again, rationality is pitted against the common good. Compare to Aristotle, Aquinas.


                   d. saving cooperation thru repeated PDs.


          7. A biological version of the PD.

          Does nature select cooperators, or egoists?  


                   a. natural selection operates on genes, and only individuals have genes.


                             i. individual fitness


                             i. inclusive fitness


                   b. how free riders get dumped: inclusive fitness and tit for tat.  Repeated PD.


          7. Broadie on an Aristotelian view of egoism , reason and justice.


Ch. VII Reason, Feeling, and Morality


          1. Huck Finn

                   a. What Huck KNOWS

                             What Huck FEELS  p. 251


                   b. It appears that some of his feelings are natural, i.e. not the result of training.          

                             i. what might BE the basis for his feelings towards Jim?


                             ii. Conscience, thought, feeling



          2. Hume: there has been a controversy


                   a. what exactly IS it?  Compare aesthetic and moral responses.



                   b. Evidences of a role for reason


                   c. evidences of feeling as necc and suff.

                             i. reason is “cool” 215

                             ii. what is not unreasonable!

                             iii. anti relativism

                             iv. moral sentiment compared to sense of beauty.


                   d. utility and reason - 216     

                             i. knowing what to do to get a useful result

                             ii. feeling that it IS useful


                   e. reason cannot motivate to action.


                   f. projectivism – 217


                   g. Is – Ought  p. 218. q.12


          3. Emotivism and prescriptivism


                   a. hurrah x

                       do x


                   b. non statemental uses of language

                   c. objections to emotivism – 221


1.If beating cats is cruel, beating Tabby is cruel

2.beating cats is cruel

3. beating Tabby is cruel.


If I am standing on the bank, the river is near

I am standing on the bank

The river is near


          4. Morality and Sentimentality

          Bennet on Himmler, Edwards, Huck.

          Types – 222-23

                   a. who is worse, Himmler or Edwards, the Walrus or the carpenter?




          5. Projectivism – Blackburn  q. 19

                   i. thin and thick concepts again. Cf. p. 29-30





The claims of duty in Trollope’s story. Put aside how you feel, do what is right, dismiss the bigamist!!  But . . . .


          1. Duty and the”must” (deontology)


          2. Immanuel Kant


                   a. opposition to Aristotle


                   b. to Aquinas etc.


                   c. to Hobbes


                   d. to Hume


          The main issue – duty vs. “inclination.”


          3. The categorical imperative version 1.

                   Categorical and hypothetical imperatives

                   a. The golden rule



                   b. “law” and impartiality


                   c. law and consistency


                             i. consistency and contradiction


                   d. what about conflicting duties


          4. Categorical imperative version 2

                   a. using people (cf. q.17)


                   b. making objects of people


          5. The notions of freedom=dignity=law=consistency=



Further Discussion


          1. Sorell: natural goodness – what ARE our intuitions? What DO we admire MORALLY?

                   i. cf. Aristotle’s great souled man

                   ii. Hume’s kindly peasant


          2. Kant on Sex, using people, objectifying people.  The freedom-dignity-autonomy issue.


                   i. marriage as the solution (?)p.251

          3. Singer’s response-

                   i. manipulation outside of marriage not inevitable

                   ii. ‘autonomy’ not limited to contracts.


          4. Kant on treatment of animals: animals have no interests or rights. But be kind to them, or you may end up being cruel to people. “Indirect” duties. Moral education and principles.

                   i. Regan: not so. It is obvious that animals can feel pain.


          5.       (Kohlberg). Problems with “directive moral education.”

                   i. if education follows natural development, there will be no violation of “autonomy.”


                   ii. what is the natural development? K’s stages, p.255


          5. Gilligan--male bias in Kohlberg. But, Cf. Aristotle, and the woman quoted on 256-57



Orienting questions.

          Reason, Consequences, Social Engineering

          1. Raskolnikov as social engineer


                   a. “arithmetic” 266-67


                   b. problem; what are we adding up?

                   c. problem; contingency

                             i. foreseeable, but not forseen, consequences.


          2. Mill –

                   a. actions are right in proportion as they tend to promote ----?


                   i. “consequentialism”

                   ii. kinds of pleasures (pains)


                   b. “higher pleasures”  How decide which are higher?


                             i. the Hyacinth problem



                   c. rejection of virtue theory – what ultimately matters is actions. Remarkable claims on p.276


                             i. nobleness of character and individual vs. overall happiness (q. 12).  Aristotle: I cannot achieve happiness while ignoring society.


                             ii. good character producing bad actions – examples

and vice versa.


                   d. rule utilitarianism


          3. Criticism-q.17


                   a. Jim case – how should I regard it (not just, what should I DO). Q. 18


                   b. George case- q.19



          4. Defense – Hare

                   a. contrived and unrealistic examples


                   b. consider situations where training, rather than calculating, comes into play.

                             i. how would a good utilitarian train up a child?



Virtues and traditions (MacIntyre).


Orienting questions


Wharton; a failed life.  How come?

          a. Virtues and the good for a whole life (the nature of a virtue).


          b. human action embedded in  story or narrative q. 85

                   1. learning to live virtuously through learning stories.


          c. “quests” as searches for the good of a “whole life.”

          d. virtues, communal stories, and community.


          e. virtues, “practices” and traditions. Cf. the virtues of a chess player and the “good” that is pursued. Cannot exist without that “practice” or game.


          f. illustration: the people of Le Chambon.  Notice the adjectives used to describe these people. Notice how they describe themselves.


                   Relevant concepts:

                   1. virtue (got it?)

                   2. a “whole life”

                   3. a whole life and narrative

                   4. learning to live (well or badly, virtuously or viciously) from examples, including those given in communally shared stories, traditions.

          Notice: 2 and 1 are “made for each other.” 3 is made for 2. 4 for 3. All are to be understood in relation to one another.


Planned Parenthood vs. Casey 1992

These matters involving the most intimate and personal choices a person may make in a lifetime, choices central to personal dignity and autonomy, are central to the liberty protected by the Fourteenth Amendment. At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life. Beliefs about these matters could not define the attributes of personhood were they formed under compulsion of the state.


A false dilemma? What about “community”?



I mentioned to a friend that I thought the vote in Switzerland and the defense of the crucifix in Italy were perhaps part of a piece, signs that, in spite of much evidence to the contrary, the peoples of Europe apparently still believed in the potency of Christian symbols. He responded that these protests had little to do with religion, only about culture. But isn’t that the point? Religion does not exist without culture and culture is a carrier of religion. When Christianity first came to northern Europe in the early middle ages, conversion meant a change of public practice and the creation of a new public space, in architecture, law, calendar, language, communal rituals, et al.

For the Swiss, erection of minarets taller than church steeples would alter the skyline of cities and towns, visibly severing links to the past. The construction of minarets was seen as an assault on memory and memory is attached to things. Without memory a people have no sense of who they are. In Italy the assault on memory had to do with the central Christian symbol in the west. In a historic Christian culture wrote Barbieri, “the symbol of a naked, suffering, unjustly condemned man in whom all that is good and worthy of worship and respect . . . is centered, is buried deep in their souls.” In Italy even atheists and Communists respect the Crucifix “because it means so much about the condition and value of a man.”

The issue is not human rights or religious freedom, but respect for cultural traditions and fealty to those who have gone before. There is no reason to think that prohibiting the erection of minarets in Swiss cities will jeopardize the rights of Muslims to practice their religion. But if a society loses all memory of its Christian traditions, there is a real question whether those things that made Western civilization unique will endure. Juergen Habermas once wrote: “Christianity and nothing else, is the ultimate foundation of liberty, conscience, human rights and democracy, the benchmarks of Western civilization. To this we have no other options. We continue to nourish ourselves from this source. Everything else is postmodern chatter.”

Robert Louis Wilken, a member of the editorial ­advisory board of First Things, is the William R. Kenan Jr. Professor Emeritus of the History of Christianity at the University of Virginia.







Exam I


1. If someone believes in relativism then they cannot consistently believe in moral progress.

2. Plato pursued a “science” of ethics.

3. Midgeley thinks it is OK to make moral judgments.

4. Aristotle is more interested in the morality of particular acts than in character.

5. Aquinas and divine command moralists agree that what is right is right simply because God wills it.

6. Thick ethical concepts have a lot of descriptive content.

7. Although the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights does not mention God as the source of rights, many of the rights enumerated have been emphasized by political movements with religious roots.

8. Aristotle argues that young people are not likely to have highly developed virtues.

9. The ring of Gyges was a ring that made it possible to move at great speeds.

10. Sophocles obviously believes that all values are commensurable.



Multiple Choice

11. The following would be examples of “thick” ethical concepts

            a. wrong

            b. cruel

            c. morally right

            d. none of these

12. The following are conclusive reasons for believing relativism is correct:

            a. different cultures have conflicting views on right and wrong

            b. moral judgments are impossible

            c. no one can give anyone else moral advice

            d. none of these.

13. Aquinas thinks that “real” law

            a. is directed to the common good

            b. ultimately emanates from the supreme ruler of the entire universe

            c. includes natural law

            d. all of these.

14. “Teleological” is an adjective used to describe

            a. explanations in terms of aims or goals

            b. Aristotle’s account of goodness in terms of flourishing or fulfillment

            c. mechanistic explanations

            d. a and b.

15. Tolstoy’s After the Ball is a story that supports

            a. relativism

            b. the view that the dominant moral conventions of a society are usually morally good

            c. the view that people can discern cruelty, hypocrisy etc. on their own

            d. all of these.


Study the following numbered quotes, and answer the questions about each of them


#I.        "If it was done with such assurance and everyone thought it was necessary, then they must have known something I didn't," was what I thought, and I tried to find out what it was. But I couldn't, no matter how hard I exerted myself. And since I couldn't, I couldn't join the army as I'd planned to, and not only did I not join the army, I couldn't find a place for myself anywhere in society, and ended up being no good for anything, as you can see.'

'Oh yes, we know all about how you're no good for anything,' said one of us. 'But tell us: how many men would be no good for anything if it weren't for the likes of you?'


16. This quote is from

            a. a story by Tolstoy

            b. a story that expresses the idea that morality is all relative

            c. a story that makes plausible the idea that moral beliefs are merely a product of    local cultures

            d. all of these.

17. The main character, who is the ‘I’ in this quote

            a. is unable to “fit in” to societal norms and ideas of right and wrong

            b. has himself been changed for the better by his own experience

            c. has a good moral influence on others

            d. all of these.


#II       In one place, men feed upon human flesh. In another, it is reputed a holy duty for a man to kill his father at a certain age. Elsewhere, the fathers dispose of their children, while yet in their mothers’ wombs, some to be preserved and carefully brought up, and others to be abandoned or made away. Elsewhere the old husbands lend their wives to young men; and in another place they are in common, without offence.


18. this quote from Montaigne is supposed to support

            a. ethical/cultural relativism

            b. the claim that infanticide is considered right in all societies

            c. the idea that old husbands are very generous

            d. none of these.

19. This quote is the beginning of an argument

            a. that concludes that morality is relative to certain cultures

            b. that is deductively valid (the conclusion is established with certainty by the truth of the premises)

            c. that is commonly used by anti-relativists

            d. all of these.


#III      Consider the following: its [the UN Declaration of Rights] pervasive emphasis on the "inherent dignity" and "Worth of the human person"; the affirmation that the human person is "endowed with reason and conscience"; the right to form trade unions; the worker's right to just remuneration for himself and his family; the recognition of the family as the "natural and fundamental group unit of society" entitled as such to "protection by society and  the state"; the prior right of parents to choose the education of their children; and a provision that motherhood and childhood are entitled to "special care and assistance."

            . . .where did the politicians get their ideas about the family, work, civil society, and the dignity of the person? The answer is: mainly from the social encyclicals Rerum novarum (1891) and Quadragesimo anno (1931) [documents of the Roman Catholic Church]. And where did the church get them? The short answer is that those encyclicals were part of the process through which the church had begun to reflect on the Enlightenment, the I8th-century revolutions, socialism, and the labor question in the light of Scripture, tradition, and her own experience as an "expert in humanity."


20. This quote suggests that

            a. there are no universal rights

            b. the rights mentioned are based on atheist assumptions

            c. there is no answer to the question ‘where do these rights come from?”

            d. none of these.

21. The suggestion here is that many of the things considered to be “rights”

            a. actually have a religious basis

            b. have come to be matters of concern largely due to Christian teachings

            c. are of concern to everyone even though they are based on religious teachings

            d. all of these.


#IV      Suppose now that there were two such magic rings, and the just put on one of them and the unjust the other; no man can be imagined to be of such an iron nature that he would stand fast in justice. No man would keep his hands off what was not his own when he could safely take what he liked out of the market, or go into houses and lie with any one at his pleasure, or kill or release from prison whom he would, and in all respects be like a God among Then the actions of the just would be as the actions of the unjust; they would both come at last to the same point. And this we may truly affirm to be a great proof that a man is just, not willingly or because he thinks that justice is any good to him individually, but of necessity, for wherever any one thinks that he can safely be unjust, there he is unjust. For all men believe in their hearts that injustice is far more profitable to the individual than justice, and he who argues as I have been supposing, will say that they are right. If you could imagine any one obtaining this power of becoming invisible, and never doing any wrong or touching what was another’s, he would be thought by the on-lookers to be a most wretched idiot.


22. In this quote the speaker is arguing that

            a. virtue is its own reward

            b. people are all self seeking; they put themselves first and moral considerations are ignored or given second place

            c. a reasonable or rational person will ignore the rules of justice when he thinks he can get away with it

            d. b and c.

23. This argument

            a. makes reference to “the ring of Gyges”

            b. represents a view presented by some sophists

            c. denies any intrinsic value to such rules as ‘do not steal’

            d. all of these.


#V _[Euthyphro:]  Yes, I should say that what all the gods love is pious and holy, and the opposite which they all hate, impious.

            [Socrates:]  Ought we to enquire into the truth of this, Euthyphro, or simply to accept the mere statement on our own authority and that of others? What do you say?

            [Euthyphro:]  We should enquire; and I believe that the statement will stand the test of enquiry.

            [Socrates:]  We shall know better, my good friend, in a little while. The point which I should first wish to understand is this:

            Is the pious or holy beloved by the gods because it is holy, or,

            Is it holy because it is beloved of the gods?


24. Socrates presents a dilemma which

            a.  might be restated as “either what is right is commanded by the Gods because it is right, or what is right is right because the Gods command it”

            b. may upset the attempt to base ethical beliefs on the will of God

            c. has become famous in the history of philosophy

            d. all of these. 

25. This dilemma IS a dilemma because most people

            a. would be uncomfortable or could not accept the idea that there is a standard higher than God that God must consult in determining what is right or wrong

            b. would be uncomfortable or could not accept the idea that merely because God (or anyone else) commands something, that automatically makes it right

            c. there is no third alternative between that mentioned in a and b

            d. all of these.


#VI      Dwellers by the house of Cadmus and of Amphion, there is no estate of mortal life that I would ever praise or blame as settled. Fortune raises and Fortune humbles the lucky or unlucky


26. The stress on “fortune” or “luck” in this remark

            a. would offend Plato

            b. is typical of the tragic poets

            c. is not compatible with the idea that anyone who is virtuous can have the best kind of life

            d. all of these.

27. This quote stresses

            a. the vulnerability of human life

            b. something that Aristotle tried to acknowledge in his Ethics]

            c. something that Plato stressed in the Republic\

            d. a and b.


#VII    It is therefore evident that, as regards the general principles whether of speculative or of practical reason, truth or rectitude is the same for all, and is equally known by all. As to the proper conclusions of the speculative reason, the truth is the same for all, but is not equally known to all: thus it is true for all that the three angles of a triangle are together equal to two right angles, although it is not known to all. But as to the proper conclusions of the practical reason, neither is the truth or rectitude the same for all, nor, where it is the same, is it equally known by all. Thus it is right and true for all to act according to reason: and from this principle it follows as a proper conclusion, that goods entrusted to another should be restored to their owner. Now this is true for the majority of cases: but it may happen in a particular case that it would be injurious, and therefore unreasonable, to restore goods held in trust; for instance, if they are claimed for the purpose of fighting against one’s country. And this principle will be found to fail the more, according as we descend further into detail, e.g. if one were to say that goods held in trust should be restored with such and such a guarantee, or in such and such a way; because the greater the number of conditions added, the greater the number of ways in which the principle may fail, so that it be not right to restore or not to restore.

            Consequently we must say that the natural law, as to general principles, is the same for all, both as to rectitude and as to knowledge. But as to certain matters of detail, which are conclusions, as it were, of those general principles, it is the same for all in the majority of cases, both as to rectitude and as to knowledge; and yet in some few cases it may fail, both as to rectitude, by reason of certain obstacles (just as natures subject to generation and corruption fail in some few cases on account of some obstacle), and as to knowledge, since in some the reason is perverted by passion, or evil habit, or an evil disposition of nature; thus formerly, theft, although it is expressly contrary to the natural law, was not considered wrong among the Germans, as Julius Caesar relates (De Bello Gall. vi).

28. Aquinas is arguing here that

                        a. there is a single natural law that applies to all people

                        b. there may be variations in what is right that arise from particular circumstances

                        c. even though there is a single natural law for all people, it is not always known   

                        by all people

                        d. all of these.

29. Aquinas’ position here

                        a. shows how to avoid relativism while admitting the existence of moral diversity

                        b. includes the idea that some moral diversity may be due simply to the fact that   

                        some people (some cultures) are immoral or have immoral practices

                        c. allows that there are exceptions to the general principles of natural law

                        d. a and b .








Qz Key

Qz 1.

1. F


3. D


QZ 2

1. F

2. D

3. D


QZ. 3

1. T

2. D

3. F


QZ 4

1. T

2. B

3. T


QZ 5

1. C

2. T

3. F


Qz 6.

1. T

2. T

3. D


QZ 7

1. T

2. D

3. T


QZ 8

1. F

2. F

3. D


QZ 9

1. D

2. T

3. T


QZ 10

1. D

2. T

3. T



QZ. 11


2. D

3. B


QZ 12

1. F

2.  F

3.  E


QZ. 13

1. T

2.  B

3.  D


QZ 14

1.  T

2.  E

3.  E























Key exam I

1. T

16. A

2. T

17. D

3. T

18. A

4. F

19. A

5. F

20. D

6. T

21. D

7. T

22. D

8. T

23. D

9. F

24. D


25. D

11. B

26. D

12. D

27. D

13. D

28. D

14. D

29. D

15. C



Phil 160  Final 


True (a) or False (b)

1. Aristotle argues that morality is all relative.

2. The UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights implicitly draws upon religious sources.

3. Critics of utilitarianism sometimes claim that it would condone enslaving a few to increase the overall happiness.

4. Aquinas argues that all that can be known about right and wrong is directly revealed by God and thus can be known only by religious believers.

5. Kant claims that sexual activity is essentially manipulative.

6. According to Kant, the thing that has the most moral worth in a person is such feelings as kindness, generosity, etc.

7. Hume claimed that reason can motivate people to act morally.

8. Projectivists argue that such moral properties as goodness and cruelty are actually found in good actions, cruel actions, etc.

9. If Huck Finn had not given in to his natural feelings he would not have acted morally.

10. Raskolnikov thinks, at times, like a utilitarian social reformer.

11. Hobbes thought that our moral beliefs arise naturally in a state of nature.

12. One problem with Kant’s account of the basic principles of morality is that he does not seem to show us how to resolve conflicts of duties.

13. The central concept in Aquinas’ natural law ethics is the concept of duty.

14. The principle of double effect is a utilitarian principle, since it tells us that some actions are wrong in themselves.

15. If in the process of removing a uterine cancer a doctor killed a fetus, he would not be guilty of murder, according to one version of the principle of double effect.

16. A strict utilitarian might consider feeding the hungry to be a strict duty.

17. The principles of natural law, according to Aquinas, are highly specific guides to human law.

18. Midgley argues that even though moral judgments are sometimes to be avoided due to incomplete knowledge, it cannot always be wrong to make such judgments.

19. Hume claims that purely rational considerations cannot motivate us to act one way rather than another.

20. Butler and Hobbes agree that all human actions are selfishly motivated.


Multiple choice (choose the BEST answer)

21. Antigone appeals to a higher law for human beings

            a. that can overule particular human laws

            b. that could be accounted for by Christian thinkers like Aquinas

            c.  so as to make all human law worthless

            d. a and b.

22.  Kant tries to show that  the categorical imperative

(A)requires a kind of rational consistency

(B) has nothing to do with getting the best results

(C) is a sure test for the morality of any action

(D) all of these

23.  Gilligan argued that

            a. women focus more on abstract principles of justice and rights than men do

            b. women are more concerned with caring and responsibility than with non-interference

            c. theories of moral development which focus on males sometimes give a biased      account of what             moral maturity amounts to

            d. B and C.

24. Moral education in public schools, according to Sher and Bennett

            a. does not have to interfere with autonomy

            b. can actually lead to greater autonomy in adulthood

            c. could rightly include teaching specific Christian moral ideals

            d. all of these

            e. a and b.

25. The “Hyacinth problem” is a problem that arises

            a. in utilitarianism as Mill formulates it

            b. due to Mill’s drawing a distinction between higher and lower pleasures

            c. for people who reject elitist views of society but have elitist views about    pleasures

            d. all of these.

26. The conflict between Ralph and Jack (in Lord of the Flies) could be taken to illustrate

            a. Hobbes’ idea that moral relations only exist where there is a powerful enforcer     of the   law

            b. Mill’s idea that moral agreement is possible provided consequences are     calculated correctly

            c. Kant’s idea that all rational beings can recognize and act on a fundamental            principle of morality

            d. Butler’s idea that selfish motives will always eventually get the upper hand

            e. a and b.

27. Plato tried at one point to provide a moral “calculus”

            a. in which all values are ultimately commensurate

            b. that can eliminate tragic dilemmas

            c. that requires attention to such things as mistaken judgments about pleasure

            d. all of these

28. The prisoner’s dilemma illustrates the fact that

            a. self interested rational choosers cannot always achieve the result that self-interest would prefer

            b. rational choice, understood in a more or less Hobbesian sense, cannot achieve      certain “public goods”

            c. all rational choosers only look out for #1

            d. a and b.

29. Aquinas accounts for some differences in moral beliefs between some cultures by

            a. pointing out that in some cultures reasoning about the implications of natural         law       may be more accurate than in other cultures

            b. pointing out that some cultures have become corrupted to the point where they     are no longer aware of the natural law

            c.  pointing out that the further we descend from the principles of natural law to specific      applications, such as in deciding how much to punish certain crimes, the            greater the        diversity is likely to be

            d. all of these

            e. none of these. 

30.  Among ancient and medieval thinkers deontology is best represented by

            a. Aristotle

            b. divine command moralists

            c. Kant

            d. none of these.

31. Hare would agree with Mill that

            a. morally right actions are those that are intrinsically good

            b. early training into habits of action that generally have high utility can fill the gap   when there is not time to calculate consequences

            c. I do not always have time to calculate the consequences before I act

            d, all of these

            e. b and c.

32. Since Aristotle thinks that all actions aim at some good, and that good is happiness, he apparently

            a. agrees with Mill that right actions are those that increase overall happiness

            b. disagrees with Mill, since he thinks of happiness not as pleasure but as optimal     human functioning

            c. is a consequentialist

            d. all of these.


Study the following quotes, and answer the questions that follow:


#I  "Man and generally any rational being exists as an end in himself, not merely as a means to be arbitrarily used. . ."

33. # I appears to be arguing that

            (a)such things as slavery are permissible

            (b)nobody should ever use anybody

            (c)nobody should ever use a person merely  as a means

            (d)everyone has a right to do whatever they want

34. #I obvious reflects the thinking on morals of



            (c) Duns Scotus

            (d) none of these



I speak of moral virtue, as it is moral virtue which is concerned with emotion and actions, and it is these which admit of excess and deficiency and the mean. Thus it is possible to go too far, or not to go far enough, in respect of fear, courage, desire, anger, pity, and pleasure and pain generally, and the excess and the deficiency are alike wrong; but to experience these emotions at the right times and on the right occasions and towards the right persons and for the right causes and in the right manner is the mean or the supreme good, which is characteristic of virtue. 

            Similarly there may be excess, deficiency, or the mean, in regard to actions. But virtue is concerned with emotions and actions, and here excess is an error and deficiency a fault, whereas the mean is successful and laudable, and success and merit are both characteristics of virtue. It appears then that virtue is a mean state, so far at least as it aims at the mean.

35.  This quote is an expression of

a. the Aristotelian idea that virtue is a disposition to choose the mean

b. the Platonic idea that virtue is a matter of contemplation of the form of the Good

c. the Humean idea that virtue is a matter of detachment

d.  none of these.

36.  If #II is a good account of virtue then

a. a person who is addicted to the pleasures of sleeping late could not be virtuous

b. a person who is willing to do just about anything could be courageous

c. virtue has to do not just with actions but with feelings

d. A and C.


III It is not contrary to reason to prefer the destruction of the whole world to the scratching of my finger. It is not contrary to reason for me to choose my total ruin, to prevent the least uneasiness of an Indian or person wholly unknown to me. It is as little contrary to reason to prefer even my own acknowledged lesser good to my greater, and have a more ardent affection for the former than the latter. A trivial good may, from certain circumstances, produce a desire superior to what arises from the greatest and most valuable enjoyment. Nor is there anything more extraordinary in this than in [the field of] mechanics to see [a] one pound weight raise up a hundred by the advantage of its situation [such as by a lever]. In short, a passion must be accompanied with some false judgment in order to its being unreasonable.

37. What is being claimed here is that

            a. reason cannot decide about what is valuable

            b. reason plays no fundamental role in the formation of ethical ideals and beliefs

            c. reason is always “cool” and disengaged from action

            d. all of these

            e. A and B.

38.  The author of XII

            a. holds to the view that there is necessarily a great gap between facts and values

            b. would agree with the authors of #III, #VI and #XIII about the substantive role       of reason in ethics

            c.  does not agree with Aristotle that reason is required for determining the ends        of action as well as the means to any end

            d.  does not agree with David Hume

            e.  A and C.


#IV. To this war of every man against every man, this also is consequent, that nothing can be unjust. The notions of right and wrong, justice and injustice have there no place. Where there is no common power, there is no law; where no law, no injustice. Force and fraud are in war the two cardinal virtues. Justice and injustice are none of the [instinctive] faculties, neither of the body nor mind. If they were, they might be in a man that were alone in the world, as well as his senses and passions. They are qualities that relate to men in society, not in solitude. It is consequent also to the same condition, that there be no propriety, no dominion, no mine and thine distinct; but only that to be every man’s that he can get, and for so long as he can keep it.

39. The author of #IV

            a. evidently believes that prior to the existence of particular communities with particular       laws, nothing is unjust, not even murder or theft.

            b. would agree with Aquinas that all humans have written in their consciences the     immutable laws of God

            c. is Hobbes

            d. a and b.

            e. a and c

40. The author of #IV

            a. would agree with Thrasymachus in Plato’s Republic, who argued that someone with          the ring of Gyges would have no reason whatsoever to refrain from crime

            b. is describing what he calls the “state of nature”

            c. is a kind of social contract theorist

            d.expresses a view that seems to correspond to the views of Jack in Golding’s  Lord of         the Flies

            e.all of these.


V  Happiness or satisfaction consists only in the enjoyment of those objects which are by nature suited to our several particular appetites, passions, and affections. So that if self-love wholly engrosses us, and leaves no room for any other principle, there can be absolutely no such thing at all as happiness, or enjoyment of any kind whatever, since happiness consists in the gratification of particular passions, which supposes the having of them. Self-love then does not constitute this or that to be our interest or good; but, our interest or good being constituted by nature and supposed, self-love only puts us upon obtaining and securing it.

41. #V is

            (a) part of an argument against Hobbesian egoism

(b) an argument which shows that the view that all our actions are selfishly motivated is confused

(c) an argument against self love

(d) all of the above

(e) a and b.

42. #V depends upon the conceptual point that

(a) self-love is not a “particular affection” but rather a good way of seeing to the satisfaction of particular desires, interests, etc.

(b) if the only thing a person “loved” were themselves, they would not be able to be happy, since in order to be happy I must be getting satisfaction from something that interests me, and that means, something besides just “me”

(c) the notion that one could love oneself and not love or care about anything else is nonsense, since loving oneself requires at a minimum that I satisfy some desire or inclination for some particular thing (and the self is not “some particular thing”)

(d) all of these.


#VI  "Listen, I want to ask you a serious question," the student said hotly. "I was joking of course, but look here; on one side we have a stupid, senseless, worthless, spiteful, ailing, horrid old woman, not simply useless but doing actual mischief, who has not an idea what she is living for herself, and who will die in a day or two in any case. You understand? You understand?"


"Yes, yes, I understand," answered the officer, watching his excited companion attentively.


"Well, listen then. On the other side, fresh young lives thrown away for want of help and by thousands, on every side! A hundred thousand good deeds could be done and helped, on that old woman's money which will be buried in a monastery! Hundreds, thousands perhaps, might be set on the right path; dozens of families saved from destitution, from ruin, from vice, from the Lock hospitals--and all with her money. Kill her, take her money and with the help of it devote oneself to the service of humanity and the good of all. What do you think, would not one tiny crime be wiped out by thousands of good deeds? For one life thousands would be saved from corruption and decay. One death, and  a hundred lives in exchange--it's simple arithmetic! Besides, what value has the life of that sickly, stupid, ill-natured old woman in the balance of existence! No more than the life of a louse, of a black-beetle, less in fact because the old woman is doing harm. She is wearing out the lives of others; the other day she bit Lizaveta's finger out of spite; it almost had to be amputated."


"Of course she does not deserve to live," remarked the officer, "but there it is, it's nature."


"Oh, well, brother, but we have to correct and direct nature, and, but for that, we should drown in an ocean of prejudice. But for that, there would never have been a single great man. They talk of duty, conscience--I don't want to say anything against duty and conscience;--but the point is, what do we mean by them?



43. The student who is speaking in this passage

            a. thinks that the good consequences of an act of murder might morally justify that   murder

            b. suggests that having a bad conscience about killing an innocent person might be old          fashioned prejudice, which those who are “great men” should overcome

            c. sounds like a social reformer

            d. all of these

44. The argument in this passage

            a. sounds a lot like utilitarian reasoning

            b. sounds like the view that the end justifies the means

            c. sounds like one that Williams would accept

            d. all of these

            e. a and b.



According to the Greatest Happiness Principle, as above explained, the ultimate end, with reference to and for the sake of which all other things are desirable (whether we are considering our own good or that of other people), is an existence exempt as far as possible from pain, and as rich as possible in enjoyments, both in point of quantity and quality; the test of quality, and the rule for measuring it against quantity, being the preference felt by those, who in their opportunities of experience, to which must be added their habits of self-consciousness and self-observation, are best furnished with the means of comparison. This, being, according to the utilitarian opinion, the end of human action, is necessarily also the standard of morality: which may accordingly be defined, the rules and precepts for human conduct, by the observance of which an existence such as has been described might be, to the greatest extent possible, secured to all mankind; and not to them only, but, so far as the nature of things admits, to the whole sentient creation.

45. The argument given here concludes that

            a. the single standard of morality is utility

            b. claims that the aim of all our actions is our individual happiness

            c. understands happiness as Aristotle understood it

            d. all of these.

46. The argument in #VI includes the claim that

            a. some enjoyments are higher in quality than others

            b. the only judge of which are higher would be someone who had those higher         enjoyments, as well as “lower” ones, and could thus compare them

            c. if some action tends to promote happiness for as many people as possible, that action is   morally the right one

            d. all of these.

            e. a and b.


VIII  . . .if I yield myself completely to another, and obtain the person of the other in return, I will win myself back; I have given myself up as the property of another, but in turn I take that other as my property, and so win myself back again in winning the person whose property I have become.  In this way the two persons become a unity of will (Lectures on Ethics).

47. These remarks about marriage are

            a. obviously from Mill

            b. obviously from Kant

            c. obviously from Aristotle

            d. all of these



48. The author of #VIII

            a. thinks that the unity of will supposedly found in marriage rules out the possibility of         using the person to whom one is united as a means

            b. thinks that by identifying myself with my spouse I cannot, by definition, override her       freedom

            c. thinks that only in marriage can one avoid violating the categorical imperative when          engaging in sexual relations.

            d. all of these

            e. none of these.


IX.    William Graham Sumner summarizes the essence of Cultural Relativism. He says that there is no measure of right and wrong other than the standards of one’s society: “The notion of right is in the folkways. It is not outside of them, of independent origin, and brought to test them. In the folkways, whatever is, is right.”

            Suppose we took this seriously. What would be some of the consequences?

            1. We could no longer say that the customs of other societies are morally inferior to our own. This, of course, is one of the main points stressed by Cultural Relativism. We would have to stop condemning other societies merely because they are “different.” So long as we concentrate on certain examples, such as the funerary practices of the Greeks and Callatians, this may seem to be a sophisticated, enlightened attitude.

            However, we would also be stopped from criticizing other, less benign practices. Suppose a society waged war on its neighbors for the purpose of taking slaves. Or suppose a society was violently anti-Semitic and its leaders set out to destroy the Jews. Cultural Relativism would preclude us from saying that either of these practices was wrong. We would not even be able to say that a society tolerant of Jews is better than the anti-Semitic society, for that would imply some sort of transcultural standard of comparison. The failure to condemn these practices does not seem enlightened; on the contrary, slavery and anti-Semitism seem wrong wherever they occur. Nevertheless, if we took Cultural Relativism seriously, we would have to regard these social practices as also immune from criticism. . . Cultural Relativism would not only forbid us from criticizing the codes of other societies; it would stop us from criticizing our own. After all, if right and wrong are relative to culture, this must be true for our own culture just as much as for other cultures.

49. Rachels is arguing here that if cultural relativism is correct

(a) it would be impossible to criticize the values and practices of any society.

            (b) there would be transcultural standards of conduct

            (c)  we could still criticize and improve the moral practices of our own culture

            (d) .all of these.

50. The argument in IX

            (a) is part of a larger argument against the viability of relativism

            (b) is an attack on a view some versions of which are now very popular

(c)  attacks a view which is sometimes expressed by such sayings as ‘you should never judge others’ or ‘ what is right for me might be wrong for you’  or ‘it all depends on your point of view’

            (d) all of the above.


#X  [Socrates:] The point which I should first wish to understand is this:

Is the pious or holy beloved by the gods because it is holy, or,

Is it holy because it is beloved of the gods?

51.  The dilemma stated here is known as

            a. the piety dilemma

            b. the Euthyphro dilemma

            c. the utility dilemma

            d. none of these.

52. This dilemma suggests a difficulty

            a. for any view that ties moral beliefs to religion

            b. that arises when we realize that if something is right simply because God says so, then      anything, including killing innocent children, could possibly be right

            c. that arises when we realize that if God wills what is right because it is right, then there       is some standard of rightness higher than God’s own will

            d. all of these.



"a fool is one whom shame does not incite to sorrow, and who is unconcerned when he is injured." Stultitia [Folly] seems to take its name from "stupor"; wherefore Isidore says (Etym. x, under the letter of S): "A fool is one who through dullness [stuporem] remains unmoved." And folly differs from fatuity, according to the same authority (Etym. x), in that folly implies apathy in the heart and dullness in the senses, while fatuity denotes entire privation of the spiritual sense. Therefore folly is fittingly opposed to wisdom.

53. This account of what it is to be a fool

            a. fits certain war criminals who show no shame when their deeds are brought to light

            b. fits stupid people generally

            c. claims that there is no difference between being a fool and being fatuous

            d. all of these.

54. According to Stump, what we have here is a good description of

            a. Ike Turner

            b. people who gradually become accustomed to doing evil, to the point where they don’t      care anymore that that is what they are doing

            c. anyone who disobeys the ten commandments

            d. a and b.



'It seems a shame,' the Walrus said,

    'To play them such a trick,

After we've brought them out so far,

    And made them trot so quick!'


The Carpenter said nothing but

    'The butter's spread too thick!'

'I weep for you,' the Walrus said:

    'I deeply sympathize.'


With sobs and tears he sorted out

    Those of the largest size,

Holding his pocket-handkerchief

    Before his streaming eyes.


55. Carroll is here satirizing

            a. people who pig out on shellfish

            b. sentimentalists

            c. walruses

            d. none of thee

56. The serious moral point suggested by XII is that

            a. feelings count for nothing if they are disengaged from corresponding actions

            b. a Humean stress on feelings as the sole source of morality lends itself to self deception

            c. there is a strong sense of duty that always follows upon sympathy

            d. all of these

            e. a and b.



2. Another finds himself forced by necessity to borrow money. He knows that he will not be able to repay it, but sees also that nothing will be lent to him unless he promises stoutly to repay it in a definite time. He desires to make this promise, but he has still so much conscience as to ask himself: “Is it not unlawful and inconsistent with duty to get out of a difficulty in this way?” Suppose however that he resolves to do so: then the maxim of his action would be expressed thus: “When I think myself in want of money, I will borrow money and promise to repay it, although I know that I never can do so.” Now this principle of self-love or of one’s own advantage may perhaps be consistent with my whole future welfare; but the question now is, “Is it right?” I change then the suggestion of self-love into a universal law, and state the question thus: “How would it be if my maxim were a universal law?” Then I see at once that it could never hold as a universal law of nature, but would necessarily contradict itself. For supposing it to be a universal law that everyone when he thinks himself in a difficulty should be able to promise whatever he pleases, with the purpose of not keeping his promise, the promise itself would become impossible, as well as the end that one might have in view in it, since no one would consider that anything was promised to him, but would ridicule all such statements as vain pretenses.

57. The argument in XIII tries to show that

            a. immorality is a kind of unfairness

            b. immorality consists in partiality to oneself

            c. an immoral person could not will that all people act as he does

            d. all of these.

58. The argument here amounts to the claim that a lying promise is wrong because

            a. the actual consequences if everyone made lying promises would be that no one would believe them

            b. it violates our rational natures, since rationality requires consistency

            c. it is not a good way to get cash

            d. all of these.



Again: defenders of Utility often find themselves called upon to reply to such objections as this – that there is not time, previous to action, for calculating and weighing the effects of any line of conduct on the general happiness. The answer to the objection is, that there has been ample time; namely, the whole past duration of the human species. During all that time, mankind have been learning by experience the tendencies of actions, on which experience all the prudence as well as all the morality of life are dependent. People talk as if the commencement of this course of experience had hitherto been put off, and as if, at the moment when some man feels tempted to meddle with the property or life of another, he had to begin considering for the first time whether murder and theft are injurious to human happiness.. It is truly a whimsical supposition, that, if mankind were agreed in considering utility to be the test of morality, they would remain without any agreement as to what is useful, and would take no measures for having their notions on the subject taught to the young, and enforced by law and opinion.


59. Mill is here articulating what is known as

            a. the principle of equity

            b. rule utilitarianism

            c. the categorical imperative

            d. none of these.

60. The view presented here

            a. assumes that moral rules are like rules of thumb

            b. assumes that people could have gradually learned, through experience, that        lying tends to produce more unhappiness than happiness

            c. assumes universal idiocy

            d. a and b.
























Sample Final Key

1 F















16 T