Philosophy 3000

This is a closed book exam – do not use your notes or the internet. Any instances of plagiarism will result in a failing grade. The exam is out of 50 points. You have 1.5 hours to complete the exam.

I. True or False
(1 point each)

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1. The “greatest happiness principle” refers to the idea that happiness depends on one’s character.

a) True
b) False

2. In Carol Hay’s “A Feminist Kant,” she claims that the moral duty to resist one’s own oppression is an instance of what Kant would call a ‘perfect duty.’

a) True
b) False

3. According to Peter Singer, the number of people that have the ability to provide help in a given situation has an impact on our moral obligation to prevent suffering in that situation.

a) True
b) False

4. Aristotle explains that the political life cannot be the chief good because it is pursued for the sake of something else.

a) True
b) False

5. According to Peter Singer, we each have an obligation to prevent as much suffering as we can until we reach the point of marginal utility.

a) True
b) False

II. Multiple Choice:
(1 point each)

6. Choose the claim that Mill does not make in Utilitarianism:

a) It is possible to eliminate disease and poverty
b) Humans desire nothing other than happiness
c) It is impossible to live without happiness
d) The standard for happiness is the amount of happiness for the whole

7. According to Kant, what makes a human being worthy of dignity?

a) Their ability to care for others
b) Their possession of the rational faculty
c) Their inclination towards happiness
d) Their ability to assess the consequences of their actions

8. For Aristotle, the function of a human being is

a) To create democratic and happy societies
b) To live, grow, and regenerate
c) To find what makes each individual happy and pursue it
d) To be rational in an excellent manner

III. Short Answer:
(5 points each)

Aim to write approximately 5-6 sentences for each answer. Anything less will most likely be insufficient (but writing more for the sake of writing more will not guarantee a higher grade). Be sure to answer all components of the questions

9. Mill claims that it is possible to distinguish between higher and lower pleasures. Explain his “test” to measure the quality of a pleasure and provide one example to illustrate. Do you think this test is a reliable indicator of whether a pleasure is higher or lower? Why or why not?

10. What is Kant’s position on suicide? Ensure that your answer draws on at least one version of the Categorical Imperative and explains how the Imperative can be used as a way to determine which actions to take or avoid.

11. What are two major differences between the moral theories of Mill and Kant?

12. What aspects of Kant’s philosophy does Carol Hay apply to the question of whether a person has a duty to resist their own oppression?

13. What role do pleasure and pain play in cultivating virtue and seeking the good life, according to Aristotle? How does Aristotle’s conception of pleasure and pain differ from Mill or Kant? (Note: You need only to explain how Aristotle’s view on this differs from either one or the other – not both).

14. In “Utilitarianism and Empire,” Sara Ahmed argues that Mill’s utilitarianism played an important role in the justification of the British colonization of India. What reasoning does Ahmed employ to reach this conclusion? What can we learn about utilitarianism’s weakness as an ethical theory from Ahmed? Do you think Mill’s argument for the colonization of India is a misuse of utilitarian reasoning?

Use the following scenario to answer the questions:

Scenario: Amy’s daughter is suffering from a deadly and painful disease that affects over one million children. A young and wealthy pharmaceutical CEO recently purchased the rights to the treatment for this disease and decided to sell it for $100,000 a dose (compared to the $10 it costs to manufacture the treatment)—a price that most of the families cannot afford. Amy is fairly certain that she can break into the CEO’s lab and steal the cure for her daughter and other suffering children although she knows that she will have to lie and commit murder to do so. She will also likely be arrested and sent to prison for her crimes.

15. If Amy was a virtue ethicist, what might she do? Why?

16. If Amy was a Kantian, what would be the morally permissible thing to do? Explain your reasoning.

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