PHIL 200 Intro to Ethics Unit 3

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Intro to Ethics – PHIL 200

Unit 3

Unit 3 Challenge 1

For a utilitarian, which consideration is most important?

Answer: The consequences of an action

Why is utilitarianism an objectivist or relativist theory?

Answer: Utilitarianism is objectivist because it asserts that everyone should act to increase utility.

Which of the following considerations is important for a utilitarian when evaluating the morality of an action?

Answer: How many people the action affects

Elizabeth likes drinking coffee from a certain company which treats its farmers poorly and pollutes the environment.
How would a utilitarian classify Elizabeth’s action?

Answer: Impermissible

Frank is considering donating the excess from a recent bonus to a local shelter instead of spending it on himself.
How would a utilitarian classify this action?

Answer: Obligatory

Gerrie steals from her neighbor’s family to feed hers. Her neighbor’s two kids go hungry, but her two kids get fed.
How would a utilitarian classify this action?

Answer: Neutral

David is the wealthiest resident in his neighborhood. Some of his poorer neighbors have hacked his wireless internet so they can save money for more important things like food and health insurance. Many people say this action is immoral— that it’s a type of theft.
How might it be evaluated by a utilitarian?

Answer: Hacking David’s internet is morally right because it brings about happiness for his neighbors, who can’t afford it otherwise, without any harm to him.

An ethics teacher promises to bring in cookies if every student gets an A on their homework today. But Gina forgot to do her ethics homework, so she pulls the fire alarm right when her ethics class is supposed to start. By the time the school is evacuated and any possibility of a fire ruled out, it’s time for the next class. Gina thus ends up with another day to finish her assignment and get an A. Many people would say this action is immoral.
How might it be evaluated by a utilitarian?

Answer: Pulling the fire alarm is morally right because it will prevent the unhappiness Gina, her classmates, and her teacher would otherwise have, without any real negative consequences.

Tabitha’s neighbors are annoyed by the types of plants she grows in her yard. After several attempts at talking to her, digging up her plants in the night, and even running her out of the neighborhood, Tabitha’s annoying behavior has not changed. One neighbor suggests they just kill her. Most people would agree that such an action is clearly immoral.
How might it be evaluated by a utilitarian?

Answer: Killing Tabitha is morally right because the happiness it brings all her neighbors will outweigh the harm to her.

Which of the following represents act utilitarianism?

Answer: Neil sends his children to bed without supper because they need to learn to behave properly.
Larry stops supporting a local charity because he doesn’t agree with some of its work.

Which of the following represents rule utilitarianism?

Answer: Marie takes her son to the hospital after he gets injured playing with fire because she would do so for any injury.

Which of the following pairs of goods are probably different in kind according to idealist utilitarianism?

Answer: A human life and a good movie

On which of the following statements would a hedonic utilitarian and an idealist utilitarian disagree?

Answer: Some goods are different in kind.

Which of the following pairs of goods are directly comparable according to hedonic utilitarianism?

Answer: All of the answer choices are correct.

Which of the following people would likely be satisfied with utilitarianism?

Answer: Trevor is looking for an ethical framework that considers the needs of others.
Ursula is looking for an ethical framework that is based on empirically discoverable facts.
Vincent is looking for an ethical framework that benefits the most people possible.

Richard is trying to decide whether or not to donate to a fund to save children in Africa from a recent famine. His friend suggests taking a utilitarian approach to the issue, so Richard makes a list of possible actions he could take.
Choose the statement from Richard’s list that reveals a possible problem with utilitarianism.

Answer: If I don’t donate, I’m responsible for the death of a child.

Rosemary has been asked to make a large donation to purchase mosquito netting to reduce the threat of malaria in Africa. Her husband suggests she take a utilitarian approach to the issue, so Rosemary makes a list of possible actions she could take.
Choose the action from Rosemary’s list that reveals a possible problem with utilitarianism.

Answer: I will be responsible for additional deaths from malaria if I do not donate.

Ira has been asked to donate a large sum of money to fund a school for girls in a Middle Eastern country. His wife suggests he take a utilitarian approach to the issue, so Ira makes a list of possible actions he could take.
Choose the action from Ira’s list that reveals a possible problem with utilitarianism.

Answer: I would feel responsible for denying girls an education if I do not donate the money.

Which statement describes a disadvantage of utilitarianism?

Answer: People have a natural tendency to show favoritism toward loved ones.
Decisions are not made quickly because decision-makers must consider who will be affected.

Which statement describes an advantage of utilitarianism?

Answer: It is good for people to consider the effects of their actions on others.

Unit 3 Challenge 2

The categorical imperative is a concept in Kantian deontology that fulfills the role of a(n) __________ that is binding for all people in all circumstances.

Answer: moral law

Which statement about Kantian deontology is true?

Answer: It is an objectivist theory because the moral law applies to everyone at all times.
It is an objectivist theory because ethics is independent of circumstances and must be the same for everyone.

According to Kantian deontology, which of the following would make an act permissible?

Answer: My intention is good.
It doesn’t violate the categorical imperative.

According to Kantian deontology, which of the following would make an act impermissible?

Answer: It violates the categorical imperative.

What is meant by the formulation of universal law?

Answer: Acting according to a maxim everyone can use

When evaluating an act according to Kantian deontology, which do we evaluate?

Answer: The maxim

The statement, “I will water my plant when it gets droopy in order to keep it healthy,” is a(n) __________.

Answer: maxim

For Kant, what constitutes humanity?

Answer: Faculties like reason and freedom

Which of the following best summarizes the formulation of humanity?

Answer: We must respect the humanity of others at all times.

Which of the following violates a person’s humanity, according to Kant?

Answer: Lying to someone

How would a Kantian deontologist evaluate murder?

Answer: It is morally wrong because it violates the victim’s humanity.

How would a Kantian deontologist evaluate lying?

Answer: It is morally wrong because if everyone did it, nobody could be trusted anymore.

How might a Kantian deontologist evaluate stealing?

Answer: It is morally wrong because if everyone stole, nobody could be trusted not to steal.

Which of the following people would likely be satisfied with Kantian deontology?

Answer: Elijah is looking for an ethical framework that gives a basis for objective rules.

Which of the following people would likely be satisfied with Kantian deontology?

Answer: Delilah is looking for an ethical framework that respects people’s value.

Which of the following people would likely be satisfied with Kantian deontology?

Answer: Carl is looking for an ethical framework that considers a person’s intentions.

Which of the following represents a potential problem for Kantian deontology?

Answer: Ignorance makes it easier to get away with bad actions.

Which of the following represents a potential problem for Kantian deontology?

Answer: Feelings have no place in ethical discussions.

Which of the following represents a potential problem for Kantian deontology?

Answer: Unintended effects have no impact on a person’s moral character.

Billy and Alex worked together on their high school research papers, even though their teacher told them not to. They did not help each other that much, so they are certain it was not a big deal. A few days after turning their papers in, the teacher held them both after class.
She said, “Billy, Alex, your papers were both very good, the best in the class. But because you had similar topics, I just wanted to make sure you did not collaborate. Did you?”
Billy thinks for a moment. If the teacher knew how little they helped each other, she probably would not mind. But if he tells the truth, that will not matter.
What would a Kantian deontologist say that Billy and Alex should do?

Answer: They should tell the teacher they worked together because even though lying is easiest and represents no negative consquences for the teacher, it cannot stand as a universal law.

Frank’s daughter Jenna is sick. They visit the hospital and the doctor says that if Jenna does not get a certain medicine, she will probably die. Unfortunately, Frank cannot afford the medicine. He notices recent improvements to the hospital and suspects it must be making a lot of money by raising the prices of medicines. On his way out, Frank notices an open drawer stuffed with vials full of the medicine Jenna needs. He does not see anyone around and knows he could take some of the medicine without anyone noticing.
What would a Kantian deontologist say that Frank should do?

Answer: Frank should not take the medicine because stealing cannot hold up as universal law, regardless of the potentially good consequences.

A friend is staying at my house. I hear a knock at the door and open it to find a gang of armed men. They ask if my friend is in the house. I want to say no so they will go away, but I also want to say yes because that is the truth.
Does this situation present a problem for Kantian deontological ethics?

Answer: Yes, because Kantian ethics does not provide a clear way of handling conflicting moral duties.

Unit 3 Milestone

Claire is helping her elderly neighbor, Ms. Flannigan, with some yard work. Ms. Flannigan has no close family and tells Claire that she is beginning to wonder who will get the small bundles of cash she has hidden throughout her large house. Ms. Flannigan even remarks that she cannot remember where she has hidden them all. After helping Ms. Flannigan, Claire goes inside to freshen up. In the bathroom she notices a large wad of cash tucked inside the medicine cabinet.
Which action is supported by utilitarianism but intuitively seems unethical?

Answer: Claire takes the money and donates it to the food kitchen that feeds the community’s homeless population.

According to Kantian deontology, which of the following would make an act permissible?

Answer: It is done with good intent.

I come home and my apartment building is on fire. There is a family of five living in the apartment next to mine and only my mother in my apartment. I can only evacuate one apartment.
What is a problem with applying utilitarianism to this scenario?

Answer: Utilitarianism says I should evacuate the apartment that has five occupants, even though my mother is more important to me.

Which of the following people would likely be satisfied with utilitarianism?

Answer: Adelaide is looking for an ethical framework that takes future generations into consideration.

Emma isn’t sure how she’s going to continue providing for her family. In a moment of desperation, she steals a bag of groceries from the store.
Many people would say that stealing is wrong. How might this action be evaluated by a utilitarian?

Answer: Emma’s action is morally right because the overall happiness it brings her family is greater than the decrease in happiness it brings the store.

Which of the following pairs of goods are directly comparable according to hedonic utilitarianism?

Answer: All of the answer choices are correct.

What is meant by the formulation of humanity?

Answer: Other people must be treated as ends, not only as means.

Which of the following represents a potential problem for Kantian deontology?

Answer: A person who isn’t aware of committing a crime can’t be guilty of it.

How might a Kantian deontologist evaluate assisted suicide?

Answer: It is morally wrong because it deprives a person of his or her humanity.

Which of the following considerations is important for a utilitarian when evaluating the morality of an action?

Answer: How likely it is to bring about happiness

Which of the following people would likely be satisfied with Kantian deontology?

Answer: Helen is looking for an ethical framework that respects the freedom of others.

Which of the following represents act utilitarianism?

Answer: Penelope works because she needs money for rent and food.

How would a Kantian deontologist evaluate an action?

Answer: By evaluating the relevant maxim

Jerome gets injured helping a distressed swimmer. Jerome dies, but the swimmer lives.
How would a utilitarian classify Jerome’s action?

Answer: Neutral

Which statement about Kantian deontology is true?

Answer: It is an objectivist theory because ethics must be determined by pure reason and apply to all persons.




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