Philosophy 160

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Philosophy 160

Final Exam Study Questions

The final exam for this course will be available on Monday, May 10, at 4:30 pm. You will be given five of the following questions, and asked to answer three of them. Answer them in complete detail, leaving no relevant argument or discussion out.

1. Kant believes that morality must be explained by the nature of rationality itself. Explain his reasoning for this claim. What his reasoning have to say about whether the morality of our actions can be dependent on the consequences of our actions?

2. What is negative responsibility? Explain the role negative responsibility plays in Williams’ critique of utilitarianism. Should we accept that negative responsibility plays a role in morality? If you answer “no”, please explain your answer in light of Kant’s Murderer at the Door case. If you answer “yes”, please explain your answer in light of Williams’ case of George.

3. Explain the difference in Kantian ethics between immoral,amoral, and morally worthy actions.Do you believe that all and only actions Kant identifies as being morally worthy are morally worthy?

4. Explain the conflict between the personal point of view and the Kantian account of the moral point of view, according to Williams. Is a morality of the virtues more plausible than a Kantian account of morality?

5. What is the categorical imperative? Choose either the formula of universal law or the formula of humanity and explain Kant’s argument for this formula of the categorical imperative in detail, leaving no step out.

6. What makes a life good for the person who lives it? Discuss with reference to at least three different theories of well-being.

7. What is the repugnant conclusion? What form of utilitarianism implies the repugnant conclusion? Is that a reason to choose a different form of utilitarianism? What other problems might different forms face?

8. What is the meaning of life? Articulate in detail Bernard Williams’ approach to this question. Is Williams’ account plausible? And if it is, what does this tell us about the acceptability of a utilitarian moral theory?

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