Copyright © 2013 Bruce W. Hauptli
The examination will be an in-class objective essay exam. It will be designed to assess the students’ understanding of the philosophical theories, positions, topics, and methodologies studied. The following sample questions are examples of the kinds of questions I will be asking and they are distributed in advance of the exam so that you have an opportunity to organize your thoughts and integrate the readings and lectures around sample questions designed to indicate what your are expected to have mastered. The list of questions is far longer than a reasonable examination could be, and I will ask between two and three such questions on the examination itself. You will be asked to be as complete as you can in writing essays in answer such questions. While there is no “length requirement” for the examination, the questions and exam will be designed so that the average student in this class should need to spend most of the allowed time actively writing. Short answers are unlikely to be sufficiently detailed to earn high grades, and mere outlines or lists (of terms, principles, theories, etc.) do not provide sufficient explanation—they will not convince me that you understand the relevant material. As the questions clearly indicate, I expect you to explain specific points in answering the questions, and an essay that does not address these points is inadequate. The exam will be a closed-book, closed-notes exam, and you will not be allowed to consult dictionaries or other reference texts. As the questions clearly indicate, I expect you to explain specific points in answering the questions, and an essay that does not address these points is inadequate. Please review the following link on the Course Web-Site for additional guidelines regarding my expectations for exam answers: Writing Essay Exams for Professor Hauptli.
The final exam will be on Monday, December 9 from 12:30 to 1:30 (during the scheduled period for our exam).
1. Use two of Kant's four examples to clarify how we are to use the test of universalizing a maxim to determine our duty. Explain the two sorts of contradiction which he discusses here.
2. Use one of Kant's four examples to clarify how we are to use the test of not treating others as means only to determine our duty.
3. What is the only thing which is intrinsically good according to Kant, and what sort of moral obligation does this engender according to him. In answering this question, clarify his notion of a maxim, of a categorical imperative (distinguishing it from hypothetical imperatives), the distinction between acts done "in accord with" and "from" duty, what motivates a moral person, and the importance of consequences for Kant's moral theory.
4. What, according to Kant, is a "good will?" In answering this question clarify what such a will is like, what motivates it to act, what sort of "maxim" it is willing to follow, and what such a will values. How does such a will view others, and what sort of "legislator" would it be?
5. Clarify what Taylor means when he characterizes us as, in part, conative beings. Also explain how he argues for conation as a "precondition for good, evil, right, and wrong. In answering this question clarify what the difference is, according to him, between considerations of good and evil, on the one hand, and right and wrong on the other.
6. Clarify how Ross' moral theory is similar to, and differs from, Kant's and Mill's. In answering this question clarify what he means by a prima facie obligation, how binding these obligations are upon us, and how we are to determine what our "overall" duty is.
7. Clarify Foot’s criticism of Kant’s moral theory. What ˇdoes she offer in place of his categorical imperatives, and why.
8. Clarify how Aristotle's virtue-based ethic differs from Kant's and Mill's ethical theories. This question is primarily on Aristotle, and you need not describe Kant's or Mill's theory in any great depth. In addition to clarifying the above difference, indicate what Aristotle believes to be important in evaluating morality, what he says our function is, what he means by a mean (and what it is a mean between), and whether or not there are some virtues which are not means between vices. What sorts of virtues are there, how should an individual lead her or his life, and which are the "highest?"
9. Indicate what Aristotle believes to be important in evaluating morality, what he means by a mean (and what it is a mean between), and whether or not there are some virtues which are not means between vices.
10. Clarify Frankena’s critique of virtue based moral theories.
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Last revised on: 11/25/2013.