Philosophy 302: Issues in Ethics, Fall 2010, M. Kagan, Instructor, Midterm Exam
The Purpose of this Exam
. . . To confirm students' familiarity with the material and the basics of the various positions, a midterm and final exam will be given. In these exams, the student will be asked to use specific moral theories to defend and criticize a position regarding a moral problem discussed in class. For example, a students may be asked how a utilitarian would answer the question, "is the genetic engineering of human beings ever right?"; and then asked to explain how someone might criticize that response on the basis of Noddings' work or W.D. Ross's theory of obligation. On the midterm and final exams, an additional question will be asked concerning issues suggested by class discussions, presentations, reading assignments, and group work. [See Syllabus.]
Part #1 (50%)
How would a utilitarian would answer the question, "is the genetic engineering of human beings ever right?" Explain how a utilitarian would makes sense of this position. Make sure to respond to the more obvious criticisms of your response and the theory on which it is based. Explain how someone might criticize that response on the basis of Kantian moral theory, Noddings' work in Caring or W.D. Ross's theory of obligation.
In your answer be sure to define "genetic engineering." Clearly state your own claim as to how a utilitarian would answer the question, "is the genetic engineering of human beings ever right? and explain how a utilitarian theory of right and wrong supports this response. Then, briefly state a criticism of this position the basis of Kantian Moral theory, Noddings' work or W.D. Ross's theory of obligation. Explain how a utilitarian might respond to that criticism. Other things being equal, the stronger and more challenging the objection and reply to the objection, the better your grade.
Please limit yourself to 2 bluebook pages.
Part #2 (50%)
Answer one [two if you are taking the take-home version of this exam] of the following. Briefly explain your reasoning. Please limit yourself to 1 bluebook page.
1. In "Unaccompanied Sonata," to the extent that C.H. accepted the punishment for disobeying the law, was he right to do so? Why or why not?
2. What moral theories discussed by Timmons or Noddings can be used to support obeying or disobeying the law(s) C.H. broke? What does this suggest about the adequacy of these theories?
3. Aristotle, saying, "one swallow does not make a spring, nor one fine day," argues that a human happiness, when found, is to be found in a complete life. Relating your discussion to the story, "The Best Day," explain what you think he should mean by "complete," and why.
Take-home option (due Monday, March 22):
You have the option of completing this exam as a typed take-home exam (with citations for sources). Please limit your take home exam to no more than 4 double-spaced pages (about 1200 words). Part 1 will still count for 50% of the exam. Your answers to two (2) questions in Part #2 will count for the other 50% .
you choose the
take-home option, complete Part #1. Then answer two (2) of the questions in Part #2.
Take-homes are to be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org before class; a printed copy is to be turned in during class on Monday, March 22. Late exams are to be emailed (if you have no access to email, you can fax the exam to 315-445-4540 or mail them to me at Le Moyne College (1419 Salt Springs Road, Syracuse, NY 13214 ) as soon as it is completed. Exams received by March 23rd will be accepted with no penalty. After that, 5% will be subtracted each day with a maximum deduction of 100%. For example, an exam that would have received a 98% (if turned in on time) would have its score reduced to a 68% if I received it on March 29.
back to Kagan's homepage