Discuss the concept of evil in the ethics of Plato, Aristotle, Epicurus, Zeno (the Stoic), and Augustine.
Explain how we decide whether acts are right or wrong according to utilitarianism, distinguishing John Stuart Mill's version from Jeremy Bentham's.
State how the good will and duty function in Kant's basic moral principle, the categorical imperative, and illustrate how this principle separates right from wrong acts.
The Stoics argued that the good life was the "apathetic" life. What did they mean by that claim?
For Aristotle, what was the connection between the condition of "happiness" and the practice of "virtue?" How does this principle separate right from wrong acts?
Identify and compare the following two basic ethical principles: 1) Kant's categorical imperative, and 2) Mill's utilitarian principle.
Both Stoic thought and Christian thought make major use of the concept of Logos. Discuss their respective understandings of Logos, and the ethical consequences in both cases.
According to Aristotle's Ethics, ethical behavior is based on our highest function as human beings. Explain this intuition using Aristotle's divisions of the soul.
Explain the difference between rule utilitarianism and act utilitarianism.
State W.D. Ross' theory of prima facie duties and give examples of some of these duties. Explain how this theory addresses important problems of Kantian and utilitarian ethics.
Evaluate the desirability of a genetic screening program in the U.S. for some disease like Huntington 's, Tay-Sachs, sickle-cell anemia, or cystic fibrosis. Consider the objective of such a program, its cost and benefits, the extent to which it would be voluntary or mandatory, whether and how it would protect the autonomy of those tested, and the implications of a reliable pre-natal test for the disease.
Distinguish active from passive, and voluntary from non-voluntary euthanasia. State two arguments for euthanasia and two against, carefully describing the circumstances in which euthanasia is being considered.
How does John Dewey distinguish traditional morality from reflective? Explain how moral theory arises according to Dewey. What conditions must be satisfied if people are to be morally responsible for their acts? Which acts have and which lack moral significance?
Give examples of morally acceptable and unacceptable practices of personnel management in job description and screening, skills tests for screening, polygraph testing,promotion, discipline and discharge. In each case explain why the one practice is justified and the other not.
Discuss the ethical aspects of an analysis of sexual harassment in the workplace.
What factors must be present for people to agree on John Rawls' two principles of distributive justice (don't forget the veil of ignorance)? State the two principles, and illustrate how the maximum principle yields a distribution different from the utilitarian.
Compare and contrast the use of moral reasoning in Aristotle and Kant.
Describe paternalism, and give examples of paternalistic behavior. Consider two arguments for and two against paternalism.
Name three philosophical "materialists" who nonetheless had definite ethical philosophies. How did each derive ethical categories and viewpoints from a materialist starting point?
Discuss the difference between Ross' primae facie duties and actual duties. Compare and contrast Ross' theory to purely deontological and consequentialist theories.
Is morality an outdated, metaphysical concept in postmodern times? Why or why not?
Is rationality a necessary and / or a sufficient condition for moral action? for consideration as being worthy of moral consideration? Why or why not?
What is the relationship between the individual and the community, between desire and the law? Is desire inevitably in conflict with moral behavior?
How is technology increasingly challenging our Enlightenment ideals of: who is a person with moral value and obligation? what is a good quality of life for the moral person? what is the person's place within the social world? what is the person's place within the natural world?
Do human beings have free will, or are our actions determined? Are we responsible for our actions if we are not free to choose them?
Define the concepts of autonomy, beneficence, and paternalism. Discuss the role these concepts play in questions of medical ethics; develop your ideas in the context of a specific decision scenario.
Discuss several of the ethical implications of reproductive technology. Be sure to present pro and contra viewpoints, as well to give voice to feminist concerns.
Is "mental illness" a disease or a societal value judgment?
Explain Plato's theory of the parts of the soul and the virtues of the state. Why do you believe (or not) that this is a plausible theory?
Explain and assess Aristotle's account of the good life, in both the realm of practice and the realm of intellect. Argue why you believe that he is right (or wrong).
Discuss Aristotle on the virtues of character in relation to the function of man. Is he right?
Explain the Epicurean view of the good life: does it present a plausible account?
Explain the Stoic view of the good life: does it present a plausible account?
Describe AquinasÕs distinction between eternal, natural, divine, and human law. Give examples of each type of law. How are these laws connected? How do they differ from one another?
Explain the moral stance that agreement provides the source of morals, and some consequences of that stance (as pointed out by Hobbes). Argue whether or not you believe that morality has such a source.
Hobbes argues that in order for morality to occur, a civil power must be invested with the authority of determining the morals of the community. Explaining Hobbes' view, argue the merits of his conclusion.
Explain the different formulations of the Categorical Imperative, defended by Kant. Does 'universalizability' provide a good criterion for moral rules? Argue for your stance on this issue.
Kant argues that the consequences of an action do not establish the moral status of that action. Upon examining his argument for this view and the alternative that he proposes, defend your own stance of the source of morality.
Explain Mill's moral stance that consequences provide the criteria of moral behavior, and the controversy which such a view answers. Argue whether or not you believe that morality has such a justification. Is Utilitarianism the best answer for how morality is created?
Explain and justify the different formulations of the greatest happiness principle, defended by Mill. Do they provide a good standard for moral rules? Argue for your stance on this issue.
What is virtue according to Aristotle and what reasons could be given for saying that virtue ethics is superior to rule based ethics?
In the Republic by Plato in the famous story of Gyges, Glaucon argues that the only motive for acting justly is the fear of punishment. What arguments can be made against Glaucon?
Compare and Contrast Plato and Aristotle's accounts of human happiness. What role does virtue play in each philosophy?
Discuss the connection between epistemology and ethics in the modern era of philosophy. Demonstrate this connection using the philosophies of David Hume, John Stuart Mill, and Immanuel Kant.
Describe Aquinas's distinction between eternal, natural, divine, and human law. Give examples of each type of law. How are these laws connected? How do they differ from one another?