Ethics and Social Issues
Final Exam Essay Questions
1. Essay Question: Rule Vs. Act Utilitarianism (Utilitarianism) Suppose that you were wondering whether you, as a doctor, should hug a patient who is in tears. Give an ethical analysis of pros and cons from an act utilitarian point of view. Then give an analysis from a rule utilitarian point of view.
2. Essay Question: (Case Scenario -- Utilitarianism)
Suppose that Rosa moves away her children out of town because, based on the information she has gathered, she believes the move will be the best for the children and larger family in the long run and she wants to do her duty by them. Imagine the two scenarios. Scenario 1: The results of the action are mostly positive for the family (and inspirational to their friends), because Rosa’s knowledge was good and nothing unexpectedly negative happens. Scenario 2: The results are greatly positive despite the fact that Rosa didn’t know very much, purely by luck. Scenario 3: The results are greatly positive mostly because Rosa worked hard to make the move a good one. Would Utilitarianism evaluate each act as having identical moral worth? Explain. Do you agree with the Utilitarian analysis?
3. Essay Question: (Case Scenario)
Suppose that Rosa moves away her children out of town because, based on the information she has gathered, she believes the move will be the best for the children and larger family in the long run and she wants to do her duty by them. As it turns out, through no fault of her own, the children suffer greatly because of the move and the cost/benefit analysis after 2 ½ years shows that the pain outweighs the pleasure. Suppose that, 5 years later, a re-evaluation of the act in comparison to how alternative actions would have played out shows that her action, in fact, produced much more good than the other alternatives Do you think that we should (1) evaluate Rosa’s action as having been a good one, because it ended up being good (2) say we won’t really know whether it was good yet because something painful might still happen, or (3) say the act was first bad, then good, but might be good or bad later, depending on how things turn out. Or would you give another evaluation? Justify.
4. Essay Question: Evaluating Ethical Theories
Having seen arguments concerning the various morally controversial issues, and the applications of the different ethical theories to them, do you think that one ethical approach is better than the others (i.e. based on ability to consistently address more issues, based on it’s ability to give a really good answer on the issue that is most important to you, etc.)? Justify your answer.
5. Essay Question: Euthanasia
Sometimes a patient is bound to die shortly but their death would be painful, even when given state of the art palliative care. How could a utilitarian argue that, in such cases, it is better to commit active euthanasia rather than passive euthanasia?
6. Essay Question: Duty to Die? (Euthanasia)
Suppose that you are adamantly against the view that anyone ever has a “duty to die,” no matter how much care/resources it would take to keep someone alive, or the quality of life it is possible for that person to achieve using those resources. Suppose we were to get Universal Health Care in this country, such that every citizen has access to a pool of money that all able pay into. How would this affect your position on the duty to die of someone who is unable to pay, out of their own pocket, for the preservation of their life. Explain what factors you would consider, taking utilitarian approach (pleasure minus pain, intensity, duration, fruitfulness, likelihood).
7. Essay Question: Euthanasia
Give two arguments for and two arguments against physician assisted suicide, including at least one ethical approach that is not utilitarian.
8. Essay Question: Rights & responsibilities...
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