Moral Reasoning Notes

Topics: Ethics, Utilitarianism, Categorical imperative Pages: 3 (1149 words) Published: October 25, 2012
Midterm ExamWednesday October 2012Moral Reasoning
Test format and point distribution:
* 5 matching (2 points each)
* 20 multiple choice questions (1 point each)
* 2 essays (5 points each)
Format for Essay Questions:You will be given a moral dilemma and asked to apply either Utilitarianism or Kant’s moral theory to the situation Things to consider when applying the ethical theories
For utilitarianism, you need to remember that we are concerned with the greatest amount of happiness for the greatest number of people (and Mill will consider the happiness of animals to a lesser extent if applicable). * So for Utilitarianism you will first need to consider who is involved in the situation. We will need to consider the happiness of everyone involved. * Happiness is defined as pleasure and the absence of pain. * For utilitarians, happiness is the only intrinsic good. That means, we can’t discount anyone’s happiness because they did something wrong and are therefore not “worthy” of happiness. This won’t matter for utilitarianism. * Also, while Utilitarianism allows us to take our own happiness into account, we cannot prioritize our own happiness or the happiness of our loved ones above that of complete strangers. Everyone’s happiness is considered equal. * There are a number of factors we need to take into account when determining the greatest amount of happiness overall. How many people will be made happy? How long will they be happy? How happy will they be? (for Mill, will these be caused by higher or lower pleasures?). How certain are we that our action will maximize happiness?) * Utilitarianism does not care about my motivation. If I am maximizing happiness, then I am doing what is right.

* Remember to consider both forms of Kant’s categorical imperative (if applicable). * Universal Law: “Act only under that maxim that you could at the same time will to become universal law.” (follow rules...
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