According to Utilitarianism, how is the morally correct action determined? Provide an example to illustrate the theory. Rights (for example, the peeping Tom—that is, invading someone’s right to privacy without them knowing), justice (for example, scapegoating), and backward-looking reasons (for example, making a promise) are each the source of an objection to Utilitarianism. Explain the objection based on each. How might a defender of Utilitarianism respond to these objections?
Immanuel Kant asserts that the only thing truly good in itself is a good will. What does this mean, and what is Kant’s argument for this claim? One version of Kant’s Categorical Imperative is: Act only according to that maxim by which you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law. Explain the rationale behind this formulation. A second formulation of Kant’s Categorical Imperative is: Act so that you treat humanity, whether in your own person or in that of another, always as an end and never as a means only. What does this mean? What is the rationale behind it? How do these two versions of the Categorical Imperative support Kant’s notorious claim that a person should never lie under any circumstances?
What is the state of nature and how can it provide justification for a Social Contract Theory of morality? How, according to the Social Contract Theory, are moral rules determined? Provide an example. How does a person become subject to the Social Contract? It has been argued that the Social Contract can be misused—how so? When, if at all, is a person, or group of persons, justified in breaking the Social Contract? What is John Rawls’s veil of ignorance metaphor, and how might it be applied to improve the Social Contract Theory? How might the Social Contract Theory approach be used to challenge sex-based and racial-based injustices within a society?
In what sense does Virtue Ethics approach morality from a perspective different from that shared by Utilitarianism and Kantian Moral Theory (be sure to consider Eudaimonia and human flourishing)? What, in general, is a virtue? Why are the virtues important, that is, why should a person want to be virtuous? Provide an example of a virtue, and be sure to illustrate and explain the idea that a virtue is the midpoint between two vices, or extremes (the Golden Mean). How might a defender of Utilitarian or Kantian Moral Theory claim that Virtue Ethics is incomplete as a moral theory? How might a defender of Virtue Ethics respond?