Keу рoіnts for others іnterested
1. For each questіon, I would start with a brief descriрtion of the theory
2. Then, introduce and discuss your example. We are not looking so much for a “right answer”, but instead, the way that you explore and explain the example in light of the theory
3. Use books, journals and other reputable sources to explain the theory or key idea/concept
4. You can use webpages (e.g. news sites) and reference these to illustrate or explain any examples you can cite articles from the Standford Encyclopedia of Philosophy as they are reviewed articles
You may write in first person and include your opinion where relevant and asked for, but
ensure that you support your opinion with reference and explanation of relevant literature,
including theories and concepts that relate to the question.
1. Critical thinking
Read the article on “The Conversation” called “This is why you will lose your argument”
Think of another example where “point at issue” has interfered in an argument. This could be
something in the public domain, or something that you experienced personally. Don’t use the
examples in “The Conversation” article – choose your own examples. In your response, first define
and explain what “point at issue” and “straw man fallacy” means and why this is constitutes a fallacy.
Then, give your example, and explain how the argument in your example fails to stick to “point at
issue” or commits the “straw man fallacy”. Explain some of the problems that arise in the argument as
a consequence of this fallacy.
2. Consequential moral theory
Utilitarians argue that actions should promote the greatest good for the greatest number, and that
morality is determined by the consequences of a given action, and not specifically the action itself.
Think of an example of a government policy or political decision that is justified on utilitarian grounds.
Do you agree or disagree with the justification? Why or why not? In your answer, briefly explain the
utilitarian position and how it is exemplified in your example.
3. Non-consequential moral theory
Unlike the utilitarians, Kant thought that some actions are “inherently” or “categorically” right or wrong,
irrespective of their consequences. Are there some actions that you think are inherently and
categorically always right or wrong regardless of their consequences? In your answer, briefly explain
the Kantian deontological position and how it relates to your example.
4. Social justice
According to John Rawls, not all inequality is unjust. Some inequalities can be acceptable if they
advantage the least advantaged, or are advantageous to all. Start by explaining Rawl’s principles of
justice, particularly, the “difference principle”. Then, give an example of a social or economic
inequality that you think would be considered just, according to Rawls? Why would this form of
inequality be an indicator of a socially just society?
5. Virtue ethics
* The following question is adapted from Boss (1998, p. 411 – see week 12 reading).
Robert Solomon maintains that virtues are culturally relative. Are the virtues listed by Aristotle peculiar
to the Greek aristocracy? As a university student living two thousand years after Aristotle, do you
agree with his list of virtues? In your answer, explain what is meant by “culturally relative” and why or
why not Aristotle’s virtues would have universal cultural relevance.
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