Spring 2017 Ethics Course Study Questions

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JAN 18

First Day.

JAN 23

1. What were the main results of Aiely's research on cheating?

2. What, if anything, does it tell us about the nature of ethics?

3. Should a religionist reject Singer's separation of ethics and religion?

4. What is the difference between superficial relativism and real relativism? Why is it hard to be a real relativist?

5. What are some of the essential features of ethical conversations that suggest the kind of objectivity that ethical values have, according to Singer?

JAN 25

1. What difference does it makes whether you think of ethics as finding agreement or managing disagreement?

2. What does the Zimbardo experiment suggest about the nature of ethics?

3. How does thinking about brain structure help us understand aspects of moral life such as moral weakness?

JAN 30

1. How does Haidt articulate the basic problem of morality in the Introduction to RM?

2. What are the key lessons of the background story in Chapter 1 on rationalist moral psychology and Haidt's experience testing Turiel's ideas against Schweder's?


1. What is Aristotle's core argument for virtue as the focus on morality?

2. How are virtue and happiness related for Aristotle?

3. Compare Aristotle, Kohlberg, and an evolutionary psychologist on virtue theory. How does each reflect a distinctly different uses of reason?


1. What are some of the basic principles behind utilitarian and libertarian thinking? How do they respond to critics?

2. What are some kinds of situations which satisfy strong intuitions for or against using utilitarian or libertarian thinking?


1. How does Haidt explain the "dumbfounding" effect of his harmless taboo violations?

2. What is the "social intuitionist" model? What does it explain or model?

3. How do conceptions of "reason" and "freedom" structure Kant's duty ethics?

4. What is the categorical imperative? Provide examples of how it is supposed to work.

FEB 13

1. What are the similarities and differences between not helpful those in absolute poverty and murder? What is Singer's point with this comparison?

2. What is the principle of comparable significance in Singer's theory of obligation?

3. How do development economists like Jeffrey Sach analyze the problem of estimating the resources needed to alleviate absolute poverty?

FEB 15

  • Research Day - no study questions

FEB 22

1. What sorts of evidence does Haidt see for the claim that "intuitions come first"?

2. What is Veneer Theory and why does de Waal disagree with it?

FEB 27



1. Evaluate Koorsgaard's critique of de Waal's "gradualism"?


MAR 13


MAR 15


MAR 20

1. What is WEIRD morality and why does Haidt find it important?

2. What did Haidt's experience in India show him?

MAR 22

MAR 27

1. How does Haidt give a psychological analysis of Enlightenment philosophers'?

2. How do Haidt and Craig Joseph develop the CFLAS foundations?

3. Does CFLAS fit your moral cuisine? Do you have taste preferences?

MAR 29


1. How does Haidt distinguish his theory from a deterministic one?

2. How does Haidt connect each moral foundation to an original "structural" challenge homo sapiens face? How plausible are these connections?


1. How can we use CFLAS to understand some contemporary currents in political conservatism?

2. What are the best competing arguments and moral considerations for and against international measures to address genocide, ethnic cleansing, war crimes, and crimes against humanity?

APR 10

APR 12

APR 19

APR 24

APR 26




MAY 10