Summer1 2014 Ethics Course Study Questions

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Class Dates

Monday May 19, 2014

  • First Day, no study questions.

Tuesday May 20, 2014

  1. What were Ariely's findings on honesty?
  2. What is the possible significance of his research for understanding the nature of ethics?

Wednesday May 21, 2014

  1. Describe Haidt's research on disgust. What is its possible significance for understanding the nature of ethics.
  2. What is Haidt's criticism of developmental psychology's past approach to understanding the nature of ethics?
  3. Why does Haidt think that Turiel's and Schweder's research represent an improvement over the nature/nuture debate?

Thursday May 22, 2014

  1. How do we use metaphors to think about the psyche, soul, and human identity?
  2. What organic features of consciousness does Haidt think we need to consider when doing ethics? How might they be usefull?
  3. What picture of the mind does Haidt leave us with and what is its relevance to ethics?

Monday May 26, 2014

  1. How does Haidt criticize philosophers on the topic of the relationship between reason and emotion?
  2. How do evolutionary psychologists help us see the elephant talking? (And what does that even mean?)
  3. What is the social intuitionist model of moral judgement? (Start comparing to other theories, like virtue ethics.)

Tuesday May 27, 2014

  1. Do we have an inner lawyer?
  2. Does it operate the way Haidt thinks?
  3. How do you get the elephant to listen?

Wednesday May 28, 2014

  1. What is Veneer Theory? Who believes it and why?
  2. How does our "sociality" bear on the question of whether morality evolved from nature?
  3. What evidence do Darwin, Smith, and Westermark cite for the naturalness of moral values?

Thursday, May 29, 2014

  1. What is empathy? What is sympathy?
  2. Distinguish relatively simple forms of empathy from more complex ones using examples from de Waal.
  3. What are some of the apparent prerequisites for cognitive empathy?
  4. Present and assess the evidence on monkey fairness.
  5. What is de Waal's meta-ethical theory? (49-58)

Monday June 2, 2014

Holiday

Tuesday June 3, 2014

Haidt, Chapter 4

  1. What evidence does Haidt provide for the claim that we are constantly concerned with our status and that we tend to conserve our views even at the expense of good reasoning?
  2. Given Haidt's view that intuition comes first, what is the function of moral reasoning?
  3. How does Haidt think this evidence ought to influence our view of politics?
  4. Compare Haidt's view of social deliberation with Aristotle's view of deliberate choice.

Wednesday June 4, 2014

Haidt, Chapter 5

1. What is WEIRD morality and what use does Haidt make of it?

2. Should we all try to be WEIRD about our morality?

3. What does Haidt mean by saying "the righteous mind is like a tongue with six taste receptors"? What evolutionary account does he offer for this claim?

4. What is Haidt's critique of philosophical ethics?

Thursday June 5, 2014

Haidt, Chapter 6

  1. What does it mean to say that culture creates its own "triggers" for our evolved psychology? To what extent can these diverge from the original triggers?
  2. Describe each moral foundation, including the speculative or theoretical claims advances for its reality.
  3. How do conservatives and liberals participate differently in each of the moral foundations?
  4. Does Haidt's theory of "Moral Foundations" explain key aspects of our moral and political experience?

Monday June 9, 2014

Haidt, Ch. 7

  1. What does it mean to say that culture creates its own "triggers" for our evolved psychology? To what extent can these diverge from the original triggers?
  2. Describe each moral foundation, including the speculative or theoretical claims advances for its reality.
  3. How do conservatives and liberals participate differently in each of the moral foundations?
  4. Does Haidt's theory of "Moral Foundations" explain key aspects of our moral and political experience?

Tuesday June 10, 2014

Haidt, Ch. 9

  1. How does an account of our "groupishness" provide a more complete picture of our moral life?
  2. What is the evidence for group selection of cooperation and other traits related to moral life?

Wednesday June 11, 2014

Haidt, Ch. 10

  1. What is Haidt's hyposthesis about the "hive switch" and how does he support it?
  2. Should we be trying to cultivate experiences of the hive switch in our lives? How?

Thursday June 12, 2014

Sandel, Utilitarianism

  1. Develop a succinct summary of the main approaches and problem utilitarian theory takes on both as an ethical theory and a theory of justice.
  2. What is the basis for Mill's defense of liberty. Is it consistent for him to make this defense as a utilitarian?
  3. Can we distinguish higher and lower pleasures. Should society invest more in higher pleasures?

Singer, One World, Ch. 1

  1. Are we at a point in history where our political and moral values will need to adjust to a different horizon than the nation state?
  2. How would competing moral theories assess our obligations to those in absolute poverty or engaged in slave or forced labor?


Monday June 16, 2014

  1. What is the theoretical basis for choosing principles from behind a "veil of ignorance"?
  2. What makes a contract fair? How does particular cases test the fairness of a contract?
  3. Explain the rationale behind the difference principle and offer an assessment of it.

Tuesday June 17, 2014

Singer, "Rich and Poor"

  1. In what ways is the decision not to alleviate absolute poverty like and unlike murder?
  2. What principle does Singer advocate for determining our obligations to the poor? What does it obligate us to?

Sachs, "Can the Rich Afford to Help the Poor?"

  1. How does Sachs characterize and analyze the task of funding the UNMDGs?
  2. Why is he so confident that the rich can afford to help the poor?
  3. How can you connect his analysis to Rawls' difference principle?

Wednesday June 18, 2014

Korsgaard, "Morality and the Distinctiveness of Human Action"

  1. Why isn't Korsgaard impressed with Veneer Theory?
  2. How does she argue against de Waal's gradualism (or continuity thesis)?
  3. How might Haidt respond?

Thursday June 19, 2014

Monday June 23, 2014

  1. How does Haidt's intend his moral theories in The Righteous Mind to affect the way we engage in politics, particularly the way we assess political and moral views other than our own? Critically assess his views including both potential benefits and limits to his approach.

Tuesday June 24, 2014

Holiday

Wednesday June 25, 2014

Thursday June 26, 2014