Essay Instructions: Utilitarianism Assignment:
The problem of Moral Rights. Read carefully “The Cold Equations” by Tom Godwin in Thought Probes, as well as Jan Narveson’s commentary “Morality and Marilyn.” In Rosenstand, read Ch. 7 pp. 300-318, pp. 320-326 to help you understand the problem of rights. Use Rosenstand to quote extensively on the problem of rights and utilitarianism.
a) Do not waste any time outlining the plot of the “Cold Equations.” Assume the reader knows the problem.
b) Define the ethical position Barton is operating under and state why, on the surface, this is the best course of action. Are you in agreement with Barton and his commander? Can you think of any other solutions to this dilemma?
c) Read carefully Narveson’s comments (pp. 275ff) on fundamental rights, derivative rights, and moral rights. Have Marilyn’s fundamental rights been violated? Have her moral rights? What is the difference? What are Narveson’s concerns? You should incorporate in your discussion Rosenstands distinction between “negative” rights and “positive” rights as well.
d) What are the weaknesses in dealing with human problems from the ethical position you’ve defined in (b)?
There are faxes for this order.
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Total Pages: 4 Words: 1076 References: 0 Citation Style: MLA Document Type: Research Paper
Essay Instructions: Directions: Consider the question below and formulate a thesis and support it with reasons and
arguments. Be sure to address each part of the question below. I?m interested in quality of
argumentation and clarity, and your paper should be no less than 900 words and no more than
1300 (about three or four pages in length).
Type your answer in essay format (double-spaced, no more than one-inch margins), using proper
grammar, paying attention to spelling, sentence structure, etc. Use acceptable citation
conventions; i.e., reference the author, book, and page number in the text or in a footnote or
endnote and include a full bibliography.
1. Write an essay contrasting Kant's approach to ethics with Utilitarianism. (Be sure to
explain each theory, especially the greatest happiness principle and the categorical
imperative.) Which approach do you think is better and why? Defend your answer with
reasons and arguments.
? You may our texts and outside sources, but put the ideas into your own words; paraphrase
and cite properly, using appropriate conventions.
? Stay on topic. Be sure to answer the questions that are asked and avoid posing and asking
other questions that aren?t asked. Just how you answer the questions, though, is up to you: I
am looking for your views and there is room for creativity and ingenuity within this format.
? This assignment is not a research paper, but rather like a take home essay question for which
there is no specific time limit.
? Be sure to give arguments for your views. Make sure that your views are backed up by
reasons and evidence.
? Writing a lot of words won?t guarantee that you do well and with careful thinking and editing
you can say a lot of good things in few words. To produce ?A? level work, plan to do a lot of
pre-writing, make notes, outlines, rough drafts, and the like. Be sure to edit and refine your
? When planning and preparing your answer, be sure to consult the Weston?s A Rulebook for
Arguments chapter eight, ?Composing an Argumentative Essay.? For additional advice and
assistance, I strongly recommend Soccio?s ?How to get the Most out of Philosophy? chapter
seven, ?Critical Writing.?
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Essay Instructions: Midterm Reflection Paper
Stevenson, in Ten Theories of Human Nature addresses four topics in each chapter:
• Background metaphysical understanding of the universe and humanity’s place in it.
• A theory of human nature
• A diagnosis of some typical defect in human beings, of what tends to go wrong in human life and society
• A prescription or ideal for how human life should best be lived, typically offering guidance to individuals and human societies.
Select either Utilitarianism or Libertarianism as discussed in Sandel’s Justice and suggest how these four questions might be answered by proponents of that philosophical approach. You should use resources beyond Sandel to examine the basics of these philosophies and to check your understanding of concepts, but do not use Wikipedia, Conservaspedia or Metapedia as sources.
Perhaps it would have been easier if I asked you to compare and contrast either utilitarianism or
libertarianism with Plato (or Aristotle or The Bible). But, I figured it would be easier to just take a theory
in its own right. In my earleir email, I contrasted libertarianism with Calvinism.
So let me try to illustrate using Plato as an example. I'm doing this without the text in front of me so
this is off the top of my head.
It may be easiest to begin with the prescription and to work back to diagnosis, theory of human nature
and metaphysical background.
For example, Bentham's panopticon is an example of one specific prescription/solution for a problem:
social control of undesirable behaviors. In general, he argues that people make correct decisions to
garner pleasure and avoid pain (remember the hedonistic calculus). So, the prescriptive focus is on
creating a system of distribution of rewards that achieves the end of the greatest happiness for the
greatest number. Plato, in contrast might argue that the proper functioning of human soul (proper
relationship between reason, spirit and appetite) depends on the proper organization of the polity or
state. That state significantly restricts human freedom. How would the libertarian view the state? (Hint:
a libertarian would reject any measures that would impose a state religion, but would extol reason.)
The diagnostic question would be: Why do people engage in the problematic behaviors? For Plato, the
problem involves disorder among the parts of the soul. What might Bentham say? Would a libertarian
put forth a different position?
The diagnosis and prescription are based on some underlying ideas about human nature. For Plato, a
human possesses an immortal soul that can be brought into contact with the world of forms. Would
Bentham or a libertarian be likely to hold this view? If not, what might be set forth to justify an
The metaphysical underpinning is the background assumptions about the world in which humans act.
For Plato, this involves an understanding of a world of forms that exists apart from the material world.
Would Bentham view the world in this way? Would a libertarian?
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Essay Instructions: In the form of an Essay, Critique the Utilitarian moral theory as found in the writings of Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill. Take the point of view against this theory and address such points as the definition of "good" and "principle of utility." Also, be sure to address problems and limitations of Bentham’s Calculus of Happiness and Mill’s distinction between the “quantity” and “quality” of pleasure. Other points to negate could be “Act Utilitarianism” and “Rule Utilitarianism” and "Contemporary versions of utilitarian theory including cost-benefit analysis."
Try to use this format:When criticizing an opponent’s position, philosophers often try to show that the opponent’s position involves a dilemma. The word dilemma comes from the Greek di means two and lemma means proposition. In setting up a dilemma, you attempt to show that your opponent’s position leads to either of two propositions and that neither of these propositions is acceptable.
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