- Look at the domains of ethical assessment laid out in chapter 1. Your book lists: action, consequences, character traits, and motives. Which of them do you think is the most important to consider when making ethical judgments, and why?
- Do you think that conventional ethical relativism is true? Explain why or why not, evaluating at least one of the benefits and at least one of the criticisms of the theory in your answer.
- Explain the happiness machine thought experiment in chapter 4. Would you plug yourself into the happiness machine? Explain why or why not.
- Explain Aquinas’s doctrine of double effect. Do you agree with this doctrine? Does it give the right answers to moral questions? Explain the position the doctrine of double effect leads to on abortion – do you agree with this position? Explain why or why not.
- Explain what the ring of Gyges is. If you had the ring of Gyges, would you still act morally? If other people had the ring of Gyges, do you think they would still act morally? Explain why or why not.
Explain the position of ethical egoism. Do you think this is the correct moral position for a person to take? Explain why or why not. Make sure to discuss at least two of the objections raised in the chapter against ethical egoism, and explain why they either succeed or fail in refuting ethical egoism.
- Singer argues that we should donate all our disposable income to charity; otherwise, we are bad people since we are not producing as much happiness as we could: at least everything we earn over $30,000 a year. Do you agree with him that we should do this? Explain why or why not.
- Is utilitarianism the correct moral theory? Explain why or why not. Be sure to examine at least one of the listed strengths, and two of the listed objections of utilitarianism in your answer.
- Which do you think is the better version of ethics: action-based theories (like Utilitarianism or Kantian ethics) or virtue-based theories?
Explain why, according to Kant’s law of nature formula of categorical imperative, it is wrong to make a lying promise. Why would it be wrong according to his principle of ends formula of the categorical imperative? Do you agree with Kant that lying is always wrong, or are there exceptions? Explain why or why not.
- Are animals moral agents? That is, can an animal be described as being morally good or bad, or their actions being morally good or bad? Or are animals neither good nor bad but simply neutral (like a tornado)?
- Explain the basic idea of what your book terms “female care ethics”. How is it supposed to differ from more traditional, rule based moral theories? Finally, your book gives four options regarding gender and ethics. Describe these, and explain which one we should adopt and why.
- Do you need to believe in God to be a moral person? Explain why or why not.
- Does religion enhance moral life? Explain and justify your answer, explaining at least one point given in “The Case for Religion” and at least one point given in “The Case against Religion”.
- Ayer thinks that saying “murder is wrong” is not to make a factual claim but to simply express emotion. It would be like saying “murder!” followed by a sad face emoji. Do you agree with him, or do you think “murder is wrong” is a factual claim? Explain
- Explain Mackie’s argument against moral realism, be sure to explain at least two of his arguments against it. Do you agree with him that morality is simply a human invention? Explain why or why not.