Up@dawn 2.0

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Quiz Jan26

BB2 - Moral Theories

1. (T/F) In the Mayor's Dilemma, one of the possible actions considered is to set an example of defiance.

2. Which theory has been dominant in bioethics and often used by many health professionals?

3. In deontological theory, what is the difference between hypothetical and categorical imperatives?

4. What ethical principle (and whose), 
in the name of rational consistency, absolute dutifulness, and mutual respect, "requires unconditional obedience and overrides our preferences and desires" with respect to things like lying, for example?

5.  What would Kant say about Tuskegee, or about the murderer "at our door"?

6. What more do we want from a moral theory than Kant gives us?

7. What is the distinctive question in virtue ethics?

8. What Greek philosopher was one of the earliest exponents of virtue ethics?

9. Paraphrase the Harm Principle. Who was its author?

10. Name one of the Four Principles in Beauchamp and Childress's theories on bio
medical ethics?


  • How would you resolve the dilemma, if you were Mayor?
  • Do you consider yourself more an ethical consequentialist/utilitarian, pragmatist, deontologist, virtue ethicist, or none of the above? Is it possible to be ethically responsible without first clarifying and claiming your own theoretical ethical commitments? 
  • Do you agree with Peter Singer that the ethical choice which best serves the goal of minimizing pain and suffering requires ending lives?
  • Is a felicific calculus such as Jeremy Bentham proposed possible, or practical?
  • Would life in Huxley's Brave New World really be nightmarish and dystopian, if universal happiness were its result?
  • Kant's categorical imperative requires always treating individuals respectfully, as ends in themselves and never as means to any other social or collective good. Can you imagine any scenario in which it would be ethically correct to violate that imperative, in the name of medical progress or social welfare?
  • Is virtue ethics "elitist and utopian" in its quest to articulate the conditions of a good life and death for all? Are virtues and vices culturally relative? 36-7


  1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R9IM3ZKNMCk

    An explanation of the harm principle with narrated cartoons.

  2. https://philosophyfactory.files.wordpress.com/2012/02/kant-negative.jpg

    A cartoon on the categorical imperative, making the point that it only vetoes action.

  3. Quiz Question: What is the third criticism of virtue ethics?

    1. it is too vague and nondescript to properly answer bio-ethical problems

  4. quiz question: who devised the "Greatest Happiness Principle"

  5. I found this article about the court system and scientists trying to use brain imaging to determine if a criminal has a sense of morals or not and to what extant if so. The testing is inconclusive but I thought the idea was pretty neat.


  6. Quiz Question: What is Kant's alternative formulation of the basic moral law?

    1. always treat people as "ends" and not merely "means" to an end

  7. quiz question: which ethical approach focuses on freedom from social control and limiting restrictions made to individual decision making

  8. In response to one of the discussion questions mentioned above, I would consider myself as more of a person who relates with the theory of ethical consequentialism. Having said that, I do believe that an individual can be morally responsible without having any predisposed ethical commitments or virtues. For means of a relatively simple example, a large majority of people would feel compelled (perhaps obligated) to dial 911 in the case of witnessing a robbery, murder, etc... regardless of their personal beliefs or views. Anyways, those are just my two cents!

  9. Quiz Question:What three ideas did Mill use to help shape the Harm Principle?

    1. 1. If by harming themselves, that individual harms others by violating their rights, then we can deduce on this ground.

      2. An individual's specific duties can alter self-regarding actions into one maintained by the Harm Principle.

      3. If self-harm committed by that individual "causes grief to his family" then he can be reproached for not taking their interests and feelings into true consideration.

  10. Quiz Question:

    Who is a well known exponent of the Consequentialism approach?

  11. I decided to look up Mill Vs. Kant to get a better understanding on some of the principles, and I came upon this cartoon. I probably laughed way harder than I should have, but who doesn't love stickmen with martinis?


  12. Quiz question: Who were the exponents of Consequentialism, Deontologicalism, Virtue Ethics, Communitarianism, and Libertarianism, respectively? What did each believe?

  13. Is a felicific calculus such as Jeremy Bentham proposed possible, or practical?

    I think this is a ridiculous proposal. To think that we can scientifically measure something such as "happiness" is like trying to measure boredom or any other intangible feeling. The truth of the matter is that happiness is relative and has huge variations among different people. The very definition of happiness differs among people from intoxication to contentment to abuse so to say that a standard by which all people's happiness can be scientifically measured is absurd.

    1. I very much agree with you. I believe the book is only trying to present this theory in order for the reader to understand the positives and negatives of the theory. It wants to convey the message that bioethics must consist of a much deeper thought, and there are no simple "rules" on decisions for complex situations.

  14. Discussion Question: Ethics is closely related to politics as politics debates the morality of the extend of the allocation of resources and the control to allocate these resources. Can we apply the five theories of ethics to get closer to answering this debate?


  15. This weekend I saw an old sci-fi movie called X. It was about a doctor who was trying to improve humanities eyes, ie give us x-ray vision. The doctor ended up taking the treatments because a board of directors halted his funding. My question is do you think the doctor was in the right to try to improve ocular abilities through unnatural means?

    1. DQ: Would life in Huxley's Brave New World really be nightmarish and dystopian, if universal happiness were its result?

      Response: The mere notion of living in a world where man is left to his own fate and lustful desires, with no moral or faith is one that would personally worry me. However, I feel that, to some degree, a real life application of this "dystopia" already exists to some-- and has since the earliest days of humanity. We see evidence of this nightmare in the Bible (ie. Sodom and Gomorrah) among other texts. There are various records and other forms of media all over the web that mention and discuss these events. Huxley’s Brave New World mentions how use of the television and consumption of the hallucigenic drug [Soma] would be encouraged (though not mandated) to everyone, thus eliminating “God and the need for religion”. Now while that may leave the thought of “We still have an ‘opt- out’ decision”, wouldn’t that still cause the minority to feel left out of this supposed “happiness” felt by the majority of people in the world in which they inhabit? In other words, would universal happiness truly be the result, if it meant living a lifestyle that consisted strictly of debauchery and immorality? If it meant that those “in the right mind” were viewed as the opposers in such a society?

  16. Discussion Question:
    It seems that the moral theories are closely related to political ideology. Should we relate these theories to political ideology, and would history repeat itself if certain theories were carried out strictly according to their descriptions, or should one concern little on this matter due to the separation of topics between biology and politics?

  17. Alexandria RobertsJanuary 26, 2016 at 2:18 PM

    Discussion Question

    Do you hold as firmly to Kant's rigid principle of absolute honesty? Do you believe there are circumstances which call for or excuse it, even if it means you being lied to as well?

  18. Alexandria RobertsJanuary 26, 2016 at 2:22 PM

    Would life in Huxley's Brave New World really be nightmarish and dystopian, if universal happiness were its result?

    Yes, I believe it would. One, because you cannot insure entirely universal happiness. Like in the novel, there will be exceptions who will suffer the compounded horrifying consequences of such extreme ostracism. Furthermore, most people do not choose the matrix. We want our happiness to be real. Otherwise it falls flat and flavorless.

  19. Are Your Actions GOOD? (Kant vs. Mill)

    I found this video to be very insightful in better understanding the philosophical views of John Stuart Mill and Immanuel Kant.
    *It has a dynamic presentation too, which is a plus!


  20. I found this video to be a good discussion on consequentialism. This moral theory is most debatable to me, because either viewpoint is justifiable.


    Possible quiz question: What is the best known form of consequentialism that states "actions are right according to whether they produce the greatest happiness?

  21. Quiz Q's:

    What did Aristotle call the man whose nature it was to live in society?

    pp: 38-39.

  22. In class discussion with Sarah, Addison, and Heather: We discussed that in the mayors dilemma we could say how we would HOPE we would react, but without adding in a personal aspect, such as one of the hostagesis a person we love, we just can't be sure.

  23. Zack Davis, Jesse Brandon, Nick Strukov

    We talked about what we would do in the Mayor perspective, and we all agreed that we would kill to have others survive.

  24. Concerning the Mayor's Delimma, each person in our group had different viewpoints.
    Caleb - I stated that I would most likely beat the guilty party to save the masses. However, I would ultimately get winded due to my lack of cardio at my desk job, not be able to sufficiently beat anyone to death, and get everyone killed.
    Michael- put the colonel in a choke hold. Either free my people or watch your leader die.
    Gavin-when I think about it I may be forced to kill the resistor hoping the others would survive
    Robby - One for many.

  25. Darcy, Phillip, and Lee:

    We discussed the first discussion question. We first thought that the answer to the question is ultimately circumstantial. We don't know who was in the good or bad essentially. For all we know, the villagers could be going against good people trying to help them (i.e. the militant group).

    But under the assumption that the people with machine guns were oppressive, we agreed that the best choice to preserve our humanity and reputation would to choose not to kill those two guerrillas because for all we know, they will all die anyway.

    We also discussed Lee's discussion question. We agreed that it could be answered with simple libertarianism, as he did no harm to anyone else but himself.

  26. In class discussion:
    Discussed the apparent need to prescribe to a particular theoretical ideology (i.e. Utilitarianism, pragmatism, etc.) to be able to make any justifiable claims about the mayor dilemma. Otherwise, the decision is tremendously difficult, appearing to be a lose/lose situation.
    We also discussed the Brave New World scenario, agreeing that it WOULD be something nightmarish if universal happiness were a thing.

  27. In Class Discussion (Christopher Adereti, Shonda Clanton, Madison Toney):

    We discussed the idea of revoking some individual rights for their greater good in society. We discussed this idea considering immunization controversies as well as the idea of incarceration. We all agreed that under certain circumstances the rights and decisions of a few individuals should be voided for the betterment of the entire society; especially, if they have acted in a way that is dangerous to others and puts them at a risk.

  28. In Class Discussion:
    Kayleah, Bell, Shivan

    Our group discussed the rights of all living things, including animals. We all agreed that animals' rights should be respected as humans' rights are, but it is a difficult decision to be made because scientists need to test drugs before administering them to humans. We also discussed the ethics behind vaccinations, and how human rights should be considered while protecting the entire population from infectious diseases.