Difference between acting according to duty and acting from duty

Take-home midterm exam

The take-home midterm exam involves 1 short answer and 1 longer essay-style question. While you will have to answer the assigned prompt for the longer essay-style question, you will be able to choose between 2 prompts for the short answer. Your short essays should be between 500 words. Your longer essay should be 800 ca words.

Your essays should be double-spaced. Please, include the word count for both answers.

Part I – Short Essay (400-500 words ca)

This shorter essay is explicative. Choose either A or B from the options below.

A. There are multiple iterations of the categorical imperative throughout The Groundwork. Explain the first 3 (that is, leave out the “kingdom of ends”), and explain how they are linked.

B. What is the difference between acting according to duty and acting from (or for the sake of) duty? In addition to giving examples of each, make sure to talk about the categorical imperative, the importance that the moral law is necessary and universal, and the role of motives.

Part II – Long Essay (800 words ca)

This longer essay is a thesis-driven, organized, academic essay that focuses on the morality of open borders.

Thus far, we have learned about two ethical approaches, utilitarianism and deontology. We read articles that discuss the question of open borders using both a utilitarian and a deontological approach. In the essay, compose an argument about which approach (utilitarianism or deontology) you find most helpful in arguing for open borders.

Since this is an argumentative essay (a thesis-driven essay), you need to provide reasons why one approach is better than the other, and successfully defend your reasons (or why that is the case). You can draw from any readings done in class to come up with reasons or shortcomings of each approach that may be relevant for your argument.

Moreover, working closely with the primary texts (this means citing relevant passages and including page numbers), in the essay you also need to explain the main differences between utilitarianism and deontology as they are formulated by Mill and Kant, respectively. This means discussing a) what the principle of morality is for each approach, b) why each philosopher thinks that is the case, and c) how each approach determines what is moral/right.

Last Updated on October 11, 2021