A 5-7 page, double spaced and typed paper on one of the following topics. In each, you are asked to state and explain the theory in
question or the particular author‘s views on the subject. You are also asked to spend at least one of the pages explaining and
defending your own position on the matter. Accuracy. clarity. and evidence of careful thinking. as well as the cogency of your position
are the crucial features in these essays. (Be sure to include quotes from the thinkers in question to reinforce your stance).
1. How does Mill refonnulate Bentham’s theory of utilitarianism? Does he offer a better version of utilitarianism? Why or why
not? Does Mill defeat some of the common objections raised against utilitarianism? Using Saving Private Ryan, or Extreme
Measures. explore how utilitarianism can operate. Do you tend to agree or disagree with utilitarianism? Defend your response.
2. Using either Le Guin’s “The Ones who Walk Away from Omelas’ or John Harris’ “The Survival Lottery”. discuss what the narrative
in question implies about utilitarianism. Be sure to explain what utilitarianism involves. Do you tend to agree or disagree with
such a depiction? Do you think the merits or weaknesses of utilitarianism are more pressing? Use concrete examples to defend
3, Construct a debate between John Stuart Mill (a defender of utilitarianism) and Bernard Williams (the critic of utilitarianism). Make
sure to draw on direct quotes from Mill and Williams. Using Williams’ own posed scenario of shooting one to save nineteen,
explore how their conversation would likely flow. Who would you side with in such a debate and why? Would you pitch in any
points of your own?
4, Delve into Kant’s vision of morality. Be sure to highlight how he envisages duty through the formulation of the categorical
imperative and explain how it contrasts with hypothetical imperatives. What does it mean AND how does it apply itself? (Be sure
to use concrete examples) What are its various strengths and weaknesses? Delve inlo Richard Taylor’s criticisms of Kant’s ethics
and explain who you tend to side with and why.
5, Delve into Aristotle’s views about how to live life virtuously. Why does he insist that living virtuously is necessary for happiness?
Unpack how the intellectual and moral virtues can work by focusing upon a few key virtues (and explain why they would count as
virtues in Aristotle’s estimation). What advice does Aristotle offer in trying to help people lead virtuous lives? Can you think of any
examples of humans who would fit Aristotle’s depiction of living virtuously? (and explain who and why). Are there any possible
pitfalls with Aristotle’s vision about virtuous living?
6, Using the film “Seven” as a main point of focus. unpack how the movie highlights the seven deadly sins (as extreme forms of vice
which can destroy one’s life). Explore John Doe’s perspective and how his killings are meant to exemplify the way the seven
deadly sins can harm life. Doe accuses people of accepting sins as trivial or even normal and thus alright. Do you think he is right
to castigate such forms of behavior? (Focus upon one sin in particular and investigate whether it is destruction to oneself and or
others and be sure to use concrete examples.) How might Aristotle view the characters in this movie, and why would he have such
7, Pick any thinker from Chapter 6 (Vice), and explore what is claimed about the particular vice in question. Do you think the writer
highlights central human failures which are problematic no matter the time period or culture? in our own current society, do you
see any examples of such vice and do you think such behavior should be discouraged? Why or why not?
8. Compare and contrast the views of Peter Singer and John Arthur in the debate over whether developed countries owe moral
obligations to give aid to developing nations. Which thinker do you tend to side with and why? (make sure to explore Singer’s
famous analogy and unpack its implications for how most of us in the West tend to live in terms of our current lifestyles).
9. Explore the abortion debate by highlighting the contrasting views of Judith Jarvis Thomson (“A Defense of Abortion”) and Don
Marquis’ “Why Abortion is Immoral.” (Make sure to highlight Thomson’s analogies and her underlying line of argument in her
analogies: and make sure to explain Marquis’ “future like ours” line of argument). Who do you tend to side with and why? Do you
think they leave out important points to ponder in the contentious debate over abortion? Explain and defend your position.
10 Compare and contrast the views of Singer and Roger Scruton in the debate over whether animals deserve moral regard. Who do
you think has the better stance and why? (For Singer, do a bit more research including what he means by speciesism-there are
lots of youtube videos where he explains his stance but one of the better ones is Animal Liberation: From Past, Present to
Future.) Link this debate to the current practices of factory farming (i.e. watch on youtube “From Factory to Fridge”) As
consumers are we doing something immoral if we eat meat which comes from cattleflivestock in factory farms. Why or why not?
Could any changes be made which can rectify such cruelties/suffering‘? (Make sure to defend your responses).
11. Outline what affirmative action involves, along with why discrimination is considered morally illegitimate. Compare and contrast
Fullinwider and Steele’s views on Affimtative Action. Who do you think makes the stronger case and why? Overall do you think
the merits or pitfalls of affirmative action win the day?
12. Compare and contrast the views of Ernest Van den Haag and Anthony Amsterdam on capital punishment. Do you think that any
crucial arguments are left out by either of them? Who do you side with and why?(ask me for the readings on these topics) (Make
sure to back up your claims with empirical evidence so some research on this topic is required but make sure to spend most of the
space on the two thinkers in question).
Last Updated on February 11, 2019 by EssayPro