Phil. 212: Introduction to Ethics
Final Exam Name: _______________________
The exam is comprised of 10 questions (each with 10 points, unless noted
otherwise on [Q6], [Q9], &[Q10]), which should be answered in short essays
(mostly, one or more paragraph(s) will do; only full sentences, not phrases or just
words, will count).
You are strongly advised to write as elaborately as you can (you may use the back
pages for more space, if needed); also you are required to write legibly, given that
this is all hand-written.
[Q1] on the Contractarianism:
[1.1] Why is contractarianism deemed to be a version of secular ethics as an alternative
to religious ethics?
[1.2] Explain how the game-theoretic account of the State of Nature in terms of the
celebrated Prisoners’ Dilemma model help illustrate the contractarian argument
(refer to the notion of Pareto-optimality).
[Q2] The two dominant ethical theories, namely, Kantianism and Utilitarianism, can be
contrasted diametrically in terms of the five dichotomies laid out below. Do the followings in each:
(1) Identify and explain the two sides in each dichotomy; and
(2) Associate them with the two ethical theories respectively:
[2.1] two loci of values
[2.2] two ways of means/ends relationship
[2.3] two conceptions of good in hierarchy of values
[2.4] two schools of thought in metaphysics and epistemology
[2.5] two notions of imperative
[Q3] It is neither quite feasible nor even desirable for a moral agent (e.g., an individual like
yourself or a corporate entity such as a society) to align herself permanently with just one
of the two dominant schools of thought on morality, i.e., Kantian and Utilitarian.
It would be fair to say that the instances of inconsistencies in swinging back and forth
between the two moral systems are almost inevitable, given that a moral agent is
encountered with diverse states of affairs where some kinds of value conflict are
deeply embedded. (Remind yourself of many scenarios that we have studied.)
[3.1] Explain what the notion called summum bonum is.
[3.2] Explain how the aforementioned inconsistencies (and even consistencies) can be
explained and justified by referring to summum bonum.
[Q4] Explain why Aristotelian ethics shares teleological (i.e., not deontological) element, but
still cannot be equated with Utilitarian consequentialism.
[Q5] Consider the following argument (which is an enthymeme):
Capital punishment is morally impermissible;
it simply doesn’t deter crime.
[5.1] Reconstruct the argument by identifying the three components:
(a) the conclusion
(b) the explicit premise
(c) the implicit premise
[5.2] Answer whether the argument is Kantian or Utilitarian in terms of the moral
principle that it subscribes to, and explain why.
[Q6] On Rawls’ ethical theory of social justice:
(NB: 10 points to each of the two sub-questions)
[6.1] Explain why it is fair to interpret his proposal on the perennial issue of social (distributive) justice as a (neo-Kantian) compromise between Kantianism and
[6.2] Explain how Rawls attempts to justify his proposal.
[Q7] Consider the following Thomson’s statement on abortion, which sounds ambivalent and
even contradictory against her own overall pro-choice argument:
“…while I do argue that abortion is not impermissible,
I do not argue that it is always permissible. I am inclined
to think it a merit of my account precisely that it does not
give a general yes or a general no.”
On behalf of Thomson, explain why she qualifies her own pro-choice position in this
startling fashion, and furthermore takes pride in doing so. (You’re advised to invoke the
analysis with 2 x 2 matrix that we have studied.)
[Q8] On the Thesis of Posteriority:
[8.1] What does it mean to say that the ethical is posterior to the
[8.2] How is the Thesis exhibited in the ethical discourse of social justice in the
construction of Rawls’ theory?
[8.3] How is the Thesis exhibited in the ethical discourse on the issue of abortion?
NB: Choose only one question out of [Q9] & [Q10] for 10 points;
Mark which one you’re answering.
[Q9] Can Hare’s notion of universalizability be both a necessary and a sufficient condition for
moral principles? Explain your answer.
[Q10] Explain why Moore is criticized of committing a fallacy of hypostatization in accusing
ethical accounts of naturalistic fallacy?