University of Kansas, Fall 2004
Philosophy 160: Introduction to Ethics

Preview of test on normative ethics

The test will be given in class on Tuesday, November 9. There will be twenty multiple-choice questions worth 5 points each.

As before, most of the questions on the test will be of the following kinds (see the preview of the test on meta-ethics to remind yourself of what I mean by some of these things):

  1. First, there may be quiz questions. So, you should be sure you can answer any of those.
  2. Second, there may be questions that are derived from quiz questions.
  3. There may be questions that are derived from the explanations of why certain answers to quiz questions are right or wrong answers.
  4. There may be questions that ask you to detect statements that are implied by certain views, or that are incompatible with certain views.
  5. There may be statements that ask you to detect statements or structures of reasoning that are analogous, in certain respects, to ones you should know and understand.
The upshot of these first three points, then, is that you should be familiar with the quiz questions, their right answers, and the reasoning behind them. To accomplish this, I would recommend that you not only review the quiz questions and answers, but also closely re-read the specific passages of the textbook that the quiz questions are based on. You have probably noticed, in taking the quizzes, that I tend to emphasize certain parts of each chapter and de-emphasize others, so you will find that the passages that you need to re-read are a very manageable fraction of what you’ve already read. And you’ll find re-reading those passages to be a lot easier than reading them the first time was.

There will also be questions that are based on the lectures rather than the textbook. For example, I might ask you what it means for one statement to be an implication of another, or why we spend so much time figuring out what the implications of the theories we study are.

In other words, you should expect the test, in its form and in the nature of its questions, to be similar to the meta-ethics test. You should not count on its being very similar to the test I gave in the Spring 2004 section of this course. I have posted that on the course web site only to provide equal access to it, since I assume that, without its being posted, some people would have access to it, from students who were in that class, and some would not, which I think would be unfair (even though, as I have said, I do not recommend relying on that test as a guide to this one).

Now let me mention another way of approaching the content that you need to know. We studied five normative-ethical theories (ethical egoism, utilitarianism, Kantianism, contractarianism, and the ethics of care). For each of the first four of these, it is essential that you know (a) what its main principle is and (b) the method that you have to go through in order to apply it. (For the fifth, the ethics of care, there is no “main principle”; instead, you need to know why it has no “main principle,” as well as how to apply it) Since there are really two principles for Kantianism, you have the following twelve numbered boxes to think about:



method for applying it
ethical egoism 1 2
utilitarianism 3 4
Kantianism first formulation of c.i. 5 6
second formulation of c.i. 7 8
contractarianism 9 10
ethics of care 11 12

You should be sure that you can write down what the contents of boxes 1–12 are. And you should be able to employ the methods that go in the even-numbered boxes, so that if I present a specific moral problem to you on the test, then you can say what a certain theory would say about that moral problem.