MORAL THEORY: QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION

 

1. What is psychological egoism? Does it seem true or false to you? Why or why not? What about ethical egoism? Describe it and evaluate it.

 

2. What is ethical relativism? Describe and evaluate.

 

3. Describe the basic features of utilitarianism.  What is Mill's Greatest Happiness Principle? Distinguish between act and rule utilitarianism. What are some potential problems with utilitarianism?

 

4. What are the basic features of Kantian morality? Be sure to describe the categorical imperative, the good will, and the notion of duty. What problems do you see with the Kantian picture?

 

5. In class, we discussed W. D. Ross as an example of a “common morality” theory. According to Ross, what is a prima facie obligation? How does it function in his theory?

 

6. What is the focus of virtue ethics? How is it different from the other theories? Does this seem like a better approach?

 

7. What criticisms of traditional moral theories do care ethicists typically make? Do you agree with those criticisms?