FALL 2007
The final exam will be require you to write on three of the following eight questions (without texts or notes).
1.  Critically compare and contrast what Aristotle says about a good human life's involving rational activity with what Kant says about the relation of morality to practical reason.  What do we learn from this about their views of ethics and morality, and any fundamental differences between their philosophical approaches to ethics?


2.  Briefly discuss the distinction between metaethics and normative ethics and the "fundamental dilemma" of metaethics (including some discussion of Harman’s problem).  Then, taking one of Aristotle, Mill, or Kant as your example, discuss the philosopher's metaethics, including his best response to the dilemma, and then comment on how his normative views relate to his metaethical position.

3.  Critically evaluate Kant’s thesis that in the realm of ends, every rational agent would will the same universal laws in common.  It seems quite possible that different rational agents with different preferences, sources, talents, value systems, etc. would will different principles as universal law.  How could Kant respond to this putative problem?  In the book A Theory of Justice, John Rawls appeals to the device of “a veil of ignorance” to solve a similar problem.  Are there any connections between John Rawls’s idea of “a veil of ignorance” and Kant’s moral philosophy?  How successful a solution to the putative problem mentioned above would Rawls’s device provide?

4.  Critically compare and contrast the Kantian demand that we act in accord with principles we could legislate in a Kingdom of Ends with rule utilitarianism.  Is Mill's charge at the beginning of Utilitarianism that Kant's view must reduce to some form of utilitarianism accurate?  Why or why not?
5.  Imagine that Aristotle is tele-transported forward in time and reads Nietzsche’s Genealogy of Morals.  Discuss what you think he would agree with and disagree with and why.
6.  Discuss Kant's position on the moral worth of actions in light of Gilligan's "ethics of care (responsibility)", and vice versa.  Critically assess the objections each would make to the views of the other, and their respective replies, illustrating what general issues between their respective views are at stake.

7.  What is the modern conception of morality? Critically discuss Nietzsche’s genealogical argument against morality in this sense.  Does his argument succeed?  Even if Nietzsche is right that morality actually occurred and developed in the way he describes, can the modern conception of morality be still justified?  Explain your answers.


8.  Compare the ideal judge theory with theological voluntarism. In doing so, you need to discuss the features characterizing an ideal judge and discuss what rationale there might be for these features.  Consider what criticisms a proponent of the ideal judge theory might make of theological voluntarism, the criticisms a theological voluntarist might  make of the ideal judge theory, and how each might best respond to the criticisms of the other.