Boudica Writing — Zena Ryder, freelance writer
by Elliott Sober, Prentice Hall, Third Edition
PART V: ETHICS (LECTURES 27 - 33)
LECTURE 27 - NORMATIVE ETHICS & METAETHICS
 Metalinguistic statements are statements about language. Metamathematics involves theories that are about mathematical theories. Metaethics is concerned with questions about ethics, such as:
(a) Is murder right or wrong?
(b) Are there really any moral truths?
(c) Should an action be performed if it promotes the greatest happiness for the greatest number?
(d) Does a morally just action tend to promote happiness?
 Ethical subjectivism maintains that
(a) No statement that says an action is right (or wrong) is true.
(b) There are no objective ethical truths.
(c) There are no true ought-propositions.
(d) All of the above.
LECTURE 28 - THE IS/OUGHT GAP & THE NATURALISTIC FALLACY
 Emotivism is an ethical theory that claims that:
(a) Ethics is an emotionally difficult subject.
(b) To be morally right, an action must make people have positive emotions, such as happiness.
(c) A moral statement expresses the speaker’s feelings and attitudes.
(d) The emotional impact of an action determines whether it is morally right or wrong.
 Hume claimed that a deductively valid argument with an ethical conclusion must have:
(a) A false premise.
(b) No ethical statements as premisses.
(c) At least one true premise.
(d) At least one ethical statement as a premise.
LECTURE 29 - OBSERVATION & EXPLANATION IN ETHICS
 What is a thought experiment?
(a) An imagined hypothetical situation, which we can use to decide whether a general principle is true in that situation.
(b) A psychology experiment, especially one that is crucial for us to understand ethical beliefs.
(c) Before a scientist performs a new experiment, they determine the hypothesis they will test and all the details they will attempt to observe. The proposed experiment is known as a “thought experiment” before it is actually performed.
(d) An experiment in which electrodes are attached to the scalp and brain activity is measured.
 What does it mean to say that an observation is “theory laden”?
(a) That the observation is biased because it’s influenced by the theory the observer already holds.
(b) That the observation is, in part, determined by the theories the observer holds — including the concepts they have.
(c) That the observation is false, partly because it depends on a false theory.
(d) That the observation is subjective, because the theory it depends on is subjective.
LECTURE 30 - CONVENTIONALIST THEORIES
 Which of the following is true?:
(a) The Divine Command Theory says that an action that God says is wrong (adultery or murder, say) is wrong because God says it is wrong.
(b) If you reject the Divine Command Theory then, to have consistent beliefs, you must also be an atheist.
(c) The Divine Command Theory says that even if God didn’t exist, certain actions (adultery or murder, say) would still be wrong.
(d) If the Divine Command Theory is false, then God doesn’t exist.
 Which of these statements would be true if relativism were true:
(a) Even if our society considered murder to be ethically permissible, then it would still be wrong to commit murder.
(b) Whether or not murder is wrong depends on whether God says murder is wrong.
(c) If our society considered murder to be ethically permissible, then it would be ethically permissible for us to commit murder.
(d) The rightness or wrongness of murder is independent of a society’s beliefs about the rightness or wrongness of murder.
LECTURE 31 - UTILITARIANISM
 An act utilitarian will say that:
(a) The guilty should be punished and the innocent should not be punished.
(b) Whether the innocent should be punished depends on the benefits it would produce.
(c) The punishment should fit the crime.
(d) Punishment causes unhappiness so people should not be punished.
 The problem of “personal loyalties” for the act utilitarian is that:
(a) Utilitarianism can’t explain why we have greater moral responsibilities to those we love, such as our children.
(b) Utilitarianism requires us to consider the happiness of all people impartially, including our nearest and dearest.
(c) Utilitarianism implies that we should be morally (not emotionally) indifferent between rescuing our own child from drowning and rescuing someone else’s child.
(d) All of the above.
LECTURE 32 - KANT’S MORAL THEORY
 Which one of these statements would Kant accept?:
(a) The moral value of an action depends entirely on its consequences.
(b) The balance of harms and benefits caused by an action are entirely irrelevant to that action’s moral value.
(c) Being honest is morally right because, in the end, being honest will maximize preference satisfaction.
(d) Both reason and desire determine what makes an action morally right or wrong.
LECTURE 33 - ARISTOTLE ON THE GOOD LIFE
 Human beings’ capacity to reason makes us different from other organisms. So, Aristotle thought, the good life for humans is one in which rational capacities are developed and exercised to a high degree. Sober criticises this view by pointing out that:
(a) Humans have other characteristics that are unique to our species, such as donating to charity. So there is no reason to single out rationality as uniquely important to a good life.
(b) Many humans are irrational, so there is no reason to single out rationality as uniquely important to a good life.
(c) Other animals, such as apes and dolphins, may have rational capacities, so there is no reason to single out rationality as uniquely important to a good life.
(d) Children are not rational beings, so there is no reason to single out rationality as uniquely important to a good life.