Ethics Essay

EPHUMA307 Philosophy   18/10/2011

Ethics Assignment Question choices

Length: 1500 words

Due: 5 pm Friday 18 November

You have a choice of three (3) questions for this essay.

The first one is that which you should have received in your hard copy Course Outline; the second is the version contained in the version of the Course Outline on Blackboard and the third is an easier question to make up for the confusion caused by the difference in the two existing versions. (I recommend that you do the third, Question C, as it is substantially easier unless you have already put a lot of work into one of the others and you wish to continue with that question.) The choice is yours.

Please make it clear which question you are answering when submitting the essay.

The question is to be answered with respect to what we have studied in class and any further research you may wish to add. At least two quotations or paraphrases must be included from reputable sources and with adequate referencing. (This means with page numbering.)

Question A.
Is it credible, as utilitarians suppose, that we can practise ethical theory (?and ethical life?) as a “science”?
Hint: What this means is not that one of the current sciences (or all of them together) should become the basis of ethical thinking and action, but it asks if you think that it is plausible to develop an ethical theory and practice constructed upon purely rational (but still humanistic) grounds. In other words, is it plausible to develop this so-called “ethical calculus” by which to determine the worth of individual lives and groups of lives.

Question B.

What, if anything, do you consider to be the foundation on which moral values gain legitimacy?

Hint: The possibilities appear to be these. (i) Morality is grounded on the will of God: this would make it absolutely objective. (ii) There is a universal code (presumably genetic) that establishes moral sense within every human being (this makes it...