Thursday 7/25

Deontological Case Analysis

Examination III

Remember that we have the third of our five in-class examinations today. At 175 points, the stakes keep increasing. The exam will cover the following topics from class:

  • The Justice, Rights, and Backward-Looking Reasons Arguments
  • Act and Rule Utilitarian Theories;
  • Utilitarian Case Analyses (Act and Rule);
  • Kant's Criticism of Utilitarianism; and,
  • Kantian Ethical Theory (Deontology).






We began today considering the gulf, if you will, between the theoretical perspectives offered by utilitarianism, on the one hand, and deontology, on the other. In particular, we considered some of the decidedly grim history of human experimentation and read the exchanges between critics and researchers in the Willowbrook Hepatitis experiments. What we found, of course, were in some respects radically different ways of thinking about moral normative issues. It is clear from this discussion that such debates are extremely important in terms of both the judgments being made and in terms of the theoretical divide grounding those judgments.

Following our discussion, we got an early start on the third exam. Just as everyone did better (some more than others, of course) on the second exam than on the first, hopefully this exam will show similar improvement over the second exam as you continue gaining confidence with the material.