principle of ethics ( mid term)

This review exam is in two parts. The First part (Sec. 1, 2) is all short answers, and DUE by email THE DAY OF CLASS, to satisfy the attendance requirement.

Section 3, The Case Studies, can be finished and turned in at your own pace.

  • Brief definitions:
  • Brief answer questions (2-3 sentences):

Four normative systems


rule utilitarianism

act Utilitarianism

Intrinsic / extrinsic

Social Contract

Universal law

Categorical imperative

Natural Rights theory

Immanuel Kant

Jeremy Bentham

Ethical egoism

Cost-benefit analysis

Agent-centered ethics


  • Explain the difference between the system of law and the system of ethics.

2. Why is a utilitarian decision, at least superficially, seem easier to accept than a deontological one?

3. Tom is a cultural relativist, and suggests there is no way to judge between cultural ethics because every culture is different. How do you answer?

4. In terms of equal justice, is utilitarianism fair?

5. How do you answer Sam who comments, about a decision he made that what he decides about the moral content is no one else’s business, because it is “how I feel.”

6. Give two or three examples of deontological-based systems of laws / morals.

7. What elements go into making a “right” decision?

8. In a case study, what elements should be considered?

9. How should one answer, there isno objective morality?

10. Given what you know, how might Eastern and Western Ethics differ?

3. Case Studies

What facts, questions, ethical theories are important here: what are different possible ways of looking at these cases, and what are the consequences?

Tom, a pre-med student, works two part-time jobs while attending a prestigious university. He finds his course load for the spring semester very challenging and he struggles to keep up with the assignments in his anthropology course. Tom knows the instructor, Dr. B, thinks highly of him and that she has a reputation of being somewhat of a softy when it comes to “good” students. So, having missed the deadline for submission of an important paper, Tom goes to Dr. B with the story that he and his twin brother were in a serious car accident over the weekend. Tom explains that he didn’t hand in the assignment because he had been at the hospital sitting at his brother’s bedside in the intensive care unit, where hs brother is now on life support. Dr B is of course very sympathetic and grants Tom an extension on the assignment. Later in the semester Tom once again finds himself behind the eight ball on an assignment.

2. Susan has put her life on hold to have a family, she is the primary care taker of a very large family, she wants to return to her fulfilling life in the legal system, she then finds out that she is pregnant with a fetus that has Downs syndrome, and she decides to have an abortion. How would you advise her?

3. In terms of ethical priority, which should take precedence: a civil order and its laws, or an individual. Give an example of this conflict, and choose an ethical system that you think would govern here.

4. Talk about one case in the news that you have been following. What are the ethical decisions, agents, moral responsibilities of the case as you understand them.

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