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Phyllis Young: Module 7 Assignment


Directions: The following problems ask you to evaluate hypothetical situations and/or concepts related to the reading in this module.  While there are no “correct answers” for these problems, you must demonstrate a strong understanding of the concepts and lessons from this module’s reading assignment.  Please provide detailed and elaborate responses to the following problems.  Your responses should include examples from the reading assignments and should utilize APA guidelines.  Responses that fall short of the assigned minimum page length will not earn any points.

1.      Two weeks ago, your good friend Joe spent his entire Saturday helping you move all of your stuff into your new apartment.  This weekend, Joe is moving into his apartment.  You promised to help Joe move.  Besides, even if you had not promised, you feel that you ought to help Joe; after all, he’s a good and loyal friend, and he generously helped you just a couple of weeks ago.  Suppose you say: “I know I really ought to keep my promise and help Joe move; but I have got a chance to go to the beach for the weekend, and I really love the beach; so I am afraid I am going to skip out on Joe.”  That is a rotten thing to do to your friend; but still, under strong temptation we have all failed to do the right thing on one or two occasions.  But suppose you said: “I know that I really ought to keep my promise and help Joe; I know it is the right thing to do, and helping Joe would certainly be good.  But I have no inclination whatsoever to help Joe.  I fully understand that it is the right thing to do and that helping Joe would be good; but although I recognize that helping Joe is good, I am not at all inclined to do the right thing.”  Would it make sense to say that?  Suppose one of your friends said: “Look, that is nonsense.  You cannot say you know it would be good to help Joe, and then say that you have no inclination to help him.  Either you do not really think that helping Joe is good, or you are confused about the meanings of the words.  If you really know that helping Joe is the right thing to do, you must have some inclination to do it.”  Would your friend be right?  Your response should be at least one page in length.

2.      “Astronomers maintain that black holes exist in our galaxy.  A black hole results when a massive star implodes, and all its mass is compressed into a very small volume.  This produces an object so dense, and with such powerful gravitational force, that no light can escape.  Therefore, you cannot really ‘see’ a black hole; we can reasonably conclude that a black hole exists: it is the best explanation for those motions.  Likewise, you do not really ‘see’ a moral fact; but by observing the convergent conclusions and behavior of people who think calmly and carefully about a moral issue, we can conclude that a moral fact exists: it is the best explanation for that convergent movement.”  Is that a good analogy?  Your response should be at least one half of one page in length.

3.      Imagine if your car was making a funny sound and you went to two different mechanics to see what the problem was. One of them tells you that you need to have a single part replaced. The other tells you that you have to have several small parts replaced. Both repairs will cost exactly the same amount and take the same amount of time to perform. Additionally, both mechanics are equally as reputable. Which mechanic would you go with and why?  Your response should be at least one half of one page in length.

4.      Has technology created a paradigm shift in our lifetime? Why or why not?  Your response should be at least one page in length.

5.      Suppose that it is discovered that there are no objective morals. Could we still have laws? Why or why not?  Your response should be at least one page in length.

6.      Suppose it is discovered that all cultures around the world share a common belief about how to eat Oreos. Does this mean that there is an objectively correct way to eat an Oreo? Why or why not?  Your response should be at least one half of one page in length.

7.      Does a moral realist have to be a transcendental moralist (p. 7 of in textbook)?  Why or why not?  Your response should be at least one page in length.

PART II: Journal

Please describe what aspect of this week’s lesson you found most interesting and why. What effect, if any, did it have on your moral/ethical outlook?  Your response should be at least one half of one page in length.

Directions: Please provide detailed and elaborate responses to the following questions.  Each response should be at least one half of one page in length and utilize APA format.

1.      What is Ockham’s Razor and to what extent does it work for or against the non-objectivist view?

2.      What is the argument from queerness, and what roles does Ockham’s Razor play in the argument?

3.      What does it mean to give an evolutionary account of moral values?

4.      Define “noncognitivism.”

5.      Define moral realism.

6.      Compare and contrast moral realism and nonobjectivism.  Which approach is more compelling?  Explain.

7.      What is a paradigm shift?

8.      What role does intuition or exalted powers of reason play in contemporary realist theories?

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