Ethics Final

FINAL EXAM
Philosophical Ethics

Jeanne Proust

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Choose between :

 

A/ an answer to a general question, helping yourself with the preceding quote if you want :

Can violence be morally justifiable ?

Use arguments from Aristotle, Mill (or Bentham) and Kant – mandatorily from at least 2 from these 3 schools of thought, but not necessarily exclusively – you can refer to other authors too.

 

 

B/ an analysis of the text below.

(Identifiy the main thesis and the main arguments supporting it. Clarify, analyse, explain the text’s meanings. In a last paragraph, you can (not mandatory) give your opinion about the relevance of the ideas you find in it.)

 

If I am asked what I mean by difference of quality in pleasures, or what makes one pleasure more valuable than another, merely as a pleasure, except its being greater in amount, there is but one possible answer. Of two pleasures, if there be one to which all or almost all who have experience of both give a decided preference, irrespective of any feeling of moral obligation to prefer it, that is the more desirable pleasure. If one of the two is, by those who are competently acquainted with both, placed so far above the other that they prefer it, even though knowing it to be attended with a greater amount of discontent, and would not resign it for any quantity of the other pleasure which their nature is capable of, we are justified in ascribing to the preferred enjoyment a superiority in quality, so far outweighing quantity, as to render it, in comparison, of small account.

Now, it is an unquestionable fact, that those who are equally acquainted with and equally capable of appreciating and enjoying both do give a most marked preference to the manner of existence which employs their higher faculties. Few human creatures would consent to be changed into any of the lower animals, for a promise of the fullest allowance of a beast’s pleasures: no intelligent human being would consent to be a fool, no instructed person would be an ignoramus, no person of feeling and conscience would be selfish and base, even though they should be persuaded that the fool, the dunce, or the rascal is better satisfied with his lot than they are with theirs. They would not resign what they possess more than he for the most complete satisfaction of all the desires which they have in common with him. If they ever fancy they would, it is only in cases of unhappiness so extreme, that, to escape from it, they would exchange their lot for almost any other, however undesirable in their own eyes. A being of higher faculties requires more to make him happy, is capable probably of more acute suffering, and certainly accessible to it at more points, than one of an inferior type. But, in spite of these liabilities, he can never really wish to sink into what he feels to be a lower grade of existence.

 

Adapted from Mill, Utilitarianism, Chapters 1 and 2.

Spelling and punctuation have been modernized.

 

 

 

FORMAT

-word document between 1000 and 1300 words.

standard format:

Courier or Times or Times new Roman font.
12-point font size.
1,5 spaced lines
standard margins (between 1 and 1.5 inch).

No need to indicate your references at the end, and if you do indicate your references, no specific format expected.

No need for a title.

Quotes : no more than 15% of your writing (for the essay) or 20% (for the text analysis).

Please submit as an attachment /upload on the assignment page on blackboard (and send in an email simultaneously as a security)

I expect you to spend between 3 to 4 hours on this.

Remember:

-to remain extremely clear,

-to avoid paraphrase (I finally got the word I was looking for!) and plagiarism at all costs,

-and to not slide off topic.

Answer exactly the question that is being asked to you (if you choose the essay) OR make all the meanings of the text you comment very clear (if you choose the commentary), even raising questions in your commentary if you don’t understand a passage (always better to be honest on how you encounter difficulties with the text, and suggest some possible interpretations without being sure, than avoiding to comment a passage because you are embarrassed by it).

Please submit your final exam before the deadline on the 12th, 8am, as I will not accept late exams, given the time you have between now and then, and the deadline for me to submit your final grades.

Thank you,

and all the best to all of you!

JP

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