|Contemporary Ethical Theory||Spring 1998|
Write a paper on one of the following:
|1.||John Rawls in "Two Concepts of Rules" proposes to "defend
utilitarianism against those objections which have traditionally been made
against it in connection with punishment and the obligation to keep
promises." (intro. CH 273) Explain the
objections Rawls addresses to a utilitarian account of punishment.
Explain carefully Rawls' attempt to defend utilitarianism against these
objections. Critically discuss.|
Graduate students: In addition: Rawls theory involves what he calls "practices." Compare and contrast Rawls' notion of "practices" with Brandt's notion of "institutions" (in "Some Merits of One Form of Rule-Utilitarianism" 9 CH 426ff). Would Brandt support or oppose Rawls' account of a utilitarian defense of punishment?
|2.||In "The Meaning of Good and Bad" Bertrand Russell offers an argument
that is intended to "refute those who say that good means
desired." (7 CH 35) Carefully explain
and critically discuss Russell's argument.|
Graduate students: In addition: Explain to what extent (if any) Russell's argument differs from the one G. E. Moore has given about "that which we desire to desire". ("The Subject Matter of Ethics"13 CH 20).
|3.||Judith Jarvis Thompson in "Goodness and Utilitarianism" argues, as an
objection against utilitarianism, that "there is no such property as
goodness." (2 CH 716) Explain and critique
her argument for this claim.|
Graduate students: In addition: Thompson goes on (in section 3) to consider three ways in which utilitarianism can attempt to accommodate her thesis about goodness. Explain and critically explore each of these ways.
This paper should be typed (or printed out by computer), if possible, or submitted electronically to firstname.lastname@example.org. Submissions after the due date risk incursion of a penalty for lateness.
Please put your name on your paper. Be sure also to indicate (by number) at the top of the first page which of the topic you are writing on. If you are handing in a printed version, a genuine staple in the upper left-hand corner would be appreciated. No fancy covers or binders, please.