Midterm Paper Assignment

Select ONE of the following question prompts
and write a 5 page paper (double-spaced) that
addresses the tasks of the question
1. Consider the “Case of the Inquiring Murderer” (as discussed in Rachels,
Chapter 9).
Describe, in detail, how each of the ethical theories we have learned about
thus far—Utilitarianism, Deontology (specifically, Kant’s insistence on absolute rules through the categorical imperative), Ethical Egoism—would
approach the above situation.1
2. Develop and discuss what you think is the most important criticism that
can be made of Utilitarianism. In presenting this criticism, be sure
to first clearly define (and accurately represent) the Utilitarian position
(and the specific version you will be criticizing), present your criticism in
the form of an argument, and support your argument with discussion of
particular examples/situations. Then present at least 2 counter-arguments
that would “save” the theory from this criticism you presented. Finally,
evaluate the merits of the counter-arguments themselves.
3. (Challenging!) Suppose you were designing a game with the express
purpose of learning about what sorts of moral “rules” or “imperatives”
were most important to people (suppose that the data of the players’
inputs was collected in real-time, analyzed, and the game-play adjusted
accordingly). What might such a game look like?
For instance, in attempting to learn not just what values a player holds,
but trying to decipher why they held that belief and under which circumstances they accepted those reasons as applicable, how might you
effectively glean this information?2
4. Suppose someone says the following
Morality should be based on self-interest.
Give the best possible defense of this claim. This should involve, of course,
(i) describing self-interest; (ii) presenting arguments for the claim, and
considering initial counter-arguments to those arguments; (iii) strengthening the claim by presenting at least 1 strong counter-argument to the
claim; and (iv) refuting that counter-argument (either directly, or by modifying/qualifying the theory in a certain respect in order to overcome that
objection).

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