1.Briefly explain how Kant completed the “epistemological turn” begun by Descartes and progressively developed by Locke, Berkeley, and Hume.
2.What did Kant mean by “a scandal in philosophy”? Was he right? Explain.
3.Distinguish between phenomena and noumena. Give examples of each. Why did Kant think it necessary to posit the existence of the noumenal world?
4.Why does Kant claim that the only thing good-in-itself is a good will? Explain exactly what he means. Is he right?
5.What is the categorical imperative? What is the practical imperative? Show how they are related by applying them to one or two contemporary moral issues.
Think for a moment about a nonmoral world, a world in which no one is held morally accountable. In such a world, every action would be viewed as the inevitable result of genetic, social, and historical causes. What are the advantages of such a view? The disadvantages? Think about some time when you made an excuse for yourself, claiming that you “couldn’t help” doing or not doing something. What is gained and lost by making such excuses? (page 316)
Have you ever met or heard of someone with no idea of self? What would such a person be like? What about people with multiple personality disorder? One woman claims to have ninety-four “personalities.” Would such a person have ninety-four “selves” too? (page 325)
What would a person be like who could choose only what he or she desired? Do you think it is possible to choose to do something if no desire whatsoever is involved? Explain. (page 328)
Psychologists have identified a character disorder that is labeled as either “sociopathic” or “antisocial personality disorder.” One component of this diagnosis is that such people are amoral, lacking any conscience. Do you know people without any sense of moral duty? What are they like? Does the existence of such people mean there is no such thing as a necessary, universal, moral law? Discuss. (page 329)
Does the idea of a good will help our analysis of the sociopath in the preceding Philosophical Query? Explain. (page 330)
Do you think it is possible to have only one motive for an action? Is it common to have only one motive? Is it important to distinguish moral motives from pragmatic ones? Why? Compare Kant with Hume on the issue of moral sentiments. (page 332)
To get a clearer sense of the power of the categorical imperative to clarify the nature of various forms of behavior, formulate and then analyze the maxims that are required to justify the following: charging things on credit without being sure you can pay them off on time; enrolling in two different high-demand courses so that you can check them both out and drop the one you don’t like; having unprotected sex without knowing if you are HIV positive; talking in the theater; forcing schools to teach the values of your religion. (page 334)
Consider the actual case of the parents who conceived a child for the express purpose of producing a bone marrow donor for their teenaged daughter who had leukemia. Doctors advised the parents that a bone marrow transplant was the only hope of saving their daughter’s life. Unable to find a compatible donor match, the parents took the desperate step of having another child. In 1991, bone marrow from the specially conceived child, then just over one year old, was transplanted to her nineteen-year-old sister. Can the parents’ action be morally justified? Explain. (page 337)
Conduct your own thought experiment by using the concept of a veil of ignorance to write a code of conduct for college courses. Imagine that you do not know if you are a pupil or professor, or any other personal factors. Does the veil of ignorance aid in such tasks, or is something overlooked? Explain. (page 338)
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