Study Guide

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Introduction to Philosophy

Study Guide

Aristotle to Rachels


  1. “Every art and every inquiry, and similarly every action and pursuit, is thought to aim at _________” what?

  2. According to Aristotle, what is the name we apply to the chief good? What is the one thing we all want?

  3. Aristotle talks about “functions” (chapter 6) of artists and artisans, as well as of body parts (foot, eye, etc.). What does this have to do with finding out what is good for a human being?

  4. Why are living and sensation not the ‘functions’ of a human being?

  5. According to Aristotle, what kind of activity does human good turn out to be?

  6. What is the difference between moral and intellectual virtue? How do we acquire moral virtue?

  7. What is the “mean” in virtue? For instance, where facing danger is at issue, what is the mean and what are the extremes?

Immanuel Kant

  1. “Nothing can possibly be conceived in the world or even out of it, which can be called good without qualification, except ____________” what?

  2. What is the First Principle of a good will?

  3. Explain the difference that are “according to duty” and those that are “from duty.” Give an example or two.

  4. What is a maxim? Give a couple of examples.

  5. State the Categorical Imperative.

  6. From Kant’s point of view, what’s wrong with making false promises? with suicide?

  7. State the Practical Imperative.

  8. What three Enlightenment principles are implied by Kant’s ethics? (Not in the text. See the notes.)

J. S. Mill

  1. According to Mill, what is happiness?

  2. In Mill’s utilitarianism, what is the foundation of morals?

  3. How does Mill argue that some pleasures are better than others?

  4. How does Mill rebut the charge that his Greatest Happiness Principle is selfish?

  5. Does Mill’s utilitarianism mean that each time a person acts he has to see how his acts would affect the whole human race? If not, then whom should he look out for?

  6. Does Mill agree with Kant that only acts that have moral value are those that are done for the sake of duty? Why or why not?

James Rachels

  1. Rachels is for a “morality without hubris.” What is “hubris”?

  2. Racism “is an offense against morality because it is first ______________” what

  3. “MWH holds that a person’s voluntary actions can justify departures from the basic policy of ‘equal treatment’, but nothing else can.” How does this principle apply to hiring and college admissions practices?

  4. In hiring and promotions, why should a naturally talented individual not be preferred to a hard-working, but less talented worker?

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