Deontology vs Utilitarianism Questions & Essay

March 8, 2022
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Deontology vs Utilitarianism Questions & Essay

Deontology vs Utilitarianism Questions & Essay

For the below three question you may just submit your answers and not the question. Make sure you label your answers 1-3. Each answer should be ¾ to a full page, double spaced, normal font. The actual question being asked is in bold.

1. Some critics of utilitarianism have argued that it is too demanding. In terms of such things as famine relief for instance…it would seem to require that moral agents avoid spending discretionary money for items that provide joy…such as a hobby collection…and instead contribute such monies to promoting the common good. The single term used in philosophy to talk about this is “projects”. The idea is that moral agents do have such “projects” that are important to them. In Kantian deontology a moral agent can pursue his/her projects based on their discretion. Why is this discussion important when evaluating deontology vs utilitarianism? And how might a utilitarian respond to this problem?

2 A very popular trolley car scenario was often used in the 1990s to test one’s intuitions about utilitarianism. Consider the follow two examples Note: read the long examples…the question you need to answer is in bold at the end of the below

A You are at a trolley track that divides into two directions. You are standing next to the switch that directs the trolley onto to one track or another. You see a speeding and out of control trolley car full of people approaching you. You observe that if the trolley continues on the path set by the transfer switch, it will travel into a sharp turn in the tracks. This will most likely injure or kill all of the people on board as the speeding trolley will not be able to negotiate the curve. And you estimate there are 40 or more passengers. You also notice that on a side track there is a single workman who is on the tracks, but these tracks are straight and will not cause the trolley to derail. If you pull the switch it appears very likely that the trolley will strike the workman, but it will not crash and the passengers on the trolley will all survive. Do you pull the switch?

B. Same problem as above. However you are not standing next to the switch but you are on a bridge overlooking what is happening. You are standing next to a fat man. If you push the fat man off the bridge onto the train tracks you believe it will cause the train to slow down and avoid going into the curve at high speed which would kill or injure all the passengers. Do you push the fat man onto the tracks?

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In obtaining a wide range of responses to the above, it was found that far more persons were willing to pull the switch in example A than were willing to shove the fat man on the tracks in example B. Philosophers used this data to make observations about the meaning of these two problems. These two problems both seem to suggest a utilitarian approach. What do you believe is the main conclusion reached by philosophers who studied the results of these different responses to how persons react to A and B?

3. Consider the two following situations:

A. A Marine infantry fireteam (4 men with rifles) are pinned down by enemy fire. Suddenly, an enemy grenade is thrown in their midst. One of the Marines jumps on the grenade and smothers it with his body which kills him but saves his fellow Marines from injury or death.

B. A dedicated citizen of one country feels that a neighboring country is treating his fellow countrymen very badly. He believes this bad treatment is threatening their very existence. However, his country does not have a significant military force to stand up to this neighboring country. Therefore, in order to make a “statement”, this man wraps explosives around his chest and wearing a coat goes into this other country. He walks into a restaurant that has civilians (men, women, children) and detonates the explosives killing himself and twenty other people in the restaurant.

For the sake of this question, assume that in both cases the “courage” demonstrated is extreme. Yet it could be argued (using virtue ethics) that in example A the behavior of the Marine might still be considered virtuous, whereas, the behavior in example B would not be virtuous. How would a proponent of virtue ethics defend their moral theory from the charge that since both of the above cases demonstrates “off the charts” courage…it should follow that both acts should be condemned for violating the theory of the mean?

Choose ONE of the following for your essay. Your essay should follow the guidelines we discussed about position papers both in class and in the position paper guidelines and grading rubric that is posted in your course shell. Your paper needs to be double spaced.

1. Does the Fetus Have a Right to Life?

2. Is it Morally Wrong to Eat Meat?

3. Is gay marriage a moral issue?

4. Is Fidelity in Marriage morally optional? (Martin Essay)

Note that above are very board questions. However, your essay must be very focused on a specific element within the topic you choose.

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