1) According to the second version of the Categorical Imperative, “one should treat humanity, whether in one’s own person or in that of any other, in every case as an end in itself, never as a means only.” What does Kant mean by this? What sort of acts are ruled out, and what sort of acts are required by it? After briefly discussing these questions, apply the principle to the case of work in the economy. Some people have argued that capitalism by its nature violates this principle, on the grounds that ordinary workers who work for a wage are treated as mere means for money-making by wealthy investors, who derive profits from their work. Is this a correct application of this principle? Why or why not? If, in your judgment, it is not the case that all types of capitalistic employment violate this principle, is it still the case that some types of employment in our economy are so exploitative as to violate this principle? Why or why not? Explain your judgment.
2) Is infibulation similar to breast implants, circumcision, pierced ears, in a morally relevant way? Is a cultural relativist forced to concede that infibulation is morally ok in the countries where it occurs? Isn’t this really a problem for the cultural relativist? How is moral progress supposed to happen if cultural relativism is true? If Cultural relativism is not true then does that mean we must accept some form of objective moral theory?
3) I argued in class that passing on the right in traffic displayed an utter disregard for Kant’s second formulation of the categorical imperative. Explain what I mean by that. Am I right? Doesn’t my argument explain why one might take traffic transgressions as personal affronts to our autonomy and don’t these actions display an utter disrespect for and denial of the existence of others and their interests?
4) Why are utilitarians sometimes accused of being insensitive to issues of fundamental rights? Give an example of a case where the utilitarian would ignore a fundamental right. Make up your own scenario and explain why they might ignore rights in this case. Would both the act and rule utilitarian come to the same conclusion?
5) Compare the utilitarian and virtue theorists’ moral assessment of the case of the Navy wife’s (Jody) infidelity that we talked about in class. Remember that she cheats on her partner and never tells him and he never finds out. Would they agree on the morality of her actions? Why? Why not? Be clear and present some of the details in a way that demonstrates that you understand both theories.
6) What do you think a feminist epistemology based ethic of care would look like in practice? Develop a scenario that would lend itself well to a care approach and apply the theory to your case. Describe what sort of moral assessment you’d derive from this care ethic. What would you be required to do according to Baier and Gilligan in the situation you’ve described?
7) 2 paragraphs:
Explain why Aristotle’s virtue ethics is considered a theory of character.Explain why Aristotle’s virtue ethics is considered a theory of character.