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The final exam will have a form of a paper (800-1000 words). It should be based on class
readings and discussions. Using the method of contrast (differences/similarities), the test will
stress Mill’s idea of utilitarianism and relate it to the ethical theories by Aristotle, Kant, and
Held. Please choose one topic to write the paper and comprehensively examine the intricate
character of the ethical theories we studied in class:
1. How does Aristotle’s virtue ethics describe the good and virtuous human being? How
does it determine the proper mean of an action? Do other philosophers, such as
Immanuel Kant, J.S. Mill, and Virginia Held, support virtue ethics? Stress Mill’s
description of virtue and provide arguments from readings to show that you are right.
2. You have borrowed $20 from an absent-minded friend. He has forgotten about it, and you
are certain he will never remember. Moreover, your friend is well-off and will never miss
it. To you, however, $20 means a lot. Decide what considerations a Kantian person
would consider in deciding whether to repay the debt. In addition, analyze briefly how
Aristotle’s ethics can be used to resolve the above ethical dilemma.
3. To what was J.S. Mill referring when he said, “It is better to be a human being dissatisfied
than a pig satisfied”? Do you agree with this statement? Why or why not? What would
Aristotle, Kant, and Held think about it? Justify your claims.
4. Does utilitarianism imply that under certain circumstances a physician may be morally
justified in killing one patient to save the lives of five others? Provide arguments from J.S.
Mill’s utilitarianism to decide about the proper solution. What would Aristotle, Kant, and
Held think about the above issue? Sketch their potential viewpoints.
5. Does analyzing a moral problem from the perspective of Virginia Held’s ethics of care yield a different result than that obtained by using a Kantian or utilitarian standard? Is
the ethics of care by Held a form of virtue ethics? Explain your answer in some detail.