ethics 4

1) Consider two general strategies for living life: selfishness or benevolence. In the first strategy, you act in whatever manner that benefits you taking no notice or heed of other’s interests in doing so. In the second strategy, you balance your interests with those of others in society sometimes acting in their interests rather than your own. The first question is, what is the best way to act and why? Observe, you must also take into account that others will be acting in the world as well and their actions will affect the overall gains or losses of your strategy as well. (NOTE: this scenario is a form of the prisoner’s dilemma and you can read more about this in multiple places on the interwebs). The next question is how does the scenario pictured above please Thomas Hobbes and how does his social contract theory help us to determine how best to proceed? Please be sure to explain Hobbes view in brief and how it would deal with the prisoner’s dilemma situation. Good luck!

2) The ethics of care posits that something other than duties and obligations to others often motivates and justifies our actions. With this in mind, how would a care ethicist perhaps respond differently than a utilitarian or a Kantian in the following scenario. A four year old child with HIV is dying deep in the countryside of Africa, far away from any urban population. The child is not the only one who is very sick in the camp and the resources used to help the child are three times as much as what are needed to keep others with life threatening ailments alive. Furthermore, the camp is about to run out of basic medical supplies for at least two weeks unless multiple patients are rationed supplies needed to keep them alive. Would a care ethicist continue providing treatment and supplies for the HIV child? How might the answer be different for a Kantian or utilitarian? Does your first answer change if the child is in fact your own child? What about a Kantian? A utilitarian? Why or why not?


Directions:Please provide detailed and elaborate responses to the following questions.  Your responses should include examples from the reading assignments.  Each response should be at least one half of one page in length and utilize APA format.




1.      What is the role of the ‘veil of ignorance’ in Rawls’s theory?




2.      Define constructivism.




3.      What is the ‘prisoner’s dilemma?’




4.      In what ways does Gauthier’s contract approach differ from that of Rawls?  In what ways are they similar?  Explain.




5.      Define care ethics.




6.      What is a “feminine” ethic?







Directions: The following problems ask you to evaluate hypothetical situations and/or concepts related to the reading in this module.  While there are no “correct answers” for these problems, you must demonstrate a strong understanding of the concepts and lessons from this module’s reading assignment.  Please provide detailed and elaborate responses to the following problems.  Your responses should include examples from the reading assignments and should utilize APA guidelines.  Responses that fall short of the assigned minimum page length will not earn any points.




1.      Players in the popular World of Warcraft Internet game often form “guilds” or groups that join together in mutual defense and to attack other groups.  One dedicated member of such a guild died (in real-life, not in the game), and the members of her guild decided to hold a memorial service for her within the game that she loved.  They announced the planned memorial on a World of Warcraft open forum, and one of the members of her guild logged into her account and placed the deceased woman’s character at her favorite game site, a lake.  Other game characters from her guild came by the game site to pay their respects and honor their deceased gaming friend.  members of a rival guild, on learning of the planned memorial, organized a “bombing attack” on the memorial service, thus destroying many of their rivals and winning kill points.  Those game players who had participated in the memorial service were outraged, and accused the rival guild of being underhanded and disrespectful.  Was the attack on the memorial service unfair?  Was it morally wrong?  Was it a violation of the gaming social contract?  Explain.  Your response should be at least one half of one page in length.




2.      You are a physician specializing in the treatment of kidney disease.  One of your patients, Alan Durkin, is your cousin. Alan is not one of your closest friends, but – in addition to now seeing him as your patient for the last three years – you see one another at weddings and funerals and other large family gatherings maybe two or three times a year.  Alan is 45, and his kidney disease has become progressively worse. his kidneys have failed to the point that he requires dialysis twice weekly, and soon his need for dialysis will increase to every other day.  He can continue with dialysis for some time, and his condition is not immediately life threatening – but a successful kidney transplant would greatly improve his quality of life.  Alan is on the waiting list for a kidney transplant, but because his dialysis treatments are relatively successful in purifying his blood, he is not a high-priority transplant candidate.  Given the acute shortage of organs available for transplant, you know Alan will not soon receive one of the precious kidneys.  But as Alan’s physician, you could fudge the data just a little bit – no one would know, and by making his condition look somewhat worse, you could easily bump him higher on the list and greatly improve his chances of receiving a transplant within the next year or so.  Of course if you do that, then someone who actually is in greater need for a kidney transplant will be passed over in favor of your cousin.  Should you fudge the data or not?  In attempting to answer that question, which ethical perspective – Kantian, feelings-based, utilitarian, virtue, social contract, or care – is most useful to you?  Your response should be at least one page in length.




3.      Suppose that you are the last person on earth and you are playing darts in an otherwise deserted pub. While playing, you knowingly step over the toe line, thus performing an action that would have been considered cheating prior to this apocalypse. Have you performed an immoral action? Why or why not? Your response should be at least one half of one page in length.




4.      Imagine that you are in the situation described in problem three above, only this time you have found another group of survivors. Because you are the only one who has taken an ethics class, they decide to let you come up with a new set of laws. Would you outlaw stealing? How about jaywalking (assume that this group still has cars)? Explain.  Your response should be at least one page in length.




5.      Come up with a list of ten rules that you would include in a social contract and why you feel they should be included.  Your response should be at least one page in length.




6.      Provide a summary of Edwards’ (the author of the required supplemental reading assignment for this module) argument.  Your response should be at least one half of one page in length.






PART II: Essay




In a 2-3 page essay, compare and contrast Rawls’ Social Contract Theory and Gauthier’s Social Contract Theory then make an argument for why you think one is better than the other. Your essay should take the following form: an introduction where you preview your essay’s content (i.e. “In this essay I will discuss…”) and state your thesis statement (i.e. “X is better than Y because…”), a paragraph summarizing Rawls’ Social Contract Theory, a paragraph summarizing Gauthier’s Social Contract Theory, a paragraph comparing and contrasting the two, at least two paragraphs where you argue why one is better, and a conclusion. Your summarization and critiques must be original and should include examples, analogies, etc.