PHIL 237 Prof. S. Stroud
Contemporary Moral Issues Winter 2012
Essay Questions for the Final Exam
As noted in class, the final exam will contain a) a set of multiple-choice questions focusing
on material covered since the midterm (you will receive no futher information about this
portion of the exam), and b) a set of essay questions. FIVE of the essay questions below
will appear on the exam, and you will have to answer all five. The multiple-choice portion
of the exam will count for one-sixth (1/6) of your exam mark, as will each of the five essays.
Because you are receiving all the essay questions in advance, our evaluation of the exams
will reflect our expectation that you will have thought through and prepared a mental
outline for each essay question in advance. This means we will be expecting answers to the
essay questions that are well-organized and as in-depth as you can make them in c. 30
minutes of writing time per question. You will have to carry your essay outlines in your
head, as no books or notes will be permitted in the examination itself.
Be advised that each essay you write as part of your exam should stand alone as an
independent essay which could be marked without looking at the rest of your exam.
Therefore you cannot, as part of your response to one question, simply refer to your
answer to another, even if the questions overlap–you must write out your answer to each
question separately and in full. It is OK if this involves repeating in one essay a point you
had already made in another.
1. Consider the following:
Owning, and driving just for the pleasure of it, an expensive, gas-guzzling SUV.
Singer, Wenz, and Sinnott-Armstrong all have (or would have) things to say from a moral
point of view about this practice. What moral verdict would each deliver on this practice?
What arguments, and/or moral theories, would each use to support his verdict? Which of
these analyses do you find most cogent (if any), and why?
Singer: initial purchasing is wrong. Driving would be wrong. Should have given to charity.
Small actions make a difference, like in poverty. You have the capacity to make a difference;
therefore you are morally obliged to make a difference. It’s the
Wenz: All consumerist activity leads to social harm. It wouldn’t be virtuous You aren’t obliged
but he wouldn’t endorses it just for pleasure sake. Buying an SUV in the first place is giving into
consumerism. Virtue-Ethics approach.
Sinnot-Armstrong: Although a single individual can’t make a difference and there’s no moral
obligation to save environment on small scale, you should act in light of the performance.
Although, it is morally better to avoid pollution. Based on principle. I would agree with Sinnot-Armstrong. Most practical and addresses our role as indivudials
overlapping with the large scale responsibility of the government.
2. Consider the difference between following two scenarios:
A) Person P1 makes a deci