CU 15: Review suggestions for Midterm Exam, Prof. Eby. Phil 2135, GWU, Spring 2015
1. Look at each of the ethical theories on the class handout and be familiar enough with them that
you can, if asked, give a short description of each of those theories. If the name of a person or
persons is given for a theory, know the name(s) of those persons.
2. Be able to distinguish between ethics and law.
3. Be able to distinguish between a descriptive and a normative account of something, and
between descriptive ethical relativism and normative ethical relativism.
4. Know and be able to describe briefly at least five criteria for a good or adequate normative
ethical theory: Universality, consistency, culpability, importance, fairness
5. An argument in ethics (morality) usually has at least three parts: A factual premise, a premise
stating an ethical principle or theory, and a conclusion that brings those two together.
6. If you don’t like or don’t agree with the conclusion of an ethical argument, you can do at least
four things: (1) Attack or disagree with the factual premise, (2) attack or disagree with the ethical
principle or theory used in the argument, (3) say that the ethical principle or theory used in the
argument is good, but that it does not apply in the particular case under investigation, or (4) point
out that there is a mistake in logic – a fallacy, either a formal fallacy or an informal fallacy – in
7. In consideration of economic (or distributive justice), you should be able to give criteria or
accounts of what justice has been held to be: Some proposals or generally held accounts are or
include: fairness (John Rawls), equality, rights, and deserts. Know six possible schemes or
principles for distributing the rewards of an enterprise, as well as a situation in which each one
seems appropriate. (Given and discussed in class, not in Shaw and Barry.)
8. Understand the libertarian theory, which places priority on individual liberty and free
exchange. Know Robert Nozick’s three principles. (S&B pp. 113-119, esp. p. 114)
9. Know, at least minimally, the contractualist-egalitarian theory of John Rawls, including
Rawls’s two principles. (S&B pp. 119-127, esp. p. 122)
10. Know the definition of capitalism (S&B p. 150).
11. Know the four key features of capitalism (S&B pp. 153-156).
12. Know at least three ethical justifications of capitalism (including that of Adam Smith) and
three ethical criticisms of it.
13. Know the definition of a corporation (S&B p. 200) as well as the main reasons for their
formation. 14. Be able to discuss the question whether corporations can make moral decisions – know the
main arguments for and against the claim that they can.
15. Know the narrow view (including the name of Milton Friedman) and the broad view of
corporate social responsibility. Know at least three arguments in favor of the narrow view (S&B
pp. 206-210), plus responses against those arguments.
16. Know these terms and their meanings: Caveat emptor, caveat venditor, strict product
liability. Know why there has been a movement away from caveat emptor to strict product
17. Know at least some of the pros and cons concerning government safety regulation of
18. Know the six points given by Shaw and Barry (S&B pp. 269-271) that they say would, if
followed, go a long way in helping business behave ethically with respect to consumer safety.
19. Know something about issues in product pricing and labeling. (S&B pp. 274-280).
20. Know about ethical issues in advertising, and know why advertising directed at children is
especially ethically questionable. (S&B pp. 281-289).
21. Know the tragedy (also known as the paradox) of the commons, and its applicability to
22. Do we have an ethical obligation to future (i.e.