Exam Questions


  • On the day of the test, your question will be chosen at random.
  • You will have approximately 8 minutes to answer.
  • You will be graded according to your comprehension, focus, fluidity, correct use of technical vocabulary, and overall composure according to the oral exam rubric.
  • While others are speaking you will be evaluating them anonymously on a grading sheet that you will turn in to the instructor at the end of the exam period.
  • ALL persons scheduled to take their exam on a given day should show up at 10:30 AM and remain quietly until it is their turn to take the test.
  • Being late and other distracting behaviors will harm the performance of the person taking the test. All such behaviors are unacceptable and will result in according deductions from the test score, up to and including failure for serious distractions.
  • No late or make up exams will be given.

The Questions

1. Explain Feinberg's theory of psychological egoism.

2. Give one argument (either one of Feinberg's or your own) that shows how psychological egoism is an unlikely view of human nature.

3. Explain cultural relativism, and give one of the arguments we covered in class against it.

4. If Rachels is right that cultural relativism is unacceptable as a normative ethical position, then how should we interpret differences in the moral practices or beliefs of people of different cultures?

5. What is the first view of justice given in Plato's Republic and who gives it? Why is it significant that this character is given this view?

6. Polemarchus says that justice is doing good to one's friends and harm to one's enemies. How does Socrates make use of practical arts (e.g. raising horses; music) to argue against this position?

7. Explain the difference between goods that are intrinsic, goods that are extrinsic, and those that are both intrinsic and extrinsic. After you've explained the difference, give an example of your own in each category.

8. Explain the Ring of Gyges thought experiment. What point does Glaucon use this story to make?

9. How does Adeimantus implicate the religious practices of the Greeks in the view that justice is something that should be followed only for its extrinsic benefits?

10. Explain the concept of eudaimonia that both Plato and Aristotle share. On what view of the soul is it based?

11. Give and explain the three characteristics of a person with virtue (arete), according to Aristotle.

12. Explain Aristotle's doctrine of the mean in as much detail as you can. Give an example that supports your explanation.

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