Online Assignment For 1 December 2014

Required Viewing: Joshua Greene, "Moral Tribes: Emotion, Reason, and the Gap Between Us and Them "

Direct Link: http://youtu.be/8YxmuUUpuy4

Required Work: Answer the following questions as you would for class.

1. Summarize Greene's example of the tragedy of the commons. Explain the example of the tribes he follows it with.

2. What two problems does Greene draw out of his examples?

3. Explain Greene's analogy between the camera and the dual-system nature of moral thinking. How does this picture apply with respect to the Trolley Problem?

4. How does Greene develop the dual-system picture of cognition he gives using the examples of the child in the well and the typhoon? What does Greene think explains the typical responses to these cases?

5. Greene shifts to international affairs with an example of a rescue boat. What does this example show about the systems in the brain that are implicated in moral thinking where large numbers of lives are at stake?

6. Explain Greene's summary of Utilitarian theory, paying special attention to what he calls the "common currency" of morality.

7. Why does Greene think it is a mistake to use thought experiments to derive conclusions about moral philosophy?

8. Why does Greene think that a morality based on "common currency" will not "feel good". What does he say about rights-talk?

9. What general advice about ethics does Greene give at the end of his lecture?

10. Reflect on what you have learned this term about the different systems in moral philosophy (i.e., on the theories of Aristotle, Butler, and Kant). Are you convinced by Greene's talk that Utilitarianism is best suited to deal with large-scale global moral problems, or do you think one of these other theories would be better? Defend your answer with cogent reasoning based on the materials we have studied.

Your answer to this last question should be 250-500 words in length. Give your own opinion, but try to base your answer on what you take to be the case from an objective point of view rather than on pop-psychology or personal narrative. Support your answer with clear, concise reasons.

This assignment is due to the instructor by midnight, tomorrow night, December 2, 2014, via Marygrove email (ude.evorgyram|nosrettaps#ude.evorgyram|nosrettaps). Late assignments will not be accepted for any reason. This is a credit/no credit assignment. See the assignments section of the syllabus if you don't know or have forgotten what this means.

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