Philosophy Midterm Exam


Directions:  This exam covers the following material: books I and II in Aristotle’s Ethics, Kant and the first three chapters of Mill, plus the Ken Miller talk.  Read all directions carefully.  Please type all answers, except for any necessary drawings or diagrams, e.g., of Aristotle’s virtues.  You may leave some white space there and hand draw them. You are to download this exam, neatly type all your answers, and bring the hardcopy to class, stapled.  Please keep the questions in the exam, along with your answers (i.e., do not delete the questions please).  Pleaseboldfaceall of your answers; it makes your exam easier to read and grade.  Thanks, and may your answers be neither deficient nor excessive.


I. Read each question carefully.  Place a T for true or an F for false to the left of each question.  Please boldface your answers.  (15)


1.  For Aristotle, anger is a virtue.

2.  At the beginning of book I, Aristotle thinks that most of our activities aim at some good.

3.  Aristotle likens virtue to a kind of excellence.

4.  For Aristotle, the main purpose of politics is to create the best policies.

5.  In book II, Aristotle asserts that human beings are evil by nature.

6.  Aristotle thinks virtue is the sufficient condition for happiness.

6.  Kant believes there are two sets of laws—moral and natural.

7.  Mill believes that what sanctions or justifies his greatest happiness principle, as the central principle of ethics, is reason.

8.   Virtue is only conditionally good according to Kant.

9.  Kant thinks the empirical component to morality is an important, though the least important, component to morality. 

10.  Kant thinks one can be virtuous and evil.

11.  For Kant, being subject to the moral law is like being subject to a monarch.

12.   Kant believes that, in all instances, one should not lie, with no exceptions.

13.  Kant believes one should fully desire the good in order to be genuinely motivated to do the good.

14.  Kant gives us essentially three different moral laws. 

15.  Kant classifies duties into moral and political duties.


II. Read each question very carefully.  Determine what each question is really asking for, and choose the best answer.  Place your letter answer to the left of each question, boldfacing them as well.  (15)


1.  Which of the following is not an initial limitation on the study of ethics (according to Aristotle)?    a. people tend to be too ignorant about it    b. people are given to merely conventional views about ethics    c. finding a standard of knowledge appropriate to ethics    d. youth and moral weakness


2.  What is the highest good for Aristotle?  a. virtue   b. pleasure    c. happiness   d. love


3.  Why is the answer to the previous question the highest good?    a. because it is never a means for any other end    b. because it is a life suitable for a politician    c. because it is unattainable    d. because it is the opposite of pain


4.  Which is pleasant by nature according to Aristotle?   a. sex   b. actions which conform to virtue   c. emotion   d. the basic pleasures of life

5.  States of moral character tend to be ruined by:  a. pure anger    b. ignorance   c. unjust politics    d. excess and deficiency


6.  What are the three types of goods for Aristotle?   a. goods of the soul, goods of the body, material goods    b. those things that are good in themselves, good for other benefits, and good in themselves and for other benefits both    c. pleasurable goods, useful goods, and noble goods      d. pleasure, honor, and contemplation


7.  Which of the following is true about Mill?    A. he believes there is only one central guiding principle of ethics    b. he thinks the proper motive for ethical action is to do one’s duty for its own sake    c. he thinks human nature is generally not capable of ethical actions     d. he thinks the highest good is maximizing pleasure and minimizing pain    e. he thinks consequences define the value of an action   

f. a and b     g. a, b, and c     h.  a, d, and e     i. all of the above    j.  none of the above


8.  Which is true of Kant’s view of happiness?    a . it is a purely natural state of affairs     b. it is just as important for him as it is for Aristotle     c. it is the sum total of our desires      d. it is an activity of the soul performed in accordance with virtue        e.  a and c      f. b and d


9.  For Kant, desire belongs to what sphere of human being?    a. the laws of freedom (the ought)

b.  the laws of nature (the is)     c. the sphere of duty     d. the sphere of religion


10.  To Kant’s thinking, more important than happiness is:    a. truth     b. rationality     c. the worthiness to be happy       d. universality


11.  For Kant, questions of the moral worth of an action really only come into play when:  a. duty and desire coincide    b. duty and virtue conflict     c. two duties conflict     d. duty and desire conflict


12.  When Kant discusses duty, the clearest difference between a perfect and an imperfect duty is:

a.  perfect duties are more important    b. perfect duties are more rational     c. perfect duties are more oriented towards helping others     d. perfect duties are such that their violation is inconceivable


13.  If happiness were a human being’s highest goal, Kant says:   a. happiness would be more efficiently achieved than it is now     b. happiness would be nearly impossible to achieve     c. happiness and virtue would be the same thing      d. nature would have equipped human beings with mere instinct, rather than reason        e.  a and d       f. c and d


14.  When Kant characterizes moral actions as those that are performed for duty’s sake alone, he is placing moral value on:    a. Christian love    b. virtue     c. motive      d. the consequences


15.  Given the answer to the previous question, Kant defines an action’s rightness or wrongness according to:    a. the intrinsic nature of the act itself     b. whether the act makes one happy or not

c.  the nature of the act’s duty (is it a perfect duty or not)     d. the nature of the act’s results



III. SHORT ANSWER/ESSAY .  Read each question carefully and determine what it is that the question is asking you to do.  Then give your best and fullest answer, writing in completesentences whenever necessary.  Notice the different point values for each question.  (160)


A.  Aristotle Section:

1.  For whom or what is the life of pursuing pleasuresuitable, according to Aristotle?  (2)

2.  What three classes of goods does Aristotle discuss?  What are the main examples for each class of good?  (6)

3.  What is Aristotle’s definition of happiness?  (3)

4.  What is the first component in this definition of happiness, and what is its significance?  (3)

5.   What is the second component of this definition, and its significance? (3)

6.  What does Aristotle say we must “beware of” most of all when we attempt to reach the mean of virtue, and why?  (3)

7.  What are the three logical criteria that make happiness the highest good?  Describe each one.  (3)

8.  As Aristotle defines the proper function of a human being, what are two answers he gives that fail to define this proper function?  What does he say actually defines our proper function?  How does he analyze and explain the real meaning and significance of this proper function?  (8)

9. What are three of the relationships that exist between the mean and the extremes that one must keep in mind as one tries to attain the mean?  (6)

10. What is Aristotle’s definition of virtue, both in virtue’s genus and in its differentia (or species)?  (Please be thorough and give the full definition.)  Next, give the full diagram and description for the virtue that corresponds with fear/pain, explaining the diagram’s various details.  (15)

11.  How does Aristotle deal with the problem of whether or not it is possible to be happy in this lifetime?  How is virtue related to happiness?  What do you think about Aristotle’s view here?  Please be thorough here. (10)

12.  What are the three conditions for realizing the good according to Aristotle?  (3)


B. Kant and Mill.

1.  What is the highest good for Kant?  What does he argue to show that this is the highest good?  What does Kant think about human happiness?  Does he think human beings are made for happiness?  Why or why not?    (10)


2.  Why does Kant think moral law must be argued for a priori?   (4)


What are the three principles of ethics (or duty) in Kant’s system?  What are the different Cases he looks at to arrive at his notion of duty?   (6)


3.  What are the two kinds of imperatives in Kant’s ethics?  Which one describes the nature of moral law, and why?  What is different about morality, prudence, and skill?  (8)


4.  What are the three formulations for the categorical imperative (moral law) for Kant?  What does each mean?  (Give details here.)   What aspect (perspective) of the moral law does each formulation express?  (12)


5.  What is the real difference, for Kant, between acting in accordance with duty when you also have an immediate inclination to do so, and acting in accordance with duty, even though you  have an inclination to do otherwise?  Which sort of action has greater moral worth?  Why?  Give examples of each.  (8)


6.  What are the different types or kinds of duty, according to Kant?  How do they correspond to the different scenarios (or examples) of duty he gives in the Grounding of the Metaphysics of Morals ?  [Hint: This deals not with the four cases, but the four scenarios or stories Kant tells]    (12)


7.  Explain Kant’s notion of free will.  What are its essential components, including its negative and positive components?  With what other views on freedom does it contrast?  How does the distinction between the is and the ought operate here?  (12)


8.  What is Mill’s fundamental moral principle?  (3)


9.  What is happiness for Mill?  (2)


10.  How does Mill defend his moral principle?  I.e., what sorts of objections does he raise and attempt to refute?  How successful is he, in your opinion?    (8)


11.  You are on an isolated island with a dying millionaire.  As he is dying, he asks you for a great favor.  He requests that you take a certain box of his on the island that is filled with money (5 million dollars) and, once you get off the island, give it to the Boston Red Sox as a donation.  You promise the dying man, and, eventually you do get off the island.   However, as you are en route to fulfilling the millionaire’s wishes, you hear on the radio a plea from a trustworthy charity that they happen to need $5 million in order to help out a group of 200,000 starving East Africans who have been hard hit by a severe drought.  The money they are asking for not only will immediately relieve these 200,000 people, but will help them to become more self-reliant in the future, giving them a stable life.

            What would Kant advise you to do here, and why?  What would Mill advise you to do here and why?  Which do you think is giving the better moral advice?  Why do you think this?  (10)


BONUS: What are three fundamental differences between Aristotle and Kant?  (Hint: How do they see the highest good?  virtue?  the conditions for realizing the good?)  (10)


BONUS: When Ken Miller gave his talk here at LU a few weeks ago, he talked briefly about how to put religion and science together.  Using at least some material from his talk, how does he seem to think this is possible?  What do you think: does science make it easier, or more difficult, to believe in God and practice a religious life?  Why do you take this position?  Please be precise and develop a real argument.  (12)


BONUS:  How does/would God experience the moral law, according to Kant, as opposed to how human beings experience it?  What are all the possible moral agents the moral law does, and could possibly, apply to?  (8)

Needs help with similar assignment?

We are available 24x7 to deliver the best services and assignment ready within 3-4 hours? Order a custom-written, plagiarism-free paper

Get Answer Over WhatsApp Order Paper Now