1. A teacher has been trained to use the whole word method when teaching children to read. A few of the children that she teaches do not learn to read, though they would have learned to read if the phonics method had been used instead. The teacher thinks there is something wrong with the children whom she does not succeed in teaching to read - they are classified as dyslexic. Daniel says "That teacher harms some of the children she teaches", but Kenneth finds that judgment too harsh, though he agrees that the results would be better if the teacher used the phonics method. What should be said about this dispute between Daniel and Kenneth? What conclusions should we draw regarding the liberal principle?
2. Ellen is a child who grows up in a family which thinks of itself as living according to the "liberal" principle. The members of the family are well-meaning and do not think they are harming Ellen - they behave towards her as they behave towards one another. However Ellen does not like them or the way they treat her, and they make her very angry. The other members of the family object that they find the angry outbursts unjustified and harmful to them. Ellen ends up having as little to do with other people as possible. She spends a lot of time sulking on her own. Her family does not think she is harming anyone else by doing this, and they say to her "Do as you please as long as you do not harm others". Might the family be better served if it adopted a value principle other than the "liberal" principle?
3. Low level, extrinsic value principles are subject to exception. For example, the rule that you should not run through a crowded corridor may conflict with the rule that you should be punctual, and then you have to violate one of the rules. The top level, intrinsic value principle is used to determine which low level rule to make an exception to: if being late does not matter very much, one should violate the rule requiring punctuality. If being on time is a matter of life and death, one should violate the rule that prohibits running through a crowded corridor. Are top level, intrinsic value principles also subject to exception?
4. Some people ,including Mill, say that the "liberal" principle is fundamental to Western, "liberal" society - but in practice no-one thinks that we can prevent dismissals or declarations of war by pointing out that these actions harm people. Similarly, some people say that if each adult has exactly one vote then every adult has equal political power, but they do not accept the implication that each adult has as much political power as a major capitalist. What does this show about the statement that the liberal principle is fundamental to Western, "liberal" society and the statement that every adult has equal political power?
5. How might a person discover that the classical socialist principle was a suitable top level, intrinsic value principle, for him or her, by reflecting on the conflict between the freedom of a trumpet-player to play at night and the freedom of his neighbours to sleep at night?
6. After reflecting on a number of examples of conflicts between freedoms, Karl reaches the conclusion that the utilitarian principle is right for him. But then he realizes that it would be in accordance with the utilitarian principle to end all life if the capacity for experiencing pleasure completely disappeared from all organisms. This convinces him that he made a mistake when he embraced the utilitarian principle. How should Karl proceed in order to arrive at a more satisfactory principle?
7. What is an appropriate response to the view that everyone should be forced to do everything they possibly can to benefit others (including giving away everything they have), because otherwise they would be harming them by benefiting them less than they could?
8. "Doing things individually is not the same thing as doing things individualistically." Show that this is true by taking the example of walking through a corridor to a room.
9. "Doing things collectively is not the same thing as doing things collectivistically." Show that this is true by taking the example of disposing of garbage.
10. How should one respond to the statement "If Jim had not felt powerless he would have had the free will to save his cafe"?