Hobbes's significance of quotations
1. Explain the significance of two of the following quotations from the work of Thomas Hobbes:
“Covenants without the sword are but words.”
“And the life of man, solitary, poore, nasty, brutish and short.”
“…men have to pleasure (but on the contrary a great deal of griefe)
in keeping company where there is no power able to over-awe them all”
“…the nature of War, consisteth not in actuall fighting; but in the known
disposition thereto, during all the time there is no assurance to the contrary.”
2. On p. 6 Waller cites “another important reason to look carefully at what you count as a moral principle. It may tell you a lot about yourself, and some of your basic beliefs and assumptions.”What does he mean?
3. Explain Thomas Hobbes’s views of the social contract and the state of nature. How does it contrast with Rousseau’s views?
4. Explain how the premise of psychological egoism leads to the philosophy of life called philosophical or ethical egoism. Explain also how the basic premise can be challenged. Cite one of the posts of your classmates or a passage in the text to support your explanation.
5. Explain what is meant by the ad homimen fallacy and the strawman fallacy which Waller explains in Chapter 1. Cite one example of each.
6. What does Waller mean when he provides the heading “Natural Morality Versus Transcendent Morality?” What argument is he intending to explore?
7. What larger question is Waller trying to raise when he asks on p. 1, “Is knowledge of ethics similar to knowledge of physics?
8. John Rawls’ name has been associated with the phrase “justice as fairness” which appears as a heading on p. 135. Why so? How is that concept connected to his idea of the “veil of ignorance” as a technique for creating a social contract?
9. Explain how the views expressed by Thomas Hobbes in the selection from his Leviathan in your text are similar to those expressed by Sigmund Freud which you can find in the lecture on Egoism.
10. Explain the significance of the quote from Richard Halverson, former chaplain of the U.S. Senate, which appears on p. 7.
11. Cite a post by one of your classmates from any of the units in the course thus far. Explain how this post states an idea or ideas with which you agree. Be sure to either copy and paste key paragraphs or passages and/or quote specific sentences, phrases and/or terms that well articulate this idea(s).
12. Some people, such as Ayn Rand, would defend universal ethical egoism as the being part of the natural order of the universe. What arguments have been made for it as a good philosophy of life, as something to celebrate rather than criticize? Consider citing the essay by Milton Friedman in the Web Links section.
13. Explain how the article in the Web Links section about “lunch shaming” makes a case for altruism.
14. Explain how the Washington Post editorial in the Web Links section, which deals with Senate Democrats being accused of intolerance towards religion, discusses the conflict between natural morality and transcendent morality. What ethical issues does the author raise?
15. What is the essence of the arguments presented by Mencius and Bishop Joseph Butler, both of whom are cited in the lecture, in support of the possibility of altruism? Be sure to refer to cite both figures, not just one.
16. What commentary does the New York Times article about Hurricane Harvey in the Web Links section make upon the concept of altruism and upon the current social contract?
17. Is texting while driving an ethical issue? Is there a principle involved? If so, which one?
18. How does the Boston Globe column by Nestor Ramos illustrate the concept of philosophical or ethical egoism?
19. Explain the nature of the debate between those who argue in favor of a mandatory vaccination law and those that argue against such a law. Don’t take one side or the other; simply explain the thinking of each side as regards this issue.
20. Explain the nature of the debate between those who support a death with dignity bill, like the one the Maine Legislature recently passed. What is the argument (or arguments) in favor of it, and what argument or arguments have been or can be made against it? As with the previous question about vaccinations, don’t take a position on the issue here; simply explain the thinking of each side.