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PHI 105 Introduction to Ethics

Dr. McElhoes
Study Guide for Exam #1
This study guide comes in two parts: first, definitions; second, essays.
The definitions in Part 1 are to help you to fix ideas in your mind, which is useful since these are the ideas
that you will be writing about in your essays.
Note: this is especially important since you will have to define all technical terms when you first
use them (or mention them) in your essays.
The list of essay questions in Part 2 are intended to help you to structure your thoughts on the issues and
arguments we discuss in class. If you can write solid essays on these topics, youll be able to write solid
essays on the exam.
Part 1: Definitions (most can be answered in a single sentence; maybe two)
(1) What is an argument?
(2) What is a valid argument? Is it possible for the premises of a valid argument to be false?
(3) What is a sound argument?
(4) What is an intuition?
(5) What is dogma?
(6) What is it to beg the question?
(7) What is an essence in Socrates sense?
(8) What is Divine Command theory?
(9) What does it mean to say that something is a necessary condition for X?
(10)What does it mean to say that something is a sufficient condition for X?
(11)What is it for something to be intrinsically valuable?
(12) What is it for something to be instrumentally valuable?
(13) Who is the perfectly unjust (perfectly evil) person?
(14) Who is the perfectly just (perfectly good) person?
(15)What is Objectivism?
(16) What is Subjectivism?
(17) What is Nihilism?
(18) What is Moral Fictionalism?
(19) What is Cultural Relativism?
(20) What is Emotivism?
(21)What is Moral Priniciplism?
Part 2: Essay questions (i.e., the mock exam)
(1) Describe the problem of moral reasoning and the Socratic solution we discussed in class.
a. (Hint: you should say why moral reasoning is important, and then describe the difficulty
faced by those who hope to use moral reasoning to solve ethical conundrums, and then
describe how Socrates goes about avoiding this difficulty).

(2) Explain how Euthyphros account of piety piety is what all the gods love was seemingly refuted
by Socrates questioning.
a. (Hint: say what the euthyphro question is, the causal argument that gets Euthyphro into
trouble; and why taking the other option of the Euthyphro question wasnt at all helpful.)
(3) Explain Thrasymachus theory of justice. Can Socrates refute it, as he did with the definitions of
justice given prior to Thrasymachus intervention? Why or why not?
(4) Assuming that goodness is a kind of value, explain how the thought experiments of the perfectly just
man and perfectly unjust man provides an argument for Moral Fictionalism.
(5) Explain why moral principlism is an objectivist, rather than subjectivist, theory of morality, even
though different cultures abide by different principles.
(6) Should we be moral relativists? Explain.
a. (Hint: your answer should include the standard argument for moral relativism, a critique of
that argument, and should involve the strongest argument AGAINST moral relativism that
you know of. If you can respond to that argument on behalf of the relativist, feel free to do
(7) Can the open-question argument be used to mount an argument against cultural relativism? Explain.
(8) Explain how emotivism solves the problems confronting the moral relativist. How might this be used
to formulate an argument in favor of emotivism? Does this mean that we should be emotivists?
a. (Hint: you should talk about the four main problems that the emotivist thinks that they can
solve, come up with a way to use those solutions to convince someone to be an emotivist,
and then address the main problem for emotivism).