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William David Ross (1877-1971) Career and major works: • White’s Professor of Moral Philosophy, Oxford, 1923-28. • Provost of Oriel College Oxford, 1929-47. • Vice-Chancellor Oxford University, 1941-1944. • Member and President of the British Academy. • Translator of Aristotle’s Nichomachean Ethics. (1908) • The Right and the Good (1930) • Foundations of Ethics (1939) Photo from http://home.wlu.edu/~mahonj/FirstEditionsRoss.htm website of James Mahon of Washington and Lee University. Which very short summary captures one of Ross’s main points? • A. Extant contemporary theories of morality make things too simple. • B. Moral theory is easy to summarize correctly. • C. Moore’s version of consequentialism is not an improvement on earlier forms of consequentialism. Which very short summary captures one of Ross’s main points? • A. Extant contemporary theories of morality make things too simple. • B. Moral theory is easy to summarize correctly. • C. Moore’s version of consequentialism is not an improvement on earlier forms of consequentialism. Clicker Question: Should one do the action which involves keeping the promise or the other one? • A. Keep the promise. • B. Do the other action. • C. It doesn’t matter which you choose – either can rightly be chosen. Clicker Question: What should you do in the car crash/lunch date scenario? • A. Stop and try to stabilize the victim until an ambulance arrives. • B. Continue on so as to be at the promised spot for your lunch appointment. Clicker Question: Do we have any reason to favor the happy torturer scenario over the unhappy torturer scenario? • A. Yes. • B. No. Exam Grading Center of gravity at 86/87 • We should do X, Y and Z, in relation to resource shortages and famines. • Example NP: When people’s lives are at risk we have an obligation to save as many as we can without seriously harming others. • Doing X, Y and Z will enable us to save as many lives as we can without seriously harming others. We can see this if we examine this circumstance where X and Y saved lives. And in this other case Z helped as well. Furthermore we have the resources to fund X, Y and Z without great cost because . . . • The normative principle in the second section makes sense to adopt because . . . Consequentialist Exam • A. State thesis. • B. State and explain normative principle. • C. Present empirical facts to show that the likely consequences of the action in question are or are not better than the consequences of the alternative. • E. Defend your NP. Nonconsequentialist Exam • A. State thesis. • B. State and explain your normative principle. • C. Present empirical facts to show that policies you advocate will meet the standards set by your normative principle. (For example if your NP is “Don’t Kill” people show that the policies you advocate are necessary to avoid or minimizing killings by the people who should adopt the policy.) • E. Defend your NP. Default Grading • A test which does each of the four things we ask adequately will be roughly on the line between a B and a B+. (86-87 points). • Papers that don’t do some of these well will lose points for that (though these can be offset by gains from doing other things especially well. • Tests which do especially well at some of these tasks will gain points. Example of a perfectly OK thesis & ways to make it better than OK • Thesis says that we should promote and fund immediate famine assistance, developmental assistance and population control programs. (with support for each of these in section 3). You need not favor all 3 or any of these – this is just an example. • Ways to do better than this: – Be more specific about what kind of developmental, population and/or population programs you favor. – Come up with something that you think will work that goes beyond these suggestions and comes up with a new kind of policy or program not discussed. Ways to do better than OK on a NP • Use an original NP of your own or a modified version borrowed from someone not on the reading list. Way to make section 3 better than OK. • Include lots of evidence that your suggestions will do what your normative principle says we should do. • Show that you’ve done some work looking into policies that may or may not work and explain why they will or won’t. • Generally if your thesis is more specific your facts here will need to be more specific and this will then require additional detail here that makes your third section better as well. Ways to do especially well at the fourth task • Present the reasons for adopting your NP in an especially clear way. • Have an original argument for your NP. • Use especially clever and persuasive examples to support your NP (like Singer does with the drowning child but doing something like that that’s original to you). • Do a nice job explaining and developing some of the ideas used by one of the moral theorists we read to defend your normative principles.