Lesson 7: Assignments

Required Reading

Chapter 9 in "The Science Before Science"

Written Assignment

What is moral philosophy? This science provides the first principles for which of the three sciences: the pure, the applied or the methodological?

What is the catch phrase of moral relativism? Why is it contradictory and what is one left with after parsing it?

Why is there no such thing as half a principle?

Give an example of a situation where a moral relativist would preach differently than he would act.

Why is it necessary to have a realist epistemology to advance an objective standard of morality?

Why cannot a purely mathematical morality work?

An objective morality can use the empiriometric tool, polls and the like, to probe the moral realm. What are the limitations of such a method? Can we expect anywhere near the success in the moral domain as we saw in the physical domain? Indeed, could it lead us astray in ways not possible in physics? Why or why not?

The foundation of morality is in which of Aristotle's four causes?

Give a statement of the principle of finality.

Give a physical example of the ordination of potentiality to act.

What is evil?

What is the first principle of morality? Why is it self-evident?

Define conscience. Is it a separate power of man?

What determines what is good for a man?

What is man's ultimate good? Give St. Augustine's articulation of this principle.

How is it that we say all things are good in so far as they are, yet we still say certain things are bad? For example, if one decides contraception is morally wrong, in what sense could the birth control pill be good?

What are the two categories of human needs? List needs in both categories, arrange the categories and items in order of importance.

In isolation from other factors, is getting a stamp out of a machine for the purpose of mailing a birthday card or the like a moral or an immoral act? Explain.

Why is it evil to tell a lie? Give examples of lies of various degrees of severity.

Define virtue and vice.

Is it best to leave one's emotions out of intellectual life? Why or why not? If so what other areas of life should emotions be left out of? Which man is more virtuous: the one who suppresses all emotion or the one whose emotions are at the service of right reason?

Explain what it means to use things, including ones passions, ordinately rather than inordinately?

Is anger always inordinate?

Why is the Cosmic Fixer (the man who does evil that good may come of it) bound to fail in the end?

Can a true atheist ever be happy? Why or why not?

Why did Feynman's solution of letting people come to the same practical conclusions independent of how they came to those conclusions work to some large degree in 1963?

In what sense is our current culture like the frog in the gradually heated water: give an example.

Explain why operating on a human embryo for any other reason than improving the embryo's life is wrong.

When we live the truth, why do we respond with greater facility and correctness in our moral decisions? Give an example from sports where a similar form of connatural knowledge plays a role.


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