Review Questions

1. Moral and political theory:

    • What similarities are there between Locke's and Kant's moral theories?
    • What are the main differences between Kant's view and utilitarianism?
    • Can someone be both a libertarian and a utilitarian?
    • How would a libertarian criticize Rawls?
    • How would Rawls criticize a libertarian?
    • Which of these views of morality and justice was most helpful to you in thinking about which issues?

2. Surrogate motherhood:

    • How should one spell out the argument that surrogate motherhood contracts should be legally binding, because individuals have a fundamental moral duty to abide by contracts?
    • What are the main arguments against treating surrogate motherhood contracts as legally binding?
    • What is an inalienable right? What inalienable rights does the contract between William Stern and Mary Beth Whitehead violate?
    • If doing what a contract calls for violates no rights, can enforcing the contract nevertheless violate an inalienable right?

3. Abortion:

    • What is the moral significance of whether an organism belongs to the species, homo sapiens, or to some other species?
    • In virtue of what properties do some living beings have a right to life?
    • Marquis claims that he can make an argument that abortion is immoral without making any assumptions concerning the moral status of fetuses (or whether fetuses have a right to life). How?
    • Why is the Michael Jordan cloning example a counter-example to Marquis?
    • What is the relevance of a hypothetical case of brain reprogramming to Marquis' view?
    • Does Marquis have a response to Thomson?
    • Does Thomson have any quarrel with Marquis?
    • To what extent do Marquis and Brody agree or disagree? Are they addressing the same questions?
    • What does the doctrine of double effect say? How is it relevant to whether abortion is morally permissible?
    • How could it be the case that the method of abortion could determine whether abortion is permissible or not?
    • If, as was argued in lecture, Thomson's violinist case is not viewed as an analogy to deciding whether to have an abortion, how can it still be relevant to the abortion controversy?
    • Should we regard a woman who gets pregnant voluntarily as waiving her right to determine what happens within her body? What constitutes getting pregnant voluntarily?
    • Do the arguments against abortion carry over and constitute arguments against contraception?

4. Affirmative action:

    • What's wrong with the following argument?
    • It is wrong to hire on any other basis than qualifications.
    • Affirmative action requires firms to hire on the basis of factors in addition to qualifications.
    • Affirmative action requires firms to do wrong.
    • Why should African Americans pay taxes that go to pay for reparations to African Americans?
    • Why is preferential hiring and admissions not a justifiable way either to provide reparations to African Americans or to rectify past injustices?
    • If rectification or reparations do not justify preferential hiring and admissions, what does?
    • What does the evidence cited in Dworkin's review of The Shape of the River say about the actual effects of preferential admissions to selective universities. What beneficial effects have there been? What harmful effects have there been?
    • Does preferential hiring and admissions help to equalize opportunities or do they make opportunities less equal?

5. Health and health care:

    • How in general do health outcomes, health expenditures and the structure of health-care provision in the U.S. compare with outcomes and expenditures and health care organization in other wealthy countries?
    • Why do most people reject the view that the health care one gets should be determined by one's ability to pay for it?
    • Would it be just to allocate health care on the basis of willingness or ability to pay?
    • What, according to Daniels, does justice demand concerning access to health care? What is his argument?
    • What are Rawls' two principles of justice? Why does Rawls think they would be chosen "behind the veil of ignorance"?
    • Why ask about what people would choose behind the veil of ignorance?
    • What are the main advantages of providing the poor with access to health care by means of income transfers or vouchers as compared to government provision of health care or health insurance? What are the main disadvantages?
    • What is adverse selection and what is moral hazard? Why are these important factors in the health-care insurance market?
    • What is there to be said for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act?
      • Why does it include a mandate to purchase health insurance?
      • What advantages does it have over a voucher system? What disadvantages?
      • What advantages does it have over a single-payer plan such as Canada's? What disadvantages?
    • What should we do about health care?