Thursday, May 13, 2010



What the midterm will be like:

1) Part one: definition of concepts: 20%
you will be expected to give the definitions for 5 key concepts, in your own words, (usually in a sentence or two.) Choose any 5 from 7.

Example: define “The Categorical Imperative”

2) Part two: short answer: 20%
you will be expected to give a brief explanation of some key your own words, (usually in a short paragraph. Choose any 2 of 3.)

Example: Compare/contrast action-based moral theories with virtue-based theories.

3) Part three: essay: 60%
You will be asked to answer 1 of 2 questions, in as much detail as possible. They will be general, and open-ended, so as to give you a chance to show me how much you have learned, and how well you are able to apply it.

Example: How should we relate Scripture to morality? Divine command or virtue ethic or some other way?


1. Be sure to study your handouts. Use them as a guide to pick out what is important in the readings.

2. Important concepts and thoughts are often boldfaced and defined in the handouts.

3. When taking this kind of test, it is important to ration your time. Don’t spend all your time doing parts one and two, which are only worth 40%. Be sure to leave the majority of your time for the essay, which is worth over half of your grade.

4. When writing your essay, be sure to make an outline of what you want to say, so that you can be sure to get it all in the time allotted. Pace yourself according to the outline.

5. This is your chance to impress me with everything you’ve absorbed from your readings and from class discussion. Be clear, concise, and complete. This is not the time to be creative; show me what you have learned.

6. PLEASE call me if you don’t understand something: (744-9343) or e-mail me at

7. Begin reviewing now. Don’t wait until the night before.


Consequentialist ethics
cultural relativism
hypothetical imperative
"purity of heart"
deontological ethics
cardinal virtues
ethical egoism
theological virtues
natural law ethics
action-based moral theories
Principle of Utility
virtue-based moral theories
Categorical Imperative
divine command theory

Short Answers/Possible essays:

1. Contrast action-based moral theories with virtue-based theories.

2. Show four ways that cultural relativism is incoherent.

3. What is ethics like for a Behaviorist or sociobiologist?

4. What are some problems Utilitarians face?

5. Compare/contrast hypothetical and categorical imperatives.

6. What are some problems Kantians face?

7. What is right about Kantianism?

8. Compare/contrast the Greek view of human fulfillment with the Christian view

9. What is it that Jews, Christians, Greeks, Utilitarians, and Kantians all have in common?

10. Contrast the notion of “good” for the Greeks, the Medievals and the Utilitarians.

11. What are the four cardinal virtues? Briefly discuss.

12. What are the three theological virtues? Briefly discuss.

13. What does the Sermon on the Mount have to teach us about morality?

14. What are the Beatitudes, and what are the seven corresponding deadly sins? Explain.

15. Contrast the Thomistic conception of natural law with Modernist conception of natural law.

16. Why have Protestants been suspicious of natural law ethical theories?

17. What is the Divine Command theory? What are its advantages? Its problems?

18. What is the is-ought problem, and how do naturalists, theists, and behaviorists deal with it?

19. Briefly explain the world view of the Enlightenment (Modernism) and its bearing on ethics.

20. Briefly explain the Postmodern world view and its bearing on ethics.