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Module 2: Intro To Ethical Theories

1247 words - 5 pages

Shaw and Barry distinguish two forms of utilitarianism.  What are these two forms?  Briefly describe each. 
Utilitarianism is the idea that we should always act to produce the greatest possible balance of good over bad for everyone affected by our actions.  Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill, both philosophers, used the utilitarian standard to evaluate and criticize the social and political institutions of their day.  And, as a result, utilitarianism has long been associated with social improvement.  The two forms of utilitarianism are act utilitarianism and rule utilitarianism.  Act utilitarianism, utilitarianism in its most basic version, states that we must calculate what the ...view middle of the document...

  “Declining marginal utility of money” simply means that successive additions to one’s income produce, on average, less happiness or welfare than did early additions.  The declining marginal utility of money follows from the fact that the outcomes we want are preferentially ordered, some being more strongly wanted than others.
Robert Nozick presents his entitlement theory as a function of three basic principles.  What are these three basic principles? 
Robert Nozick believes that people have certain basic negative and natural moral rights, called Lockean rights.  Nozick’s belief in these Lockean rights shaped his theory of economic justice- the entitlement theory.  According to Nozick’s theory, you are entitled to your holdings if you have acquired them without violating other people’s rights.  The first principle of this entitlement theory of Nozick’s deals with the original acquisition of holdings- the appropriation of unheld goods or the creation of new goods.  A person that ac quires a holding in accordance with this principle, is in fact then entitled to it.  Nozick’s second principle explains transfers of already-owned goods from one person to another in legitimate ways.  If a person possesses a holding because of a legitimate transfer, then that person is in fact entitled to it.  The final principle states that one can justly acquire a holding only in accord with the two principles previously discussed, and if you come by a holding in some other way, then you are not entitled to it. 
Two main features of John Rawls’ theory of distributive justice are particularly important.  What are these two features?  Describe them.
 Distributive justice is defined in the text as the proper distribution of social benefits and burdens (i.e. economic benefits and burdens).  John Rawl’s influential theory of justice includes two particularly fundamental features, which are his hypothetical-contract approach and the principles of justice that he derives with it.  Rawl’s strategy is to ask what principles people would choose to govern their society if they were in the “original position.”  He believes that people in the original position would agree on two positions as the basic governing principles of their society, and, that these principles are the principles of justice.  The first principle guarantees certain familiar and fundamental liberties to each person.  Each person is to have an equal right to the most extensive total system of equal basic liberties compatible with a similar system of liberty for all.  The second principle, considered controversial, states that social and economic inequalities are justified only if those inequalities benefit the least advantaged members of society.  These are the principles of justice because they would be agreed to in an initial situation of equality and fairness.
What is the maxmin rule for making decisions? 
John Rawls believed that people in the original position follow the maxmin...

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