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Spring 1999 Midterm Examination

Part I: Answer each of the following questions by circling T for true or F for false. If you mark the statement true, give an extremely brief explanation why. If you mark the statement false, given an extremely brief explanation why or give a counter-example. (two points each, 52 points total)

T F 1. It is intolerant to believe that one's moral views are correct.

T F 2. A sufficient condition for a contract to be legally binding is for it to be signed voluntarily.

T F 3. A necessary condition for a contract to be legally binding is that it does not call for illegal actions.

T F 4. According to Locke, morality only applies in the state of nature, not to society.

T F 5. Judge Sorkow held that the surrogate motherhood contract Mary Beth Whitehead signed determined who should have custody of baby M.

T F 6. Judge Sorkow held that some of the terms of the surrogate motherhood contract in the Baby-M case were invalid.

T F 7. Katha Pollitt criticizes the surrogate motherhood contract Mary Beth Whitehead signed, but argues that with additional safeguards, surrogate motherhood contracts should be welcomed.

T F 8. An inalienable right cannot be forfeited.

T F 9. Every important right is inalienable.

T F 10. Kant held that if you want to do something, then doing it cannot have any moral worth.

T F 11. Kant held that we should never use other people as means to our ends.

T F 12. The reason why Kant believed that we should treat people as ends in themselves is that we should show solidarity toward members of our biological species.

T F 13. If no sharp distinction can be drawn between things, then no distinction at all can be drawn.

T F 14. Mary Anne Warren holds that aliens (if there are any) cannot have a right to life because they are not human.

T F 15. Don Marquis maintains that a necessary condition for an action to be the same sort of wrong as murder is that it deprives something of a future that contains the same sort of values as a typical human future.

T F 16. Marquis' position implies that killing a cell that will develop into a human embryo is the same sort of wrong as murder.

T F 17. Thomson develops her violinist story to argue by analogy that abortion is permissible only in the case when a woman has been raped and needs to stay in bed through pregnancy.

T F 18. The point of Brody's case where C will give A life-saving medicine only if A kills B is that it is permissible to kill in self-defense.

T F 19. Brody holds that abortion is impermissible in all circumstances, except when both the mother and the fetus will die if an abortion is not performed.

T F 20. Thomson believes that there is nothing morally wrong about disconnecting oneself from the violinist even when it will take only one minute more for the violinist's life to be saved.

T F 21. Someone who holds that abortion should be permissible only in cases of rape, incest, or possible death or injury to the mother cannot consistently hold that the reason why abortion is wrong in the other cases is that it violates the fetus' right to life.

T F 22. Whether a fetus or embryo counts as a human being is a biological question.

T F 23. A Kantian view of what has a serious right to life apparently implies that infants do not have a right to life.

T F 24. According to the morality that most of us accept, there is an enormous moral difference between killing someone and not acting to save their lives.

T F 25. The question of whether a fetus counts as a human life is ultimately for doctors to decide.

T F 26. Judith Thomson uses her violinist example and other examples to argue that abortion should be permissible under all circumstances.

Part II: In your blue book write essay responses to three of the following questions (16 points each):

1. How would you respond to someone who says, "What is right and wrong is simply a matter of social convention. If almost everybody in a society thinks that something is right (or wrong), then it is right or wrong for that society"? Illustrate the points you make in response with some references to questions concerning either surrogate motherhood or abortion.

2. A prenuptial agreement that specifies that who gets custody of the children in the case of divorce is not legally binding. Why not? Should it be? What is the relevance of this question and your answer to the issue of whether surrogate motherhood contracts should be legally binding?

3. In Thomson's violinist case, most people's intuitions say that it is permissible to disconnect oneself from the violinist if one would have to stay in bed hooked up to him for a very long time. In Brody's life-boat case, most people's intuitions say that it is not permissible to kill the disease carrier even if one will die otherwise. Explain how these intuitions appear to conflict, how these intuitions are relevant to the abortion issue, and how the conflict should be resolved.

4. Suppose it were possible to transfer fetuses from one woman to another with no more expense, inconvenience, or danger than an abortion involves and that there were a large number of women willing and indeed eager to accept fetuses from women who no longer wish to be pregnant. How, in your view, would these facts bear on the questions of the morality of abortion and on whether abortion should be legal?

Discuss these questions with your classmates on the Web discussion page