Who were the intended recipients of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s 1963 “Letter from a Birmingham Jail”

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Evolution is a dubious theory because scientists agree that it is falsifiable


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True/False Questions

1. In Plato’s Republic, Plato’s brother, Glaucon, makes the case that most people are not self-interested; just because we can get away with something or no one would ever know about it, even something that might benefit us or fulfill a desire, we would be likely to do the right thing anyway.


2. Psychological egoists would say that all good deeds, even if done with the intention of helping others, are really motivated, at bottom, by selfishness.


3. Ethical egoism is the view that good, moral people ought to be self-interested.


4. David Hume claims that there is no such thing as an objectively moral act–nothing in itself, even cold-blooded murder, is in itself good or bad; there are no moral facts.


5. Psychological egoism is a kind of moral relativism, while ethical egoism is an absolutist theory.


6. Evolution is a dubious theory because scientists agree that it is falsifiable.


7. The definition of equality as “equal treatment for equals” turns out to be the fairest, most inclusive way, of defining true equality as a fundamental human right.


8. John Rawls, puts forward a theory of “justice as fairness,” which advances an egalitarian liberalism that claims that everyone should have equal access to social goods, rights, and freedoms.


9. The principle of “an eye for an eye…” is today referred to as the “law of restorative justice.”


10. Although observation seems to show that there is some form of moral code among social animals, recent studies confirm the view that such behavior is actually just the playing out of instinct for behavior within the group, not genuine moral decision-making.


11. For Rawls, justice consists in equal liberty for persons within a society, and this means that any sort of inequality is absolutely impermissible.


12. It is a very nice idea, but unfortunately, there has never been a universal statement declaring that all humans are born free and equal in dignity and rights that is endorsed by a worldwide organization or a global governing body.


13. Ronald Dworkin believes that inflating rights is as serious as invading them.


Multiple-Choice Questions

1.The expression, “ought implies can,” means

a.taking advantage of a situation is always the best course of action.

b.that we cannot be obligated to do something unless we are actually able to do it.

c.self-love implies self-interest.

d.that acting selfishly implies that one has the ability to do so.


2.The difference between psychological egoism and ethical egoism is that

a.psychological egoism describes human nature as basically selfish, while ethical egoism prescribes selfishness as moral behavior.

b.psychological egoism says that selfishness is a psychological problem, while the ethical egoism says that being selfish is morally wrong.

c.psychological egoism is the modern-day version of ethical egoism, which is an “old-fashioned” idea of morality.

d. ethical egoism describes human nature as basically selfish, while psychological egoism prescribes selfishness as moral behavior


3. A problem with ethical egoism is that

a. it is emotionally callous.

b. it does not solve moral conflicts.

c. it does not work in practice.

d. all of the above.


4. In the ideal, normative sense, altruism is the view that

a. there is something good and caring deep inside everyone.

b. everyone ought to be as truthful as possible, at all times.

c. the “other,” i.e., other selves, do not truly exist.

d. everyone ought to give up her or his own self-interest for the sake of others.


5. The “Selfish Gene” theory explains why people act unselfishly and help others first. This theory was introduced by

a. Immanuel Kant.

b. Richard Dawkins.

c. Aristotle.

d. Thomas Hobbes.


6. What is an autonomous lawmaker?

a. a person who follows hypothetical imperatives

b. a member of the government who cannot be bribed

c. a person who follows the categorical imperative

d. someone who is capable of influencing legislation.


7.If a person is someone who is capable of deciding on how to act and being responsible for that action, then we may consider a person to be

a.socially and politically irrelevant.

b.a moral agent.

c.a human being.

d. above the law.


8. In his book, Knowledge and Interest, Jürgen Habermas claims that

a. scientific research is always done for the sake of knowledge alone; despite appearances, it is necessarily value neutral in its pursuits.

b. science never has claimed to be objective and has no reason to be.

c. Scientific research is not always done for the sake of knowledge alone; it may be pursuing a particular vested interest.

d. only knowledge that is interesting should be pursued in scientific research.


9. Regarding the concept of natural rights, who said that even in the “State of Nature,” prior to any social contract, a person has the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and property?

a. Jeremy Bentham

b. Thomas Hobbes

c. John Stuart Mill

d. John Locke


10. The term, negative rights, specifies

a. what would be the opposite of a human right.

b. any negative action.

c. what ought not to be done to a person.

d. all of the above.


11. On Hobbes’s conception of natural right and natural law, individuals may do what it takes to stay alive and move away from whatever may do them harm. But once we have entered into a social contract, Hobbes allows that

a. our natural right to self- protection is modified into an agreement to work for mutual self-protection.

b. we must give up the right to defend ourselves.

c. we must consent to actions that will harm us.

d. all of the above.


12. According to Ronald Dworkin,

a. the idea of human dignity is a meaningless concept; it is society as a whole that matters.

b. someone’s right to bear arms should not be abridged just because someone else might choose to harm others because he has that right.

c. the right to bear arms should be limited by the possibility that others in the community may be unjustly harmed.

d. the best model for political thinking is to put the demands of society above the rights of the individual.


13. According to the German political philosopher, Karl Marx, the communist state

a. guarantees the individual the positive right of having his or her needs met.

b. upholds the ideal of social equality.

c. grants everyone in society the right to have her or his life sustained.

d. all of the above.


14. Communitarianism is the view that

a. community responsibilities take away the rights of the individual.

b. an individual understands herself or himself primarily as a separate entity within a community of other individuals.

c. is expressed in the saying, “it takes a village.”

d. connections to the community are secondary to family and self; the community serves the individual.


15. Mary Midgley argues against psychological egoism, saying that

a. our desire to help, as well as hurt, people comes from a kind of selfish want or desire.

b. it goes against the way we use language since we understand what “unselfish” means, so there must be a reference class for the term.

c. all actions done by humans are not selfish by nature; they are actually selfish by sheer will.

d. unselfishness does not actually exist–there are simply degrees of selfishness.



16.Who were the intended recipients of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s 1963 “Letter from a Birmingham Jail”?

a.the U.S. Congress

b.the American People

c.the Governor and legislators of Alabama and the Birmingham Police Department

d. a group of Alabama clergymen who had criticized King’s activities


17. In “Justice as Fairness,” John Rawls develops a concept of justice that can be stated in the form of two principles. The first deals with equal rights to liberty for all. The second principle

a. defines what sorts of inequalities are permissible in a just society.

b. allows for inequalities among members of a society as long as these inequalities have been established by longstanding tradition and approved by the majority.

c. basically reiterates what the first principle says, stressing that the liberty granted to all should be as extensive as is compatible with equal liberty for all.

d. explains that all offices and positions–all social and political roles–must be made to reflect absolute equality in terms of benefits and burdens.




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