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1. Explain and distinguish the following terms (you may use examples):
(a) public/private sphere
(b) individual right/robust group right
(c) individual right of self-determination/robust group right of self-determination
(d) external protection/internal restriction (Kymlicka)
(e) liberationist view/liberal view/traditional view in sexual ethics (Lee & George)
(f) unidirectional/collective enforcement of human rights
(g) top-down vs. bottom-up moral reasoning
(h) top-down vs. bottom-up social processes of moral transformation
(i) political emancipation vs. human emancipation (Marx)
(j) moral realist/moral anti-realist
a) The public sphere is society, it is on display, and governed (outside the family). The private sphere is the opposite, it is social life where an individual enjoys some authority, separate from the government; the family, and home.
b) Individual rights are liberty or claim rights of individuals. they generate claims that can be made on behalf of particular individuals. Robust group rights are rights that are not merely the sum of the individual rights of the members of the group. Individual right = right to live. Group right = right against genocide.
c) A robust group right of self-determination is its(country) right to determine its own statehood and forms of allegiances, government , and use of natural resources. An individual right to self-determination is the ability for an individual to control their own life; their own religion etc.
d) External protections are claims of a group against the larger society. Internal restrictions are claims of a group against the individual liberty of its own members. Internal restriction are almost always "bad" while external ones are usually "good".
e) liberationist(innocent pleasure objection) = it requires that pleasure be related to the achievement of a separate good in order to be morally justifiable.
an opponent would just have to argue that pleasure is not wrong. ex. eating for pleasure
reply pleasure by itself is not good.
Liberal view (the other goods objection)= suppose that there is a distinctive kind of union that is a human good that is only achievable by heterosexual vaginal intercourse. why couldn't other kinds of sexual activity be permissible to achieve other human goods, especially other kinds of interpersonal unions.
reply= no real biological union. ex. sodomy and fornication.
Tradition view = sex that is potentially procreative is natural. unnatural acts are morally wrong. it is permissible to make illegal what is morally wrong. therefore, it is permissible to make unnatural sec illegal.
- f) one-sided or unidirectional enforcement is the U.S. as "beneficent world sovereign" this is the position favored by the U.S.
- collective enforcement of human rights is symmetrical enforcement in a hour of democracies. ex. the ICC
- g) in top-down reasoning, moral judgments about particular cases are derived from moral principles.
- in bottom-up moral reasoning, moral principles are justified by their ability to explain moral judgments about particular cases.
- h) social process of moral change:
- top-down: moral change comes from those in authority.
- Bottom-up: moral change comes from below, from ordinary citizens, who challenge the authorities.
- i) political emancipation is a right to non-interference in some realm(ex. non-interference in the practice of one's religion). Marx defines them as rights of man (as a separate individual).
- human emancipation is emancipation from one's individualistic, egoistic identity. involves becoming a non-egoistic member of a non-egoistic community.
j) A moral realist is someone who believes that some moral statements are true.
Humean moral ant-realist is someone who believes that no moral statements are true, because they are expressions of sentiment.
the issue is a metaphysical one. the moral realist need not think that moral truths are infallible.
For each statement or argument below, state whether it is true or false and explain your answer. Where the
statement is about a particular author’s view, state whether it is a correct interpretation of the relevant author's
views, and justify your answer by explaining the relevant parts of the author's view. If you hold that it is not a
correct interpretation of the author’s view, explain why someone might have mistakenly thought that it was. If you
hold that it is a correct interpretation of the author’s view, explain its importance in the author’s larger view. You
get no credit for merely saying whether the statement is true or false. All of the credit will be based on your
explanation of your answer.
(a) Amartya Sen thinks that there are 100,000,000 women in the world who have run away from home and are
(b) Yael Tamir is a moral relativist who thinks that Westerners should not make moral judgments about the practice
of female genital cutting (FGC).
(c) Arati Rao endorses the use of Rawls’s original position thought experiment in political philosophy.
(d) Will Kymlicka thinks that human rights is a Western concept that does not apply to indigenous communities.
(e) Patrick Lee and Robert George think that same-sex sexual relations are morally wrong simply because they are
(f) Jamie Mayerfeld argues that the U.S. should not worry that endorsing the ICC statute would limit the U.S.
military, because even if the ICC had been in existence and ratified by the U.S. before 1945, the ICC statute would
not have applied to acts of war, such as the use of atomic weapons in the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
(g) Edmund Burke predicted that a revolution in France based on “The Rights of Man” would end in terror and his
prediction was correct.
(h) Karl Marx thought that the best kind of life for humans would be to live like a worker bee in a beehive.
(i) Richard Rorty thinks that there is never any moral progress.
a) correct; this number is used to emphasize the effects of internal cultural norms that discriminate against women. b) incorrect; she stated that she believes that female genital cutting is "especially bad". c)Incorrect; he believed the approach did not exhaust the range of rights thinking,but it remained representative of the dominant strain of model-build-ing in the rights tradition. It does recognize the importance of the two spheres (public and private).
(d) Incorrect; he specifically speaks of group rights held by North American indigenous peoples.
e)Incorrect George and Lee think that same sex marriage is wrong because it is incapable of achieving the distinctive good of a procreative union. Someone might of been confused by the old natural law argument, which believes that same sex marriage is wrong because it is unnatural.
f) Incorrect; he states that the U.S. should not indorse the ICC Statue because the acts of war done by the U.S., such as the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, would make the U.S. guilty of a war crime, and that is intolerable.
g) Correct; He opposed guarantees of additional rights. He states that rights can not be taught a priori; they require cumulative wisdom. Also, that rights are too simplistic and good governments are complex; rights admit of no compromise.
h) Correct; he believe that society should be comprised of species beings. Species beings are individual who work in total unity; servant leaders instead of self-serving leaders.
i) Correct; Rorty is a Humean moral anti-realist. He believes that there is never moral progress because there is no process of discovery; moral judgment is based on sentiment not reason.
(a) What was Wollstonecraft's "Utopian dream"? (b) Why did she regard it as simply an extension of the
objections of Locke, Rousseau, and Kant to absolute monarchy? (c) What made the positions of her opponents
(including Locke, Rousseau, and Kant) paternalistic? (d) How did she reply to their paternalistic positions?
a) Wollstonecraft's Utopian dream was: the opportunity for women to develop their humanity (their human capabilities, not merely the characteristics that make them attractive to men). Two aspects are: the negative right, not to be subject to legal limits because of gender, and the positive right to education and other things necessary to human development.
b) She did this by relating the absolute power of the monarchy, to the absolute power of the of males in the private sphere. Using the phase a mans home is his castle.
c) What made them paternalistic what that they believed that it was best for woman's nature and the danger of masculine women.
d) she replied with: being treated like slave produces beings with the virtues of a slaves.
Sen has estimated that in the world there are 100,000,000 missing girls and women. (a) Why are they missing?
This requires not only a description of how girls are treated but some discussion of why girls are treated that way.
(b) Based on Sen's research, what are the most effective methods for solving the problem?
a) Girls are missing due to lack of rights. Girls does receive education and other significant items because they are viewed as less males.
b) education is the most effective way of reducing it.
(a) Why is the title of Tamir's article on female genital cutting (FGC) misleading? (b) What would be a better
title for it? Explain. Tamir believes that the practice of FGC is similar to some American practices. (c) Pick one of
the American practices and answer the following questions: (d) In what relevant respects are FGC and the
American practice similar? Explain. (e) In what relevant respects are FGC and the American practice dissimilar?
a) It is misleading because it makes you think that she is going to be for clitoridectomy.
b) America's version of clitoridectomy.
c) Breast implants
d) The two practices are similar because they are both physical alteration to met each societies ideals.
e) they are dissimilar because breast augmentation is not permanent. Nor does it have the repercussions of FMG; extent of harm, loss of sexual capability. Additionally, in the case of breast augmentation you are dealing with social equilibrium, however, there is informed consent.
(a) What does it mean for a practice to be part of a social equilibrium? (b) Explain why it is reasonable to believe
that the current practice of female genital cutting (FGC) in many parts of Africa is part of a social equilibrium. (c)
Use the definition of a social equilibrium to explain why African mothers in communities that practice FGC would
voluntarily choose to have FGC performed on their daughters. (d) Use the definition of a social equilibrium to make
a moral argument that an individual mother in a community that practices FGC ought to choose to have FGC
performed on her daughter. (e) Explain how, even if one accepted that an individual mother ought to choose to have
FGC performed on her daughter, it would still be possible to make a moral criticism of the practice of FGC.
a) that a social practice in a community is part of a social equilibrium and that it makes sense for each individual to comply with the practice, given the expectation that all most all of the other member os the community will comply.
b) because if they do not they are in the minority, not considered ideal, and an outcast.
c) Because they want to put their child in the best position to succeed in life.
d) Because if she does not she will not because pure and will be an outcast.
e) the argument could be made that it is wrong, but the change unilaterally would not be better for the individual; everyone else would still be participating in the practice and the individual would still be discriminated against.
a) Use the example of Tostan to explain how changes in cultural norms can be Bottom-Up in two senses. (In
your answer you should explain the two senses of "Bottom-Up".)
MacKinnon says: "Atrocities committed against women are either too human to fit the notion of female or too
female to fit the notion of human." Consider the statement in two parts: (a) "Atrocities committed against women
are too human to fit the notion of female." Use an example to explain what this means. From a moral point of view,
is this a problem? Explain. (b) "Atrocities committed against women are too female to fit the notion of human."
Use an example to explain what this means. From a moral point of view, is this a problem? Explain.
Why does Rao think that domestic violence is a rights violation that does not fit well into standard theories of
(a) Explain Rawls's Original Position thought experiment. (Make sure you explain the 'veil of ignorance'.)
(b) What is the Intergalactic Original Position? (c) Explain why the choice in the Intergalactic Original Position
might be correctly described by Rao as made by a "denatured, dehistoricized, disembodied, disembedded, individual
self." (c) Is the Intergalactic Original Position thought experiment unfair to women's natured, historicized,
embodied, embedded selves? Explain.
(a) What is an individual right? (b) What is a robust group right? (c) John is a student in PHIL 338 who missed
the lecture on robust group rights. John thinks that rights against discrimination are robust group rights, because
such rights protect certain groups (e.g., Blacks, Latinos, women, gays, and lesbians). Explain why John's
understanding of robust group rights is mistaken. (d) George realizes that a right against discrimination is not a
robust group right, but he thinks that a right to affirmative action would be a robust group right. Explain why
George is mistaken. (e) Give an example of a right that would be a robust group right and explain why it would be.
[To answer this question, you don't have to endorse any robust group rights. You can simply explain the position of
someone who does believe that a particular right is a robust group right. ]
Do you believe that there should be a robust group right against genocide? Explain your answer in a way that
shows you understand what we mean by a "robust group right".
Do you think that robust group rights are sometimes necessary to promote equality? Explain.
Kymlicka distinguishes three categories of group rights: the good, the bad but not intolerable, and the
intolerable. (a) Explain his distinctions and give an example of each. (b) Explain why Kymlicka's three categories
of group rights do not require recognizing a robust group right to self-determination as a moral right In your answer,
make sure you explain what a robust group right of self-determination would be. (c) Do you endorse a robust group
right of self-determination? Explain.
a) Explain why it is reasonable to categorize Kymlicka as an epistemically modest but metaphysically
immodest advocate of human rights. In your answer, you must show you understand what "epistemically modest"
and "metaphysically immodest" mean. (b) Kymlicka advocates coercive intervention to prevent certain kinds of
human rights violations. Take one of Kymlicka’s examples and explain how Kymlicka can advocate coercive
intervention to stop it without being a moral imperialist. In your answer, you must show you understand what
"moral imperialist" means.
Article 2 of the UNUDHR says: "Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration,
without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or
social origin, property, birth, or other status." Is it reasonable to believe that there is such a broad moral right
against discrimination? Explain.
(a) In class we discussed the Santorum position on discrimination on the basis of sexual or gender expression.
According to Santorum, what is the important disanalogy between discrimination on the basis of sexual or gender
expression and discrimination on the basis of race, sex, or national origin? Explain. (b) Do you agree with
Santorum that the disanalogy justifies discrimination on the basis of sexual or gender expression? Explain.
(a) In Lawrence v. Texas, what kind of statutes did the U.S. Supreme Court declare to be unconstitutional?
(b) What is the rationale that we discussed for the Court’s decision in Lawrence v. Texas?
In Justice Scalia's dissent, he made a slippery slope argument in which he listed nine examples of laws that
would be overturned by the reasoning of the Court in Lawrence. (a) Pick one of his examples and explain why the
rationale of Lawrence v. Texas does not apply to it. (b) Pick one of his examples and explain why the rationale of
Lawrence v. Texas does apply to it.
Explain why act utilitarianism might justify laws prohibiting homosexual couples from socializing in public.
(b) Explain why J.S. Mill would disagree with the act utilitarian on this issue.
a) Locke gives three problems faced by individuals in a state of nature that he believes would lead them to
establish a government. What are they? Explain them. (b) What is the International State of Nature? (c) Which of
Locke's three problems is NOT faced by all parties in the International State of Nature? Explain. (d) How would an
International Criminal Court with global jurisdiction solve all three problems for human rights violations in the
International State of Nature?
What three kinds of crimes fall under the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court? Pick one of them and
explain why intervention to prevent it would not be paternalistic.
(a) If the International Criminal Court had existed during World War II and had had jurisdiction over the U.S.
military, would the fire bombing of Dresden and Tokyo or the dropping of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and
Nagasaki have been prosecutable as crimes? Explain. (Note that this is different from asking what the result of such
a trial would have been (i.e., whether the U.S. would have been found guilty or not), which would depend on a
thorough and careful consideration of the arguments on both sides, which we have not attempted to do in this
course.) (b) Suppose one or more of those bombings would have been prosecutable. In your opinion, is this a reason
that morally justifies the United States' refusal to ratify the ICC statute? Explain.
What is your position on the following question: From a moral point of view, should the United States ratify
the ICC statute? Explain.
Mayerfeld lists four ways that states might deal with the enforcement of human rights in the International
State of Nature. Interestingly, all four have actually been tried at one time or another. List all four and explain each
with an example. In your answer, explain why each example belongs in the category on Mayerfeld’s list in which
you place it.
(a) What are three of Burke's objections to the advocates of human rights? (b) Explain why Burke's objections
to the advocates of human rights are primarily objections to the Proof Paradigm.
(a) In what important way is Burke's political philosophy similar to J.S. Mill's? Explain. (b) What is the most
significant disagreement between Burke and J.S. Mill on human rights? Why do they disagree?
Why does Marx not endorse a civil right to freedom of religion?
(a) What are the four basic rights that Marx discusses (in addition to freedom of religion)? (b) Why does Marx
not endorse any of those four rights? Discuss each of the four rights individually.
(a) What makes Burke's political theory paternalistic? (b) What makes Marx's political theory paternalistic? In
your answers you must show that you understand what “paternalism” means [as used in this course].
(a) According to Rorty, what is the history of the development of human rights the history of? Explain. (b) If
Rorty is correct about that history, explain why it would be a mistake to think of it as a history of objective progress.
(c) In what sense of progress could Rorty claim that there is progress in the history of the development of human
(a) Are you a moral realist or moral anti-realist about human rights? Explain your position in a way that shows
that you understand the distinction between moral realism and moral anti-realism. (b) For moral realists: What are
the most persuasive reasons for being a moral anti-realist about human rights? For moral anti-realists: What are the
most persuasive reasons for being a moral realist about human rights? [NOTE THAT I AM ASKING FOR THE
MOST PERSUASIVE REASONS AGAINST YOUR POSITION.] (c) How would you respond to the reasons given
in your answer to part (b)?
Professor Talbott has suggested that the historical development of many but not all human rights can be
understood as representing a response to paternalism of some kind. For each right on the following list, say whether
its historical development can be understood as a response to some kind of paternalism and explain your answer:
(a) Right to life;
(b) Right not to be enslaved;
(c) Right to freedom of religion;
(d) Right to freedom of expression;
(e) End of colonialism and the rights of indigenous peoples;
(f) Rights against discrimination on the basis of race;
(g) Rights against discrimination on the basis of sex or gender;
(h) Right of adults to engage in voluntary sexual acts in private;
(i) Rights against discrimination on the basis of sexual or gender expression;
(j) Right to use contraceptives;
(k) Right to assisted suicide in some circumstances;
If the history of the development of human rights is a history of discovering and overcoming moral blindspots,
we can expect that two hundred years from now our descendents will be shocked at some things that most of us now
take for granted and do not feel to be morally urgent. For example, two hundred years ago, many advocates of
human rights owned slaves and most of them opposed equal rights for women. What practice or state of affairs that
most people now take for granted and do not feel to be morally urgent do you expect our descendents to be most
shocked by? Explain.
g) top-down vs. bottom-up moral reasoning
(h) top-down vs. bottom-up social processes of moral transformation