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Is the rightness of an action determined by its consequences

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Is the rightness of an action determined by its consequences  [#permalink]

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New post Updated on: 25 Nov 2019, 09:32
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New Project RC Butler 2019 - Practice 2 RC Passages Everyday
Passage # 471, Date: 23-Nov-2019
This post is a part of New Project RC Butler 2019. Click here for Details


Is the rightness of an action determined by its consequences, or by the intentions of the agent behind the action? Deontological ethics, in contrast to teleological or utilitarian ethics, asserts the latter. For example, Immanuel Kant argued that the only absolutely good thing is a good will, and thus that the only means of determining the rightness of an action is the motive of the person performing that action. Thus, if a person is acting on a bad maxim (“Stealing is good”), then the action is wrong, even if it produces some good consequences (e.g., stealing from the rich and giving to the poor). However, not all deontologists are absolutists: W.D. Ross, for instance, holds that lying is sometimes the right thing to do if the results of the action are likely to be beneficial.

A criticism levied by Jeremy Bentham, a utilitarian philosopher, is that deontological ethics were merely a dressed-up version of popular morality, wherein the ostensible “universal laws” were actually merely subjective opinion. A separate critique of deontology comes from aretaic theories, which hold that it is not the good will of the agent nor the consequences of the action that determine the moral rightness of that action— rather it is the character of the person performing the action. This is by no means a new idea: the ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle is considered the founder of virtue ethics, which seeks to describe the traits of an ideally virtuous person, and then posit that we should act in accordance with those traits.

Spoiler: :: OA
C

1. Which of the following best describes the function of the first paragraph?

(A) It poses a question to be answered.
(B) It outlines a process and contrasts it with an opposing process.
(C) In introduces a theory and indicates that variations in that theory exist.
(D) It advances an argument to be disputed later in the passage.
(E) It introduces a philosophy and attempts to reconcile it with another philosophy.


Spoiler: :: OA
B

2. Which of the following can be inferred about teleological theories of ethics?

(A) Unlike utilitarian theories, they are in opposition to the main idea of deontological ethics.
(B) Like utilitarian theories, they are in opposition to the main idea of deontological ethics.
(C) Unlike deontological theories, they are in opposition to the main idea of virtue ethics.
(D) Like deontological theories, they are in opposition to the main idea of utilitarian ethics.
(E) Unlike deontological theories, they are widely taught in philosophy programs.


Spoiler: :: OA
A

3. According to the passage, virtue ethics:

(A) suggests that individuals should behave like a person w hose character matches an ideal
(B) purports that those acting on a bad maxim can still be morally correct
(C) has been more influential in society than deontological ethics
(D) is more widespread in modern-day Greece than elsewhere
(E) contrasts with teleological ethics in its view of the human will


Originally posted by omkartadsare on 25 Nov 2019, 06:58.
Last edited by SajjadAhmad on 25 Nov 2019, 09:32, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Is the rightness of an action determined by its consequences  [#permalink]

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New post 23 Dec 2019, 20:30
I marked D for the 1st question. Could you explain how C is correct?

SajjadAhmad wrote:
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Re: Is the rightness of an action determined by its consequences  [#permalink]

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New post 23 Dec 2019, 23:37
#2.....

in reading this line ....... "Deontological ethics, in contrast to teleological or utilitarian ethics, asserts the latter." i made the mistake of reading teleological or utilitarian ethics to mean that teleological was the same thing as universal ethics.

How could i have avoided this?
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Re: Is the rightness of an action determined by its consequences  [#permalink]

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New post 24 Dec 2019, 08:52
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AA01 wrote:
I marked D for the 1st question. Could you explain how C is correct?

SajjadAhmad wrote:
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Official Explanation


1. Which of the following best describes the function of the first paragraph?

Difficulty Level: 700

Explanation

(A) Answer choice (A) is attractive— the first sentence of the passage is, indeed, a question! However, answer choice (A) is a trap. You have to have read (or at least scanned) the rest of the passage to know that the question “Is the rightness of an action determined by its consequences, or by the intentions of the agent behind the action?” is never answered. The author simply describes philosophers’ views on the topic (the author does not take a side). Also, the point of the paragraph is not to ask the question. The question is just a small introduction to explaining deontological ethics.

(B) Answer choice (B) refers to a “process.” What process? Two (or more) ethical theories are being talked about.

(C) The first paragraph does “introduce a theory” (the theory of deontological ethics). Does the paragraph “indicate that variations in that theory exist”? Look at your chart— Kant is an absolutist, and W. D. Ross is not. Choice (C) is correct. Note that if you had not made a chart, you might think that Kant and W. D. Ross were on totally opposite sides, so it might have been very difficult to realize that their ideas are really “variations” on the same idea.

(D) Choice (D) says that the passage “advances an argument.” This implies that the author is actually advocating a position (to “advance” is to argue for). The author is simply describing philosophers’ views, not arguing in favor of anything.

(E) “Introduces a philosophy” sounds okay, but the author does not “reconcile” deontology with another philosophy (to “reconcile” two ideas would be to show that the ideas are compatible with one another). You can see from your chart that the contrast remains throughout the passage.

The answer is (C).


Hope it helps
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Re: Is the rightness of an action determined by its consequences  [#permalink]

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New post 24 Dec 2019, 21:41
Can someone please help me with question 3? Why is option E wrong?

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Re: Is the rightness of an action determined by its consequences  [#permalink]

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New post 25 Dec 2019, 11:10
MeghnaIjjapureddy wrote:
Can someone please help me with question 3? Why is option E wrong?

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Hello MeghnaIjjapureddy

You only know similarities between virtue ethics and teleological theories; you weren’t told of any differences. That is why E is wrong.
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Re: Is the rightness of an action determined by its consequences   [#permalink] 25 Dec 2019, 11:10

Is the rightness of an action determined by its consequences

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