This assignment consists of a single short essay question. The main intent of this question is to ensure that you have a sound grasp of the fundamentals of the material presented in this unit. I’m not so concerned with whether you agree with a particular author or not. The quality of your answer is based on your exposition of the competing positions, your comparative analysis of those positions, and, lastly, your argument in support of the position you defend.
the short essay question is not designed to be a “research” question. There is no requirement to get material from external sources such as other authors, or reference websites, who have summarized or criticized, the authors you are dealing with. In effect, including such material defeats your purpose in completing your essay because you are essentially telling me what some other person thought about the material you should be explaining and assessing. If you make reference to sources external to the course readings it will be detrimental to your mark. In some cases, I may ask you to re-work and submit your assignment. The point of your essay is to formulate the course material and develop your critical response. You can do this by working with the course material and developing your own ideas about the issue. The essay is simply your opportunity to set that out in paper.

Short Essay Question: (100 marks)
Making reference to our course readings, provide a concise formulation of Utilitarianism. In particular, explain the distinction between Bentham’s and Mill’s formulations of it.

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Making reference to the course readings, provide a concise formulation of Kant’s deontological ethics. In particular, explain the role of the Categorical Imperative in Kantian ethics.

In light of the criticisms offered of both accounts from the course readings, which account is more plausible? Provide an argument in support of your conclusion.


Assigned reading
The assigned readings should be read in the following order:
Teleological Theories – Ethical Egoism
1. Plato, excerpts from Republic, Book II.
2. Rand, Ayn. 1964. Excerpts from The virtue of selfishness, 16-17, 31-34. New York: The New American Library.
Available in your readings package
3. Medlin, Brian. 1957. Ultimate principles and ethical egoism. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 35: 111-118.
Available in your readings package
Teleological Theories – Utilitarianism
4. Bentham, Jeremy. 1894. The collected works of Jeremy Bentham: An introduction to the principles of morals and legislation, ed. J. H. Burns, 11-16, 38-41. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
Available in your readings package
5. John Stuart Mill. What utilitarianism is, Chapter 2, from Utilitarianism.
6. Williams, Bernard. 1973. A critique of utilitarianism. In Utilitarianism: For and against, ed. J. J. C. Smart and Bernard Williams, 77-118. London: Cambridge University Press. Listed under Unit 4 reading in course site.
Deontological Theories – Kantian Ethics
7. Immanuel Kant, excerpts from Foundations of the metaphysics of morals.
8. Taylor, Richard. 1984. Kantian morality. In Good and evil: A new direction, 102-115. Buffalo, NY: Prometheus Books.
Available in your readings package
9. Rachels, James. 1998. Introduction. In Ethical Theory I: The question of objectivity, ed. James Rachels, 1-18. Oxford: Oxford University Press.



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