U  T Dallas   POEC 6329: Ethics, Culture, and Public Policy

Midterm Examination, Fall 2016

Murray J Leaf


            Essay questions.  Write double spaced or space and half.   Give page citations for quotations.  Simple parenthetical references giving author’s name and page are fine. For the Analects you can use the statement numbers.  Include a bibliography if you refer to any works not assigned and discussed in class.

            Answer all questions in your own words (and of course on the basis of your own thinking).  Material taken from other sources and inserted without proper citation will be treated as plagiarism.  Total length is not fixed, but should run between 6 and 8 pages apart from any bibliography. These are not firm limits. You can write more, but if you write less you are probably not saying enough to make your understanding clear. 

            Number your answers to correspond to the questions. Answer the questions in order. Also number your pages.  Submit the answers on disk or by email as well as on paper. Email is best. Include your last name in the file name, as in StudentnameEthicsMidterm.  The paper copy is due in class 8 Nov 2016.

             The weights of the questions are indicated by the percentages in parentheses. I have tried to make these fit the amount of time I think each will take.


1.     What is the relationship between Confucius’ concept of propriety and his concept of reciprocity? 10%


2.     Explain why the Athenian jury could not logically (rationally) accept Socrates’ arguments as described in the Apology. 15%


3.     Legalism (Lao Tzu), Socrates, and Thomas Aquinas all present an authoritarian view of morality and ethics. All three connect their view of the source of moral authority to a view of government.  In which ways are these views different and/or similar?  15%


4.     According to Adam Smith, what is the relationship between moral sentiments at the individual level and conceptions of morality at the societal level and what corrupts our sense of morality? 15%


5.     Kant’s theory of morality in the “Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals” is based on rationality while Mill’s “Utilitarianism” is a theory based on the idea of increasing overall happiness. How does each theory determine morality? Compare and contrast the two theories. 15%


6.     The following phrases are important in Kant’s Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals.  Briefly and in your own words, explain what Kant means by each. (30 %)


A.    a law valid for all rational beings

B.    a good will

C.    the maxim of an act_

D.    a hypothetical imperative

F.    the categorical imperative

E.    acting out of reverence for the law

F.   treating people as an end in themselves.

G.   the kingdom of ends_