Write a good ethical theory midterm..

So, I’m almost done grading the midterms and I have some feedback..

First of all, most of you did very well.  By that I mean:

  • You answered all parts of the question.
  • You used appropriate and sufficiently detailed examples.
  • You showed me that you had done some synthesis of the materials.
  • Your exam included citations as appropriate.
  • Your grammar, spelling, and punctuation were sufficient.

Some of you didn’t do so well, because you missed one or more of the above points.

A couple of things to think about —

1) I made kind of a big deal on the blog, in my reading notes and in person about Mill (not “Mills”) advocating that the good is the thing that produces the greatest overall good, all persons considered — and how that is NOT the same as “the greatest good for the greatest number of people”.  If you doubt me, go take a look.  If you got the Mill question and answered “yes” you probably didn’t get a particularly good grade.

2) A couple of you were quite unclear as to the meaning of some of the terms in the question.  For example, the “mean” in Aristotle is not the same thing as when Kant says you are not permitted to use persons as a mere “means”.  Also, Aristotle was talking about whether or not persons could be “virtuous” not “victorious” — they can be the same thing, but not necessarily so — a virtuous person is trying to be morally good — a “victorious” person wins at something and there isn’t a connection to their moral status.

Overall, y’all did a good job — YEA!

FYI — generally your grades mean the following:

90+  good, complete answer with nice analysis and original thinking

80-89 — complete answer, perhaps with examples used in the book — you could have pushed yourself a bit further

70-79 — you made a basic error, but assuming your error wasn’t an error your answer was minimally decent.

69 and below — your answer was insufficient, quite wrong or otherwise not worthy of getting an average grade.


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