If one always ought to act so as to produce the best
possible circumstances, then morality is extremely
demanding. No one could plausibly claim to have met the
requirements of this "simple principle." . . . It would seem
strange to punish those intending to do good by sentencing
them to an impossible task. Also, if the standards of right
conduct are as extreme as they seem, then they will preclude
the personal projects that humans find most fulfilling.
From an analytic perspective, the potential extreme demands
of morality are not a "problem." A theory of morality is no
less valid simply because it asks great sacrifices. In fact,
it is difficult to imagine what kind of constraints could be
put on our ethical projects. Shouldn't we reflect on our
base prejudices, and not allow them to provide boundaries
for our moral reasoning? Thus, it is tempting to simply
dismiss the objections to the simple principle. However, in
Demands of Morality, Liam Murphy takes these objections
seriously for at least two distinct reasons.
First, discussion of the simple principle provides an
excellent vehicle for a discussion of morality in general.
Perhaps, in a way, this is Murphy's attempt at doing
philosophy "from the inside out.". . . Second, Murphy's
starting point tells us about the nature of his project.
Murphy must take seriously the collisions between moral
philosophy and our intuitive sense of right and wrong. He
[must do so] because his work is best interpreted as
intended to forge moral principles from our firm beliefs,
and not to proscribe beliefs given a set of moral principles.
[Murphy] argues from our considered judgments rather than to
them. . . For example, Murphy cites our "simple but firmly
held" beliefs as supporting the potency of the
over-demandingness objection, and nowhere in the work can
one find a source of moral values divorced from human
Murphy does not tell us what set of "firm beliefs" we ought
to have. Rather, he speaks to an audience of
well-intentioned but unorganized moral realists, and tries
to give them principles that represent their considered
moral judgments. Murphy starts with this base sense of right
and wrong, but recognizes that it needs to be supplemented
by reason where our intuitions are confused or conflicting.
Perhaps Murphy is looking for the best interpretation of our
convictions, the same way certain legal scholars try to find
the best interpretation of our Constitution.
This approach has disadvantages. Primarily, Murphy's
arguments, even if successful, do not provide the kind of
motivating force for which moral philosophy has
traditionally searched. His work assumes and argues in terms
of an inner sense of morality, and his project seeks to
deepen that sense. Of course, it is quite possible that the
moral viewpoints of humans will not converge, and some
humans have no moral sense at all. Thus, it is very easy for
the moral skeptic to point out a lack of justification and
ignore the entire work.
On the other hand, Murphy's choice of a starting point
avoids many of the problems of moral philosophy. Justifying
the content of moral principles and granting a motivating
force to those principles is an extraordinary task. It would
be unrealistic to expect all discussions of moral philosophy
to derive such justifications. Projects that attempt such a
derivation have value, but they are hard pressed to produce
logical consequences for everyday life. In the end, Murphy's
strategy may have more practical effect than its
first-principle counterparts, which do not seem any more
likely to convince those that would reject Murphy's premises.
1) The author suggests that the application of Murphy's
philosophy to the situations of two different groups:
a) would help to solve the problems of one group but not of
b) could result in the derivation of two radically different
c) would be contingent on the two groups sharing the same
d) could reconcile any differences between the two groups.
2) Suppose an individual who firmly believes in keeping
promises has promised to return a weapon to a person she
knows to be extremely dangerous. According to Murphy, which
of the following, if true, would WEAKEN the notion that she
should return the weapon?
a) She also firmly believes that it is morally wrong to
assist in any way in a potentially violent act.
b) She believes herself to be well-intentioned in matters of
right and wrong.
c) The belief that one should keep promises is shared by
most members of her community.
d) She derived her moral beliefs from first-principle
3) The passage implies that a moral principle derived from
applying Murphy's philosophy to a particular group would be
applicable to another group if:
a) the first group recommended the principle to the second
b) the moral viewpoints of the two groups do not converge.
c) the members of the second group have no firmly held beliefs.
d) the second group shares the same fundamental beliefs as
the first group.
4) According to the passage, the existence of individuals
who entirely lack a moral sense:
a) confirms the notion that moral principles should be
derived from the considered judgments of individuals.
b) suggests a potential disadvantage of Murphy's
c) supports Murphy's belief that reason is necessary in
cases in which intuitions are conflicting or confused.
d) proves that first-principle strategies of ethical
theorizing will have no more influence over the behavior of
individuals than will Murphy's philosophical approach.
5) Which of the following can be inferred about "doing
philosophy from the inside out?"
a) Murphy was the first philosopher to employ such an approach.
b) It allows no place for rational argument in the formation
of ethical principles.
c) It is fundamentally different from the practice of
d) It is designed to dismiss objections to the "simple
6) A school board is debating whether or not to institute a
dress code for the school's students. According to Murphy,
the best way to come to an ethical decision would be to:
a) consult the fundamental beliefs of the board members.
b) analyze the results of dress codes instituted at other
c) survey the students as to whether or not they would
prefer a dress code.
d) determine whether or note a dress code has ever been
instituted in the school's history.
Agonistic behavior, or aggression, is exhibited by most of
the more than three million species of animals on this
planet. Animal behaviorists still disagree on a
comprehensive definition of the term, hut aggressive
behavior can be loosely described as any action that harms
an adversary or compels it to retreat. Aggression may serve
many purposes, such as Food gathering, establishing
territory, and enforcing social hierarchy. In a general
Darwinian sense, however, the purpose of aggressive behavior
is to increase the individual animal’s—and thus, the
species’—chance of survival.
Aggressive behavior may he directed at animals of other
species, or it may be conspecific—that is, directed at
members of an animal’s own species. One of the most common
examples of conspecific aggression occurs in the
establishment and maintenance of social hierarchies. In a
hierarchy, social dominance is usually established according
to physical superiority; the classic example is that of a
pecking order among domestic fowl. The dominance hierarchy
may be viewed as a means of social control that reduces the
incidence of attack within a group. Once established, the
hierarchy is rarely threatened by disputes because the
inferior animal immediately submits when confronted by a
Two basic types of aggressive behavior are common to most
species: attack and defensive threat. Each type involves a
particular pattern of physiological and behavioral
responses, which tends not to vary regardless of the
stimulus that provokes it. For example, the pattern of
attack behavior in cats involves a series of movements, such
as stalking, biting, seizing with the forepaws and
scratching with tile hind legs, that changes very little
regardless of the stimulus—that is, regardless of who or
what the cat is attacking.
The cat’s defensive threat response offers another set of
closely linked physiological and behavioral patterns. The
cardiovascular system begins to pump blood at a faster rate,
in preparation for sudden physical activity. The eves narrow
and the ears flatten against the side of the cat’s head for
protection, and other vulnerable areas of the body such as
the stomach and throat are similarly contracted. Growling or
hissing noises and erect fur also signal defensive threat.
As with the attack response, this pattern of responses is
generated with little variation regardless of the nature of
Are these aggressive patterns of attack and defensive threat
innate, genetically programmed, or are they learned? The
answer seems to be a combination of both. A mouse is
helpless at birth, but by its l2th day of life can assume a
defensive threat position by backing up on its hind legs. By
the time it is one month old, the mouse begins to exhibit
the attack response. Nonetheless, copious evidence suggests
that animals learn and practice aggressive behavior; one
need look no further than the sight of a kitten playing with
a ball of string. All the elements of attack—stalking,
pouncing, biting, and shaking—are part of the game that
prepares the kitten for more serious situations later in life.
7) The passage asserts that animal social hierarchies are
generally stable because:
a) the behavior responses of the group are known by all its
b) the defensive threat posture quickly stops most conflicts.
c) inferior animals usually defer to their physical superior.
d) the need for mutual protection from other species
inhibits conspecific aggression.
8) According to the author, what is the most significant
physiological change undergone by a cat assuming the
defensive threat position?
a) An increase in cardiovascular activity
b) A sudden narrowing of the eyes
c) A contraction of the abdominal muscles
d) The author does not say which change is most significant
9) Based on the information in the passage about agonistic
behavior, it is reasonable to conclude that:
I. the purpose of agonistic behavior is to help ensure the
survival of the species.
II. agonistic behavior is both innate and learned.
III. conspecific aggression is more frequent than i aggression.
a) I only
b) II only
c) I and II only
d) I,II and III only
10) Which of the following would be most in accord with the
information presented in the passage?
a) The aggressive behavior of sharks is closely inked to
their need to remain in constant motion.
b) fine inability of newborn mice to exhibit the attack
response proves that aggressive behavior must be learned.
c) Most animal species that do riot exhibit aggressive
behavior are prevented from doing so by environmental factors.
d) Members of a certain species of hawk use the same method
to prey on both squirrels and gophers.
11) The author suggests that the question of whether
agonistic behavior is genetically programmed or learned:
a) still generates considerable controversy among animal
b) was first investigated through experiments on mice.
c) is outdated since most scientists now believe the genetic
element to be most important.
d) has been the subject of extensive clinical study.
12) Which of the following topics related to agonistic
behavior is NOT explicitly addressed in the passage?
a) The physiological changes that accompany attack behavior
b) The evolutionary purpose of aggression
c) Conspecific aggression that occurs in dominance hierarchies
d) The relationship between play and aggression
13) The author of this passage is primarily concerned with:
a) analyzing the differences between attack behavior and
defensive threat behavior.
b) introducing a subject currently debated among animal
c) providing a general overview of aggressive behavior in
d) illustrating various manifestations of agonistic behavior
The rich analysts of Fernand Braudel arid his fellow Annales
historians have made significant contributions to historical
theory and research. In a departure from traditional
historical approaches, the Annales historians assume (as do
Marxists) that history cannot be limited to a simple
recounting of conscious human actions, but must be
understood in the context of forces and material conditions
that underlie human behavior. Braudel was the first Annales
historian to gain widespread support for the idea that
history should synthesize data from various social sciences,
especially economics, in order to provide a broader view of
human societies over time (although Febvre and Bloch,
founders of the Annales school, had originated this approach).
Braudel conceived of history as the dynamic interaction of
three temporalities. The first of these, the evenmentielle,
involved short-lived dramatic events such as battles,
revolutions, and the actions of great men, which had
preoccupied traditional historians like Carlyle.
Conjonctures was Braudel’s term for larger cyclical
processes that might last up to half a century. The longue
duree, a historical wave of great length, was for Braudel
the most fascinating of the three temporalities. Here he
focused on those aspects of everyday life that might remain
relatively unchanged for centuries. What people ate, what
they wore, their means and routes of travel—for Braudel
these things create “structures’ that define the limits of
potential social change for hundreds of years at a time.
Braudel’s concept of the longue duree extended the
perspective of historical space as well as time. Until the
Annales school, historians had taken the juridical political
unit—the nation-state, duchy, or whatever—as their starting
point. Yet, when such enormous timespans are considered,
geographical features may well have more significance for
human populations than national borders, In his doctoral
thesis, a seminal work on the Mediterranean during the reign
of Philip II, Braudel treated the geohistory of the entire
region as a “structure” that had exerted myriad influences
on human lifeways since the first settlements on the shores
of the Mediterranean Sea. And so the reader is given such
arcane information as the list of products that came to
Spanish shores from North Africa, the seasonal routes
followed by Mediterranean sheep and their shepherds, and the
cities where the best ship timber could be bought.
Braudel has been faulted for the imprecision of his
approach. With his Rabelaisian delight in concrete detail,
Braudel vastly extended the realm of relevant phenomena but
this very achievement made it difficult to delimit the
boundaries of observation, a task necessary to beginning any
social investigation. Further, Braudel and other Annales
historians minimize the differences among the social
sciences. Nevertheless, the many similarly designed studies
aimed at both professional and popular audiences indicate
that Braudel asked significant questions that traditional
historians had overlooked.
14) The primary purpose of the passage is to:
a) show how Braudel’s work changed the conception of
Mediterranean life held by previous historians.
b) evaluate Braudel’s criticisms of traditional and Marxist
c) contrast the perspective of the longue duree with the
actions of major historical figures
d) outline some of Braudel’s influential conceptions and
distinguish them from conventional approaches.
15) The author refers to the work of Febvre and Bloch in
a) illustrate the limitations of the Annale tradition of
b) suggest the relevance of economics to historical
c) debate the need for combining various sociological
d) show that previous Annales historians anticipated
Braudel’s focus on economics.
16) According to the passage, all of the following are
aspects of Braudel’s approach to history EXCEPT that he:
a) attempted to draw on various social sciences.
b) studied social and economic activities that occurred
across national boundaries.
c) pointed out the link between increased economic activity
and the rise of nationalism.
d) examined seemingly unexciting aspects of everyday life.
17) In the third paragraph, the author is primarily
concerned with discussing:
a) Braudel’s fascination with obscure facts.
b) Braudel’s depiction of the role of geography in human
c) the geography of the Mediterranean region.
d) the irrelevance of national borders.
18) The passage suggests that, compared with traditional
historians, Annales/i> historians are:
a) more interested in other social sciences than in history.
b) critical of the achievements of famous historical figures.
c) skeptical of the validity of most economic research.
d) more interested in the underlying context of human behavior.
19) Which of the Following statements would be most likely
to follow the last sentence of the passage?
a) Few such studies however, have been written by trained
b) It is time, perhaps, for a revival of the Carlylean
emphasis on personalities.
c) Many historians believe that Braudel’s conception of
three distinct “temporalities” is an oversimplification.
d) Such diverse works as Gascon’s study of Lyon and Barbara
Tuchman’s A Distant Mirror testify to his relevance.
20) The author is critical of Braudel’s perspective for
which of the Following reasons
a) It seeks structures that underlie all forms of social
b) It assumes a greater similarity among the social sciences
than actually exists.
c) It fails to consider the relationship between short-term
events and long-term social activity.
d) It rigidly defines boundaries for social analysis.
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