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 preferences. 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 the other. b) could result in the derivation of two radically different moral principles. c) would be contingent on the two groups sharing the same fundamental beliefs. 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 ethical philosophy. 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 group. 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 philosophical approach. 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 first-principle philosophy. d) It is designed to dismiss objections to the "simple principle." 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 schools. 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.4 11201
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 superior. 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 the stimulus. 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 members. 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 behaviorists. 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 in cats 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 behaviorists. c) providing a general overview of aggressive behavior in animals. d) illustrating various manifestations of agonistic behavior among mammals1 10236
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