Answer any 4 of the following questions (do not answer more than 4 questions). Each answer should be half a single-spaced page in length (or a full double-spaced page in length). Each answer is worth 5 marks, for a maximum total of 20 marks.
1. Thoroughly explain which if any of the varieties of evil considered in the course thus far (demonic, instrumental, idealistic, banal) is/are exemplified in the following proposed response to the COVID-19 pandemic: “We should remove all restrictions and safety measures currently in place for the prevention of the spread of COVID-19, to allow for maximum spread. In this way, we will achieve herd immunity in relation to the SARS-CoV-2 virus. This will no doubt result in many deaths across older and unhealthy human beings, which is not a good thing, but the health and economic benefits for the larger global community outweigh the costs.”
Next, identify the reasons presented in the following by the WHO director general and Dr. Fauci for why proposals of the aforementioned sort are wrong: https://www.cnbc.com/2020/10/15/dr-fauci-says-letting-the-coronavirus-spread-to-achieve-herd-immunity-is-nonsense-and-dangerous.html and https://www.who.int/dg/speeches/detail/who-director-general-s-opening-remarks-at-the-media-briefing-on-covid-19—12-october-2020.
2. Consider the following scenario: Sam drives a delivery truck that transports product X from production plant A to production plant B. Sam doesn’t know what product X is, how it is produced, what it is used to further produce, or what the final product of the whole operation is used for. Furthermore, Sam never bothers to look into any of these things. Sam’s only concern is doing a good job.
Thoroughly explain which if any of the varieties of evil considered in the course thus far (demonic, instrumental, idealists, banal) is/are exemplified in this scenario if product X is produced through slave labour at production plant A, and is part of a weapon produced at production plant B. When the weapon is completed, it is transported to location C and used for mass murder.
Next, if the scenario is changed and product X is produced by fairly treated and well-compensated employees at production plant A, and is a part of a zero-emissions energy machine produced at plant B, then is there nothing wrong with Sam’s approach to his work? Explain.
3. Imagine three people are participating as “teachers” in a version of the Milgram experiment. All three of them follow the orders of the experimenter all the way, administering 450 volts to the “learner,” but each one does so for a different reason. The first person is instrumentally evil in a selfish way, the second is instrumentally evil in a “this is evil but necessary” way, and the third exemplifies banal evil. Imagine and write down an inner monologue for each of the three test subjects as they participate in the experiment. In other words, describe what might be going on in each of the three test subjects heads during the experiment.
4. Thoroughly explain why Socrates/Plato thinks that the just person is the happiest, most prosperous person of all, even if they are suffering injustices up to and including death. Do you agree the Socrates/Plato on this matter? Explain your answer either way.
5. According to social psychologist Philip Zimbardo, why is it important to have examples of typical human beings – rather than saintly types or fictional superheroes – behaving in morally heroic ways? (Your answer to this first question must include a discussion of Zimbardo’s idea of the banality of heroism as the flipside of Hannah Arendt’s idea of the banality of evil.) Do you agree with Zimbardo’s social psychology of moral heroism? (Explain your answer to this question either way.)
6. Come up with a real or a hypothetical example of what sociologist Zygmunt Bauman calls a “functional division of labour.” Next, explain how such a division of labour facilitates the voluntary participation of typical human beings (beings who are not ideologically motivated, greedy, sadistic, diabolical, or pathologically harmful) in extraordinarily evil operations.
7. What kind of response to the COVID-19 pandemic do you think Callicles from Plato’s Gorgias would support? Thoroughly explain your answer.
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