Please submit your essay as a Word file here. Your essay should be between 1,000 and 1,500 words including references. Please select ONE of the following prompts and answer it completely:
PROMPT A: Its 2 AM and youre in your dorm chatting with your s/o on the phone about your plans for next year when your roommate comes in, laughing. They tell you that you really missed out again by not going with them to the unmasked, indoor party in town. This isnt the first or fourth time that your roommate has flouted social distancing requirements. You also suspect that they purchased a phony vaccine card based on a conversation you overheard them having last week, but you cant prove it, so you try to put it out of your mind. Maybe youre being uncharitable, you tell yourself, since youve come to dislike this roommate. The last time this happened, you had to delay your trip home to see your parents for fear that your roommate had exposed you to the Delta variant. This time sends you over the edge (its the middle of the Spring semester and youve been trapped by both snow and the pandemic and unable to see your immunocompromised family, so your patience is a little thin). You hang up with your s/o and tell your roommatewho is now causally brushing their teeththat they are being selfish and that they need to consider how their actions affect others. You explain that we have duties to other people, which include doing our small part not to transmit a deadly virus, etc. How can they be a biomed major, understand the impacts of COVID, and yet continue to act as if its not a big deal, you ask. They scoff, tell you that you dont need to lecture them about how serious COVID can be and that they were worried back when they were a freshman and before vaccines, but that theyre vaccinated now, they feel safe, and they are over it. They suggest that you try being over it as well. They tell you that people are free to make their own choices about whether to mask, to vaccinate, to distance, and so on, and that it isnt up to others to judge. You get the impression that they think that morality is subjectivethat each of us has our own moral truth and thats all there is to it. This reminds you of something you read about in a philosophy class once and you decide to explain to your roommatewho is now sobering upwhy morality isnt subjective. What do you say?
PROMPT B: Drawing on what we have learned in this class, answer the following question: Do we have a moral obligation to stay reasonably informed about the world around us? If so, what might this obligation consist in: us? What moral principles might it be based on (e.g., a duty to prevent harm, a duty to aid, a duty to care, etc.)? What might it require of us (e.g., to identify trustworthy sources? to seek out reliable information? to learn about and participate in the political process? to learn from the lives experiences of members marginalized groups? etc., etc.). Be sure to define your terms and support your answers with both normative and, where appropriate, empirical reasons. Be sure to support your answers with both normative and, where necessary, empirical reasons.
PROMPT C: What are two of the strongest objections to normative cultural relativism (NCR) and how might a defender of NCR respond to these objections? Does NCR survive these objections? Why/why not? Be sure to define your terms.
PROMPT D: Both cultural relativism and subjective relativism seem to respect a diversity of opinions and, thus, to lead to tolerance. However, since tolerance is a moral value and because relativism rejects the idea of universal moral values, neither subjective relativism nor cultural relativism can endorse the universal practice of tolerance. But is tolerance something we should strive for either as individuals or collectively? If so, under what circumstances? Is intolerance of others beliefs or actions ever permitted or even required, and, if so, on what grounds?