Ethics and critical thinking

1) Ethics
Suppose that you tell me something very private and embarrassing in confidence. Now suppose that I’m at a New Year’s party and want to be the life of the party, so I tell everybody your secret, causing you great pain.
Evaluate my actions according to
(1) Kant / Deontology and
(2) Utilitarianism.
* Make sure you state for each theory (i) whether the action is wrong and (ii) if so why it is wrong. If the theory is ambiguous or if the answer depends on other factors, make sure you carefully explain what those factors are.
** Make sure you explain what each of these theories means and why it supports your claim.
Source: James Rachels, Elements of Moral Philosophy, chapters 7-10 (available on Blackboard)
Note: I expect this answer to display a sophisticated understanding of what these moral theories are. An answer that relies on an instinctive reaction as to whether this is morally acceptable is not an acceptably sophisticated response. The Rachels textbook is a source you should refer to.

2) External Influences on Reasoning:
The Stanford Prison Experiment:
Phil Zimbardo’s Stanford Prison Experiment (SPE) is one of the most famous studies in social psychology. In this study, young men were put into a prison simulation, randomly assigned to the role of prisoners or guards. What happened over the course of the experiment ignited controversy and raised important questions about the power of the situation to shape our behaviors.
• Watch the documentary describing the research:
• Read about the study on the official website:

Your Assignment:
Choose two of the external factors that affect reasoning that you believe can help explain the events of the SPE. Choose two from the following list:
• Conformity (including normative or informational conformity)
• Obedience
• Cialdini’s principles of persuasion (do not need to use all 7 in your essay)
• Group biases
• Cognitive dissonance
• Confirmation bias
• Fundamental attribution error
For each of the two external factors you select, you must:
• Describe the relevant external factor, and if applicable, research evidence supporting it. Summarize the information in your own words – Do not quote the Powerpoint slides.
• Describe the specific element or elements of the SPE that you wish to discuss. It could be a specific aspect of the experiment’s procedure or an event that occurred during the course of the study. You may consider the actions not only of the prisoners and guards, but also of others involved in the study (e.g., the volunteers’ families who visited, the researchers themselves). Do not provide too much detail in summarizing the events of the SPE – You can assume your reader is familiar with the SPE, so just provide enough information to orient your reader.
• Describe how the external factor you have identified can aid in understanding the event(s) above. Make sure to explain why this external factor is useful in understanding this event.
Note: Make sure your discussion of the above uses a sophisticated understanding of this concept, i.e. don’t just use the common understanding of a concept that you or layman would have without learning the material in this class. For example, if you discuss bias, don’t just refer to some prejudice or stubbornness as a ‘bias’. If you discuss conformity, don’t just say that the person conformed or went along with a group


























































Sample Solution