1) Divine Command Theory says that an act is morally right if and only if God decrees it is morally right, and wrong if God decrees it is morally wrong. After spelling out this theory of where morality comes from, discuss the objection that it seems to make morality arbitrary (why does it seem to do this, how does the alleged arbitrariness come about?). Then either defend Divine Command Theory from this objection in some way, or, alternatively, entertain a possible defense of DCT from this objection, and then show that this defense does not succeed.
2) In the original popular science fiction movie “The Matrix”, most humans live utterly deluded lives, where the virtual “reality” they experience is quite different from their actual condition. The heroes of the movie fight to free humans from their illusory existence. However, if they succeed, all of these people will experience much more difficult lives. While plugged into the Matrix, people are relatively happy, experiencing minimal physical or psychological suffering, though they are systematically deceived. But once removed from the Matrix, given the desperate nature of the actual world, they will live lives filled with much more pain, hunger, fear, and a constant struggle to survive . . . So, first carefully but briefly explain John Stuart Mill’s Utilitarianism (what it claims, how Mill supports it, what the key notions are, etc.). After spelling out Mill’s doctrine, consider an objection that is based upon these points about “The Matrix”. That is, explain how the above considerations seem to pose a problem for Mill’s doctrine, since what Mill’s theory seems to say that freeing people from the Matrix is fundamentally wrong. Do not simply explain the movie – explain only the challenge it poses to utilitarianism by suggesting the morally right thing to do is not maximize happiness. Then, discuss a possible defense of Mill’s theory based on Mill’s own strategy of introducing a quality dimension to pleasure. Either show how this defense either successfully answers this Matrix-style criticism, or instead show it fails and/or leads to deeper problems.
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