The relationship between conscience, sympathy and bad morality in Bennett’s discussion of Huckleberry Finn.

Just answer in question format not essay

Core Readings
J. Bennett (1974) “The Conscience of Huckleberry Finn,” Philosophy, Volume 49, 188, pp. 123-134.
Kristen R. Monroe, Michael C Barton and Ute Klingemann (1990) “Altruism and the Theory of Rational Action: Rescuers of Jews in Nazi Europe,” Ethics Vol. 101, No. 1, pp. 103-122.

1. Explain the relationship between conscience, sympathy and bad morality in Bennett’s discussion of Huckleberry Finn. Did Huck act irrationally in responding to his feelings rather than doing what he believed was right? Give reasons for your answer.

2. Explain the relationship between conscience, sympathy and bad morality in Bennett’s discussion of Heinrich Himmler. Does the example of Himmler point to the limitations of sympathy in relation to morality or to the importance of always acting in accordance with one’s sympathies, or to something else?

3. In what sense do rational actor theory and psychological egoism pose a threat to ordinary notions of morality and moral motivation?

4. How would rational actor theory explain the apparently altruistic behaviour of the rescuers that Monroe, Barton and Klingemann interviewed in their study? Do you find such explanations of altruism plausible? Give reasons for your answer.

Core Readings
Thomas Nadelhoffer and Walter Sinnott-Armstrong (2012) ‘Is Psychopathy a Mental Disease?” in Nicole A Vincent (ed) Neuroscience and Criminal Responsibility, Oxford University Press, pp. 231- 252.
Heidi Maibom (2014) “To Treat a Psychopath,” Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 35, pp. 31-42.

1. Why do Nadelhoffer and Sinnott-Armstrong think that it is important to determine whether psychopathy is a mental illness or a problem of moral character? What are the implications of this distinction for how society responds to psychopaths?
2. Homosexuality was until relatively recently classified as a mental disorder. What, if anything, does this tell us about the role of value judgments in our classification of mental illnesses?
3. “Diseases are physico-chemical phenomena or processes–for example, the abnormal metabolism of glucose (diabetes). Mental diseases are patterns of personal conduct, unwanted by the self or others. Psychopathology is diagnosed by finding behavioral, not physical, abnormalities in bodies.”(Szasz, ‘Mental Disorders are not Diseases’, 2000.
Do you agree with Szasz that the way in which value judgments feature in our identification and diagnosis of mental illnesses means that such conditions are very different from physical illnesses and that they should be understood in terms of ‘problems in living’ rather than brain diseases? Why/Why not?
4. Boorse argues that an organism is healthy when it is functioning normally and that a disease is a form of abnormal functioning. Explain how he applies this objectivist (bio-medical) model of disease to mental illness.
5. Do you think that the objectivist account of mental illness demonstrates how we can diagnose and identify mental illnesses in a way that does not rely on moral or evaluative judgments about behaviour? Would it be possible to diagnose psychopathy in this way? Why/Why not?
6. Provide a brief summary of the main argument in Maibom’s ‘To Treat a Psychopath’.
7. Explain why Maibom thinks that psychopathy may be particularly difficult to treat when compared with conditions such as depression and anxiety disorders.
8. Suppose we did develop drug therapies that could successfully treat psychopathy. Would it be morally acceptable to treat a psychopath against his will if using such therapies would mean altering his entire personality?

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