VEE_End Term 2019 (Solutions)

Q1. What is the difference between Hypothetical Imperative and Categorical Imperative? Briefly describe. (2)

Hypothetical imperative has an implicit condition or desire whereas Categorical Imperative operates with the respct for duties or obligations. CI does not have any condition or desire as the motivating factor.

Q2. Briefly explain “Emotional Well-being” and “Pleasure Paradox.” (2)

Emotional Well-being refers to emotional strength of the character. Emotional well-being leads to optimism as a result of high ability to handle emotional upheaval.

Pleasure paradox refers to the idea as propounded by Henry Sidgwick that pleasure cannot be pursued directly. Direct pursuance of it leads to pain. Pleasure should always be a biproduct of an activity.

Q3. Bring out similarities between the Bhagavad Gita and Kantian Ethics. (2 marks)

Both Bhagavad Gita and Kant believe that: a. Human beings are rational and have free will and b. both of them propose Duty Ethics.

Q4. What can be the possible criticism of “Socialism” as a theory of distributive justice? (2)

  • It is difficult to ascertain the real needs and abilities of people.
  • It will make people project deliberated inflated needs.
  • It will discourage people from declaring their real abilities as in the absence of any reward they may not be willing to work harder than others.

Q5. Write two possible criticisms of Act Utilitarianism. (2)

  • It is subjective.
  • Each individual case may require a lot of time for analysis.
  • It goes against the idea of human rights.
  • It is vulnerable to manipulation.

Q6. “Pleasure and Happiness have been at the centre of many theories of Ethics.” Justify the statement explaining various theories of ethics that you have studied. Also, explain why Matthieu Ricard believes that the mind can be trained to stay in a state of happiness. Briefly explain Ricard’s method of mind training? (3+2+2)

  • Pleasure: Discussion on Hedonism (Carvaka and Epicure), Ethical Hedonism;
  • Happiness: Utilitarianism; Theories on Happiness: Matthieu Ricard- difference between pleasure and happiness; Tal Ben Shahar’s Spire Model; Martin Seligman’s PERMA etc.
  • Mathieu Ricard: Why mind can be trained: because it is pure consciousness like a mirror; it can’t reflect two negative things at the same time; it has elasticity to be molded in the desired positive or negative state of mind
  • Mathieu Ricard: Method of Mind Training: turning the cycle from outward looking to inward looking; focus on the negative emotion than to the object that reinforces negative emotion; train mind in compassion through meditation.

Q7. What is distributive justice? Briefly explain the Libertarian Principle of distributive justice. Why egalitarianism may not prove to be a good way of providing distributive justice to people in India. Briefly discuss. (1+2+2)

Distributive Justice: Just distribution of burdens and resources

Libertarian Principle: Nozick proposes a 3-part “Entitlement Theory”:

  1. If the world were wholly just, the following definition would exhaustively cover the subject of justice in holdings: A person who acquires a holding in accordance with the principle of justice in acquisition is entitled to that holding.
  2. A person who acquires a holding in accordance with the principle of justice in transfer, from someone else entitled to the holding, is entitled to the holding.
  3. No one is entitled to a holding except by (repeated) applications of (a) and (b).
    The complete principle of distributive justice would say simply that a distribution is just if everyone is entitled to the holdings they possess under the distribution (Nozick, p.151).

Why Egalitarianism may not be a good idea?

Equal distribution of burdens and resources will result in the non-completion of work as per the expections as all people are not equally able as well as it may result in wastefulness of resources as all people do not need everything in equal measure.

Q8. “Dominant Identities create structures of power by pushing the dominated identities into the categories of inferior.” Justify the statement using some examples of racism, slave trade, sexism and casteism. Briefly explain what happened to Jews in the wake of the Nazi rise to Power in Germany based on the documentary “Path to Nazi Genocide” and what do you think were the reasons for this. (4+4)

Even though cultural identities (religion, caste, race, ethnicity, gender, nationality, regional belonging) are either acquired or more often imposed by the society, they are seen as inherent or genetic in the societal power structures to justify the exploitation of the dominated groups. Dominant identities invent inferior The following can be a representative imposition of behavioral/intellectual characteristics on the dominant and the dominated identities by identity groups exercising power:

  • Dominant identities: Rational, intellectually superior; culturally civilised; benevolent etc.
  • Dominated identities: Emotional, intellectually inferior; culturally primitive; malevolent etc.
  • Racism: slave trade and the Holocaust (justification of the same on the basis of racial & ethnic differences) & Fair and Lovely example for racism
  • Sexism: gender differences of masculine and feminine (Fair and Handsome example)
  • Casteism: caste-based discrimination in India

Path to Nazi Holocaust: Gradual Rise of Nazi’s in the Post II World War Germany and the gradual degradation of Jews, rise in the anti-Semitic propaganda, herding of Jews into ghettos and execution of them on mass scale in the concentration camps

Reasons for the persecution of Jews: racial hatred in the economically weak post II World War Germany. Propaganda against Jews helps Hitler gain popular support and deflect attention from economic hardships.

Q9. In what way Devdutta Patnaik finds the Indian and Western attitudes to Good & Evil different. Do you think that the Indian conception of good and evil is capable of reducing human hatred and conflict as per Devdutta Patnaik’s description of it? (2.5+2.5)

Devdutta Patnaik finds Indian perception of life as circular and hence, there is no absolution good or absolute evil whereas Western outlook perceives both good and evil as absolute. In Indian perception the killing of evil is an act of liberation as the evil now regains the previous status of good. (Example of Ravana; Hrinakashyap etc.)

Since, the Indian perception believes in the inherent divinity of everyone, it discourages the attitude of hatred towards others. It rather encourages an attitude of introspection and self-questioning to figure out whether the person himself/herself may not be indulging in an evil act.

Q10. Explain PERMA and how it contributes to Happiness (5).

  • Positive Emotions: enhances positive energy in day to day functioning.
  • Engagement: total engagement in an activity makes one forget about time and thereby, making the activity a source of joy rather than of boredom
  • Relationships: Positive relations help increase social engagement of a person
  • Meaning: Finding meaning in one’s work and life helps engage in something larger than life
  • Accomplishment: accomplishments increase the happiness quotient and increase the sense of engagement in one’s work