to the top

#9 - Philosopher: An action is morally good if it both

Administrator
PowerScore Staff
PowerScore Staff
 
Posts: 6670
Joined: Wed Feb 02, 2011 4:19 pm
Points: 3,343

Complete Question Explanation

Must Be True—PR. The correct answer choice is (E)

The philosopher in this stimulus sets out a basic conditional reasoning principle: if an action achieves its intended goal, and it benefits someone else, then it is good:

    Achieved intent and benefit to others ..... :arrow: ..... morally good

From the conditional statement above, we can also draw the contrapositive:

    Morally good ..... :arrow: ..... achieved intent or benefit to others

The question asks us to find the answer choice that conforms to the above principle.

Answer choice (A): In this answer choice, Colin displayed malicious intent, but his plan backfired and the intent was not achieved. Further, there was only detriment for Colin and his friends, and no benefits derived by others. The flawed conditional reasoning applied in this answer choice is as follows:

    Achieved intent and benefit to others ..... :arrow: ..... morally good

In this choice, the intent was not achieved, and the outcome was detrimental, so this would not meet the philosopher’s definition of a morally good action.

Answer choice (B): In this answer choice, although Derek’s neighbors were vegetarians, his intentions to be welcoming were achieved. The benefit to others is something of a grey area—even though the neighbors didn’t eat, they still arguably derived the benefits of being made to feel welcome. Regardless, the stimulus does not provide enough information to justifiably rule Derek’s act “not morally good.” That is, we know that achieved intent and benefits to others are sufficient to define an act as “morally good”:

    Achieved intent and benefit to others ..... :arrow: ..... morally good

We are never informed, however, of criteria sufficient to define an act as “not morally good.” To draw such a conclusion would require a mistaken negation of the conditional diagram above.

In this choice, the welcoming intentions were achieved, and there may have been benefit to others. But even if there were no benefits, this would not be sufficient to determine that Derek’s acts were “not morally good.”

Answer choice (C): In this answer choice, Ellen did not achieve her original intent, which was to get a promotion. She was able to put her extra money to good use, but this is not the same as achieving one’s intent. There were benefits to others, since her family got to take a vacation, but since this was a different benefit than originally intended, this would not meet the philosopher’s criteria to define an act as morally good.

The flawed reasoning in this answer choice runs contrary to the stimulus as follows:

    Achieved intent and benefit to others ..... :arrow: ..... morally good

In this example, there was benefit to others, but the initial intent was not achieved, so this would not meet the philosopher’s definition of a morally good action.

Answer choice (D): In this scenario, Louisa displayed malicious intent, planning to frame Henry, but her intent was not achieved, and there was no benefit to others. However, according to the conditional reasoning in the stimulus, we cannot assert based on this scenario that Louisa’s action was not morally good. This answer choice reflects the following flawed reasoning, which is contrary to the information in the stimulus:

    Achieved intent and benefit to others ..... :arrow: ..... morally good

As we can see, this is a mistaken negation of the conditional statement provided in the stimulus (Achieved intent and benefit to others ..... :arrow: ..... morally good), so this answer choice is incorrect.

Answer choice (E): This is the correct answer choice. In this scenario, Yolanda’s intent was for her children to enjoy a visit to their grandfather. This intent was achieved, bringing the intended benefits to Yolanda’s children, reflecting the following conditional reasoning, which is valid based on the stimulus:

    Achieved intent and benefit to others ..... :arrow: ..... morally good

The good intentions are there, as are the benefits for others, so this would be defined as a morally good act, regardless of the fact that Yolanda was also able to derive some benefit as well.