FIU Philosophy Having Children Essay

FIU Philosophy Having Children Essay




Directions: Select one of the three theories below. Once you have done so, select one of the three topics associated with that theory. Watch the associated video for that topic. Answer the questions for the topic you have selected. Your response should be:


Choose any one of the following three topics and answer all three questions corresponding to that topic.

1. Can Internet Trolling Have Good Consequences? Watch the Idea Channel’s “The Experience of Being Trolled” at and answer the following questions. Answers should be a minimum of one well written paragraph per question:

A. In the video, the author makes a distinction between a troll who engages in frustrating rhetoric and a troll who bullies. Initially, he tries to suggest that the former (the troll who engages in frustrating rhetoric) might be doing a social good in some way. Explain this position. In what way might a troll be doing a social good? Frame this in utilitarian terms. How might trolling have good consequences?

B. Around halfway through the video, the author criticizes his own argument, specifically focusing on what he considers to be a significant problem to the idiom “don’t feed the troll”—in short, it places the blame on the victim of trolling, rather than the perpetuator. Elaborate. How does he use this to criticize his own position?

C. Throughout the video, the author wears two different shirts to represent the position he is taking—the ‘red’ shirt version of himself tries to argue that (some forms of) trolling can have good consequences. The ‘blue’ shirt version of himself take the skeptical view. Given your understanding of utilitarianism, which ‘shirt’ do you think a utilitarian would wear? Would a utilitarian ultimately side with the ‘red shirt’ author or with the ‘blue shirt’ author? Why?

2. Is it Wrong to Have Children? Watch Philosophy Tube’s “Is it Wrong to Have Children?” at answer the following questions, one paragraph per question:

A. In order to argue that having children is wrong, the author cites a philosopher named Benatar, whose position rests on what he calls “the asymmetry between pain and pleasure”. How does he use this distinction to argue that having children is wrong? Is it possible to connect this idea to utilitarianism? How might we rephrase Benatar’s argument in utilitarian terms?

B. Explain Christine Overall’s criticism of Benatar’s argument. Do your best. ?

C. What do you think? From the utilitarian perspective, is it wrong to have children? Why or why not?

3. Who Should Superman Save? Watch Philosophy Tube’s “Who Should Superman Save” at and answer the following questions. Answers should be a minimum of one paragraph per question:

A. From a utilitarian perspective, why should Superman abandon his Clark Kent persona and be Superman 24/7? You should incorporate the idea of “the point of marginal utility” which the author discusses in your answer.

B. To go against this view, the author hypothesizes that perhaps Superman is a “moral libertarian” and thus, does not view himself as being obligated to always save people all the time. What does it mean to be a moral libertarian and how does the distinction between positive duties and negative duties help clarify this idea? Does the author present a plausible case that Superman is a moral libertarian?

C. Consider the examples that the guest contributor (from a channel called “NerdSync”) makes with regard to Superman. Superman stopped WWII in two pages, he exposed horrific prison conditions, as well as horrific public housing conditions, and he stood against police action during a protest. Does this imply that Superman believes in positive duties? If so, do you believe it is good for Superman to adopt his Clark Kent persona or should he abandon it?


These are the videos associated with utilitarianism for the applied ethics paper.

If you choose to write your Applied Ethics Paper on utilitarianism, you will choose one of the topics associated with these videos, and answer all questions on the basis of the topic you have chosen.


PBS Idea Channel:

Can Trolling Have Good Consequences?

Philosophy Tube:

Who Should Superman Save?

Is It Morally Wrong to Have Children?


Explanation & Answer length: 4 pages

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