Professional Ethics:
Sample Exam Questions


Here are some sample exam questions to familiarize you with the format of the exams for PHIL 316. The answers are given below.

1. (a) Explain Milton Friedman's Legalism, and then (b) explain two of the objections given in class to Friedman's Legalism (do NOT just give their names!).

2. Cultural Relativism is the view that
a. if someone believes that an action is morally right or wrong, then it is
b. if the majority of people in a society believe that something is morally right or wrong, then it is
c. people within a culture often have differing views about what is morally right or wrong
d. that culture which produces the mostr overall good is the best culture

3. On the Due Care theory of manufacturer's duties to consumers,
a. consumers must take due care to ensure that they are not injured by a product
b. manufacturers are liable for any harm befalling a customer using or misusing their products
c. manufacturers must take all steps that a reasonable person could have foreseen to prevent harm to the consumer
d. consumers and manufacturers must agree on an acceptable level of risk of injury for a product

4. As defined in class, morality is
a. the rightness and wrongness of actions, events, etc.
b. the philosophical study of ethics
c. the application of NETs to specific moral problems
d. whatever one has a duty to do

5. The Mutual Benefit Rule states that
a. sales must benefit both the retailer and the consumer
b. corporations must benefit both themselves and society
c. salespersons cannot be expected to know everything there is to know about a product
d. sellers should give buyers any information needed to make a reasonable decision as to whether to buy a product


1. Legalism is the view that a corporation's only obligation is to maximize its profits without breaking the law. One objection to Legalism given in class was that it takes time to make illegal a new harm caused by a corporation, leaving the first-generation of people harmed by the corporation unprotected. A second objection to Friedman's Legalism was that an action may be legal and yet be morally wrong.

2. b

3. c

4. a

5. d

Two Cow Theories of Capitalism:

Traditional Capitalism:
You have two cows. You sell one and buy a bull. Your herd multiplies and the economy grows. You sell them and retire on the income.

American Capitalism:
You have two cows. You sell three of them to your publicly listed company, using letters of credit opened by your brother-in-law at the bank, then execute a debt/equity swap with an associated general offer so that you get all four cows back, with a tax exemption for five cows. The milk rights of the six cows are transferred via an intermediary to a Cayman Island company secretly owned by the majority shareholder who sells the rights for all seven cows back to your listed company. The annual report says the company owns eight cows, with an option on one more. You sell one cow to buy a new President of the United States, leaving you with nine cows. No balance sheet provided with the release. The public buys your bull.

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