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Which of the two sets of premises are pertaining to a valid answer?PREMISE SET 1:‘If...

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jontyjunior | Student, College Freshman | eNoter

Posted October 4, 2011 at 10:27 PM via web

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Which of the two sets of premises are pertaining to a valid answer?

PREMISE SET 1:
‘If you could be 100% sure of getting away with it, would you have a better life for being unjust?’

NO:

Premise 1            Stealing is not in your best interest

Premise 2            Stealing is wrong even if you get away with it

Premise 3            Getting away with it doesn’t give you a better life

Conclusion         
Therefore stealing is not in your best interest even if you get away with it, and it doesn’t give you a better life.


PREMISE SET 2:
‘If you could be 100% sure of getting away with it, would you have a better life for being unjust?’

NO:

Premise 1            Stealing is wrong even when you can get away with it

Premise 2            Stealing when you can get away with it is sometimes in your self interest

Conclusion         
Therefore, ethical egocentricity must be wrong as there is more to morality than just what is in your self-interest.

1 Answer | Add Yours

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Karen P.L. Hardison | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted October 5, 2011 at 1:59 AM (Answer #1)

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Your objective is to answer the ethical question "If you could be 100% sure of getting away with [stealing], would you have a better life for being unjust?" To answer the question, your response must be as direct as the question and specifically encompass and address all parts of the question. Further, your intention is to build your direct, encompassing answer from one of two sets of premises. Therefore, the set of premises that most directly encompasses all parts of the question is the correct premise set.

The question is an interrogative second conditional (if + simple past [could], would + infinitive form of verb [to have, have]) and its (sometimes implied) constituent parts are:

  • If you could get away with something,
  • you would or would would not have a better life;
  • you would have been unjust.

Your answer must respond to each part; must be built upon relevant premises; and must be sound logically. The premise set that does not address these three points is Premise Set 2. The second premise in the set (1) suggests a logical conclusion on a topic not addressed in the question and thus  (2) will not answer the component parts of the question.

The premise set that contains logically related premises that will specifically address and respond to the component parts of the questions is Premise Set 1:

  • Stealing is not in your best interest.
  • Stealing is wrong even if you get away with it.
  • Getting away with it doesn’t give you a better life.

The implication of the premises is that regardless of getting caught and regardless of a better life, stealing is unjust. Therefore with these premises you can directly answer all component parts the question asked.

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