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June 2007, Logical Reasoning 1, Question 7


So we begin with the question stem as usual. This question stem is a little bit unusual for the type of question that it is. It's a principle application question. But the question stem doesn't use the word principle. Instead, it describes the principle. So apparently this ethicist describes a principle that will give us a definition of what the most advanced kind of moral motivation is.

Once we have that rule, we're going to apply it to each answer choice until we find the one that matches. So our main job here is to make sure we find and understand the rule. So the ethicist says, the most advanced kind of moral motivation is based solely on abstract principles. He also gives us two things that it's not.

So this form of motivation is in contrast with calculated self-interest, or the desire to adhere to societal norms and conventions. In other words, to count as the most advanced kind of moral motivation, you have to be motivated only by abstract principles. You can't be motivated by self-interest, and you can't be motivated by societal norms.

So let's go to the answer choices. Answer choice A, Bobby contributed money to a charity, which is nice for him. But he did so because he worried that if he didn't do so, it would make him look stingy. Avoiding looking stingy is in your self-interest. It's not an abstract principle, so A is not our answer.

Answer choice B, Wes contributes money just like Bobby did, because he believes that doing so would improve his employer's opinion of him. Impressing your boss is a type of self-interest, so it's not B either. So now Donna's employer is engaged in an illegal, but profitable practice that caused serious damage to the environment. Donna did not report this practice because, well, she was afraid that her employers would retaliate against her.

Trying to avoid retaliation from your boss is also a type of self-interest and not an abstract principle. So we're gonna get rid of answer choice C. Answer choice D, Jadine's employers did the same thing Donna's did. She reported the practice to the authorities, out of a belief that protecting the environment is always more important than monetary profit.

Well, that's an abstract principle. Protecting the environment is always more important than monetary profit. That's what we want. Jadine exhibits the most advanced kind of moral motivation. Now we can check the answer choice E just to make sure. Answer choice E, Leigh's employers are doing the same thing as Jadine's are.

Leigh is reporting the practice, but only because several colleagues had been pressuring her to do so. Well, staying on the good side of your colleagues is self-interest. Trying to do what they would think is good is also abiding by social norms. So she's doubly in violation of the rule. She's not our answer, answer choice D is our answer.

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