Criteria for Critical Thinking
Philosophy 1301 w/ Colby Glass

Dr. Seuss Commencement Speech

"My Uncle Terwillger on the Art of Eating Popovers"

My uncle ordered popovers
from the restaurant's bill of fare.
And when they were served,
he regarded them with a penetrating stare..
Then he spoke great Words of Wisdom
as he sat there on that chair:

"To eat these things," said my uncle,
"you must exercise great care.
You may swallow down what's solid..
BUT.. you MUST spit out the air!"

And... as YOU partake
of the world's bill of fare,
that's darned good advice to follow.
Do a lot of spitting out the hot air
and be careful what you swallow.

-Theodore Geisel's infamous, 75-second
commencement speech to Dartmouch
College, class of '77


Criteria for Evaluation of
ETHICAL THEORIES

1. CONSISTENCY The principles of the theory must be consistent. They must fit together logically, and be capable of being jointly true.
2. BROAD The theory must have a wide enough scope to account for a great deal, if not all, moral data, moral scenarios, etc.
3. PROCEDURE The theory must have a procedure for deciding what is morally permissible, or what act is required in a particular situation.
4. SIMPLE "The fewer the basic moral precepts of the theory, the better."
5. ACCEPTABLE The judgments which come from the theory should be reasonable and should conform with commonly held "moral intuitions" about right and wrong.
FYI: RELATIVISM: Right and wrong will vary from place to place. What is okay in one society may be unacceptable in another. (The theories underlying Anthropology is a good example of this viewpoint.) ABSOLUTISM: Right and wrong are the same everywhere. If a society thinks some act is good which really isn't, they are simply mistaken. (Judaeo-Christian tradition is a good example of this viewpoint.)


Please send comments to: Colby Glass, MLIS

Return to Philosophy Homepage