Applying an Ethical Theory

Jul 7th, 2015
Price: $10 USD

Question description

Applying an Ethical Theory

Please read these assignment instructions before writing your paper, and re-read them often during and after the writing process to make sure that you are fulfilling all of the instructions.

The following short essay assignment is designed to help prepare you for an important part of the Final Paper. In this essay, you will do the following:

  • Choose either the same ethical problem or question you discussed in the Week One Assignment, or a different one from the list of acceptable topics.
  • Choose either utilitarian or deontological ethical theory to apply to the ethical question.
  • Explain the core principles of that theory.
  • Demonstrate how the principles of the theory support a certain position on that question.
  • Articulate a relevant objection to the theory on the basis of that argument.

Write a five paragraph essay that conforms to the requirements below. The paper must be 600 to 900 words in length (excluding title and reference pages) and formatted according to APA style as outlined in the Ashford Writing Center. The paragraphs of your essay should conform to the following guidelines:

  1. Introduction
    The introduction should be one paragraph, no more than 120 words. This should clearly delimit the ethical problem or question under consideration, and define the essential issues. You may build upon the problem you raised in the Week One Assignment, or you may choose a different topic, but it must be from the list of acceptable topics.  The last sentence of the introduction should briefly summarize the conclusion or position on this issue that you think is best supported by this theory, and succinctly state what the objection will be. Remember that your essay will not be concerned with your own position on this issue, but what someone defending the chosen theory would conclude.
  2. Body Paragraphs
    Each paragraph in the body should start with a topic sentence that clearly identifies the main idea of the paragraph. Each paragraph should have at least four sentences.
    1. Theory explanation:
      This should be approximately 150 to 200 words explaining the core principles or features of the deontological or utilitarian theory and the general account of moral behavior it provides.
      • You must quote from at least one required resource that defends or represents that theory. Please view this list of acceptable resources.
    2. Application:
      This should be approximately 150 to 200 words, and should address how the principles or features of the deontological or utilitarian theory apply to the problem or question under consideration and identify the specific moral conclusion that results from that application.
      • Your application should clearly show how the conclusion follows from the main tenets of the theory as addressed in the previous paragraph. Please see the associated guidance for help in fulfilling this requirement.
    3. Objection:
      This should be approximately 150 to 200 words raising a relevant objection to the argument expressed in part "b." A relevant objection is one that exposes a weakness in the theory as it applies to your problem, and so you should explain how it brings out this weakness.
      • Note that this does not necessarily mean that the objection succeeds, or that the conclusion the theory supports is wrong. It may be an obstacle that any adequate defense of the conclusion would have to overcome, and it may be the case that the theory has the resources to overcome that obstacle. Your task here is simply to raise the objection or present the “obstacle”.
  3. Conclusion
    The conclusion should be one paragraph, no more than 150 words. The conclusion should very briefly summarize the main points of your essay and must contain a paraphrased restatement of your thesis.

Resources Requirements:

  • You must use at least two resources to support your claims.
  • At least one of the resources should be one of the Required or Recommended resources that directly represent the theory you have chosen, and must be drawn from the list of acceptable resources.
  • The other source should pertain to the particular issue you are writing about, and should be drawn from the Required or Recommended readings in the course, or found in the Ashford Library.
  • You are encouraged to use additional resources, so long as at least two conform to the requirements above.
  • The textbook does not count toward satisfying the resources requirement.
  • To count toward satisfying the requirement, resources must be cited within the body of your paper and on the reference page and formatted according to APA style as outlined in the Writing Center.

List of Acceptable Primary Resources for the Week 3 and Week 5 Assignments

These are the primary resources that you can cite when explaining a moral theory in order to fulfill the relevant portion of the resources requirement. Readings included in the “Required Readings” list are indicated with a *.


*Mill, J. S. Utilitarianism, in the original version in the textbook, or in the version by Jonathan

Bennett retrieved from

Haines, W. (n.d.). Consequentialism. Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Retrieved from

Singer, P. (2003). Voluntary euthanasia: A utilitarian perspective. Bioethics, 17(5/6), 526-541.

Retrieved from the EBSCOhost database.


* Kant, I. (2008). Groundwork for the metaphysic of morals. In J. Bennett (Ed. & Trans.), Early modern Philosophy. Retrieved from

(Original work published in 1785).

Virtue Ethics:* Aristotle. (350 B.C.E.). Nicomachean ethics (W. D. Ross, Trans.). Retrieved from

Annas, J. (2006). Virtue ethics. In D. Copp (Ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Ethical Theory (pp.515–36).Oxford: Oxford University Press. Retrieved from

Hursthouse, R. (2012). Virtue ethics. In E. Zalta (Ed.), The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Retrieved from

MacIntyre, A. (1984). After virtue. Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press. Chapters 14-15 are included in the Chapter 6 readings of the textbook.

Feminist/Care Ethics:

*Held, V. Feminist transformations of moral theory. Included in the Chapter 6 readings of the


*Gilligan, C. (1982). In a different voice: Psychological theory and women’s development.

Cambridge,MA: Harvard University Press. Retrieved from


* Noddings, N. (2010). Maternal factor: Two paths to morality. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. Retrieved from the ebrary database.

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