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. Please also utilize the assignment guidance and the outlined model provided.
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 question you formulated and introduced in the Week One Assignment or a different one based off the list of acceptable topics. (See end for list)
- 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 that position.
Write a five-paragraph essay that conforms to the requirements below. The paper must be at least 1,000 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:
The introduction should clearly state the ethical question under consideration, and define the essential issues. You may build upon the question and introduction you provided in the Week One Assignment, or you may choose a different question, but it must be based off the list of acceptable topics. Your introduction should include a brief remark about the kind of theory you will be using to approach this question. The last sentence of the introduction should briefly summarize the or position on the issue you think is best supported by this theory and succinctly state what the objection will be. Bear in mind that your essay will not be concerned with your own position on this issue, but what someone reasoning along the lines of the chosen theory would conclude; this may or may not be the position you took in the Week One Assignment.
- Body Paragraphs
Each paragraph in the body should start with a topic sentence that clearly identifies the main idea of the paragraph.
- Theory explanation
Explain the core principles or features of the deontological or utilitarian theory and the general account of moral reasoning it provides.
You must quote from at least one required resource other than your textbook that defends or represents that theory. Refer to the list of acceptable resources. (See end for list)
Demonstrate how the principles or features of the deontological or utilitarian theory apply to the question under consideration and identify the specific conclusion that results from applying the reasoning characteristic of that kind of approach.
Your application should clearly show how the conclusion follows from the main principles and features of the theory as addressed in the previous paragraph. Please see the associated guidance for help in fulfilling this requirement.
Raise a relevant objection to the argument expressed in your application. An objection articulates a plausible reason why someone might find the argument problematic. This can be a false or unsupported claim or assumption, fallacious reasoning, a deep concern about what the conclusion involves, a demonstration of how the argument supports other conclusions that are unacceptable, etc. You should aim to explain this objection as objectively as possible, (i.e., in a way that would be acceptable to someone who disagrees with the argument from the previous paragraph).
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.”
The conclusion should very briefly summarize the main points of your essay.
- 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 represent the theory you have chosen, and must be drawn from the list of acceptable resources available in your online classroom.
- 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 be a scholarly source found in the Ashford Unversity 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 Ashford Writing Center.
- If you are unsure about whether a resource fulfills the requirement or need assistance in finding resources, please contact your instructor.
PHI208: LIST OF TOPICS
TOPICS These are the topics on which you are to formulate an ethical question to address in your papers, along with a few example sub-topics to help you narrow things down. You should peruse the list of required and recommend readings on each topic for further ideas (the weeks containing those lists is next to the topic heading), and you might think about or do some research into specific controversies that have appeared in the news, that you have heard about, or that you may have personally encountered. Please consult the guidance on formulating an ethical question to help you with that task.
Just War/Military Ethics (Weeks Three and Four)
• The circumstances under which it is or is not legitimate to use military force against another group or country
• The conditions under which killing another person is or is not justified within the context of military action
• When it is or is not legitimate to use certain controversial weapons to conduct military operations, such as drones, nuclear weapons, chemical and biological weapons, carpet bombs, etc.
• Disobeying unjust or illegal orders given by one’s superiors
• The kinds of actions or responses are characteristic of “virtuous” military personnel and their opposites, and how we should understand those virtues.
Gender and Equality (Week Five)
• Sexual harassment in the workplace
• Equal pay for equal work
• Hiring discrimination
• Portrayals of men and women in the media or advertising
• The difference that feminine approaches might make to a specific ethical issue
Responsibility to Animals (Week Two)
• Raising animals in factory farm conditions
• Raising animals in alternative farming conditions
• Hunting animals for sport
• Using animals for scientific research, testing cosmetics, etc.
• Consuming animal products (meat, dairy, eggs, leather, fur, etc.) obtained from animals raised in poor conditions
Responsibility to the Environment (Week Four)
• Business practices that impact the environment
• Individual behaviors and choices that impact the environment
• The balancing of governmental regulations intended to protect the environment with individual liberty
• Climate Change
• Clearing forests for farmland
• Protecting wilderness areas
• Protecting endangered species
End of Life Medical Issues (Week One)
• Physician-assisted suicide
• Voluntary active euthanasia
• Non-voluntary active euthanasia (such as seriously ill infants, people with dementia or brain damage, etc.)
• Active vs. passive euthanasia
• Euthanasia and/or physician-assisted suicide for non-standard reasons, such as non-terminal conditions (pain,
disability, depression, free choice, etc.)