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:
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. The paragraphs of your essay should conform to the following guidelines:
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.
* Indicates readings included in the “Required Readings” portion of the course.
*Held, V. “Feminist transformations of moral theory.”
• _Included in Chapter 6 of the text. See the guidance for the required portions of the text.
*Gilligan, C. (1982). In a different voice: Psychological theory and women’s development. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Retrieved from https://lms.manhattan.edu/pluginfile.php/26517/mod_resource/content/1/Gilligan In a Different Voice.pdf.
*Noddings, N. (2010). Maternal factor: Two paths to morality. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. (213-220) (Ebook)
*Mill, John Stuart. Utilitarianism, in the original version in the textbook, or in the version by Jonathan Bennett. Retrieved from www.earlymoderntexts.com
• _See the guidance for the required portions of the text.
Haines, W. (n.d.). Consequentialism. Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Retrieved from http://www.iep.utm.edu/conseque/
Singer, P. (2003). Voluntary euthanasia: A utilitarian perspective. Bioethics, 17(5/6), 526-541.
*Kant, Immanuel. Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals in the original version in the textbook, or in the version by Jonathan Bennett. Retrieved from www.earlymoderntexts.com
• _See the guidance for the required portions of the text.
O’Neill, O. (1993). A simplified account of Kant’s ethics. In T. Regan (Ed.) Matters of Life and Death, 411-415. Retrieved from http://users.manchester.edu/Facstaff/SSNaragon/Online/texts/201/O'Neill, Kant.pdf
*Aristotle. (1931). Nicomachean ethics. (W.D. Ross, Trans.). Oxford, GBR: Clarendon Press. Retrieved from http://www.gutenberg.org/cache/epub/8438/pg8438.html
• _See the guidance for the required portions of the text.
Hursthouse, R. (2012). Virtue ethics. In E. Zalta (Ed.), The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Retrieved from http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/ethics-virtue/
MacIntyre, A. (1984). After virtue. Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press.
• _Chapters 14-15 are included in Chapter 6 of the text.
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
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
PHI208: LIST OF TOPICS 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.)
Running head: SHORTENED TITLE
The Title of the Paper
First name Last name
PHI 208 Ethics and Moral Reasoning
Prof. Immanuel Kant
January 1, 2014
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Your first sentence should establish the question that orients the essay, taking
account of any ways in which you may need to modify or refine it. The rest of this
paragraph provides an introduction to the topic. Your introduction should focus on setting
out the topic and scope of the discussion in a way that clearly establishes what exactly
you will be talking about and why it is significant, and provides any necessary context
such as the background, current state of affairs, definitions of key terms, and so on. You
want to try to do this in a way that stays as neutral as possible, avoids controversial
assumptions, rhetorical questions, and the like. In other words, you should try to
construct an introduction to the topic that could be an introduction to a paper defending
any position on the question at issue. 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 conclusion or position on this issue that
you think is best supported by this theory, and succinctly state what the objection will be.
You should explain the core principles or features of either utilitarianism or
deontology and the general account of moral behavior it provides. “You must quote from
at least one Required Resource that defends or represents that theory, drawn from the list
included with the assignment instructions” (Author, YEAR, p. ###). Make sure that you
first understand the theory that you are using, and that you have read the Instructor
Guidance and any additional resources from the Required and Recommended Resources
as needed. If you do not adequately understand and explain the theory, you will not be
able to apply it adequately to the topic. You will need to explain the core principles in
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such a way that the theory’s application to the question raised in the Week One
Assignment will be as straightforward and clear as possible.
Explain how the core principles or features of this theory apply to the problem or
question under consideration and identify the specific moral conclusion that results. Your
application should clearly show how the conclusion follows from the main tenets of the
theory as explained in the previous paragraph(s). An application involves showing how
general ideas about how to live and act ethically, when combined with the specific
circumstances under consideration, lead to conclusions about how one should act in those
circumstances. A very simple, non-moral example of such reasoning might start with the
general idea that “if I’m hungry, I ought to eat,” apply that to the specific circumstances
in which “I’m hungry,” leading to the conclusion that “I ought to eat.” The application of
an ethical theory to an actual moral problem will be much more complicated, nuanced,
and detailed, but that should give you a sense of how to proceed.
For example, if you were examining capital punishment from a utilitarian
perspective, you might start by explaining the general principle that we should do that
which leads to the greatest happiness. You would then consider the effects of capital
punishment, including not just the suffering and death of the punished, but also the
positive and negative effects on other individuals and society as a whole. You could
compare that with the effects of abolishing capital punishment, and demonstrate which
policy has the best overall outcomes.
Remember that when applying utilitarianism, you want to explain the benefits and
harms that would result from one action or policy, what the overall utility of that would
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be, and compare that with the same analysis of the available alternative action(s) or
policy. Doing this carefully will allow you to demonstrate the utilitarian conclusion as
clearly as possible.
On the other hand, if you were applying a deontological argument, you might
apply Kant’s Categorical Imperative, examining whether a maxim that involved capital
punishment could be willed as a universal law, or whether capital punishment treats
persons as ends-in-themselves.
Remember that when applying deontological theory, what you are looking for is a
kind of argument that say that we have a duty to do or not do to thus-and-such regardless
of the consequences. In other words, while doing something may indeed lead to a better
overall state of affairs, that's not the primary reason why we ought to do it. Similarly,
even if doing something leads to a better overall state of affairs, if it violates a duty we
have not to do a certain kind of action, we ought not do it.
You might show this by providing an explanation of Kant’s Categorical Imperative,
and an application of the "Categorical Imperative" test. For example, you might consider
the relevant maxim involved, and whether that is something that could be willed to be
universal law; or, you could determine whether people's humanity is being respected as
an end-it-itself or being used as a mere means.
You may have to provide evidence for your views, in which case, “I would expect
you to quote from the required resources on this topic, and any other relevant scholarly
resources” (Author, YEAR, p. ###). See the Required and Recommended Resources, as
well as the textbook and Instructor Guidance, for examples. By the end of your
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discussion, it should be clear what conclusion utilitarian or deontological reasoning
would lead to on the issue.
Raise a relevant objection to the argument expressed in your application. A
relevant objection is one that exposes a weakness in the argument or the theory, 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. On the
other hand, you may find this objection to be a pretty conclusive argument against that
theory’s approach to the problem (and perhaps the theory itself). However, you shouldn’t
attempt to draw such larger conclusions from the objection (that’s for the Final Paper).
Your task here is simply to raise the objection or present the “obstacle.”
For example, if you were writing on capital punishment, you might find that
utilitarianism entails a certain position that you think is completely wrong, and so you
may find the objection to be persuasive. Or, you may agree with the utilitarianism
approach and think that ultimately the objection does not undermine it. Or, you might
think that utilitarianism's conclusion is right but their approach is wrong (sort of like what
Tom Regan thought regarding animal ethics), and so you think the objection is strong,
even though you end up agreeing with the conclusion. Again, you should not be trying to
explain whether you think the objection succeeds. Rather, the task is to show that you can
think critically about an issue from the perspective of the moral theory, and to raise
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questions and concerns about that theory based on how it applies to a concrete issue.
Please see the “notes and guidance” for additional direction on this part of your essay.
Conclude your paper with a brief review the main claims and accomplishments of your
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Required: Primary text in support of the theory, drawn from the list of acceptable
resources provided with the assignment instructions.
Required: Resource pertaining to the moral problem that is the primary topic of the paper,
drawn from the required or recommended readings in the course, or found in the
Ashford University Library.
Suggested: Other resources as needed.
Note that resources must be cited in the text as well as included in the bibliography to
satisfy the requirement.
The textbook and guidance do not count toward the resources requirement, though you
are free to use them as additional resources.
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