PHI208 Assignments Week 3 – Assignment Applying an Ethical Theory Please read th

PHI208
Assignments
Week 3 – Assignment
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.
PHI208: WEEK THREE ASSIGNMENT GUIDANCE
WEEK THREE ASSIGNMENT GUIDANCE
The Purpose of This Paper
This paper is an analysis of an ethical theory and how it applies to a concrete issue; it is not a defense of your own view on this issue.
This assignment, along with the Week One Assignment, is intended to prepare you to write the Final Paper by helping you
• Think Deeply And Critically About One Of The Main Theories Of Ethical Reasoning.
• Learn How To Reason About A Concrete Issue Along The Lines Of An Ethical Theory.
• Consider Specific And Relevant Objections To An Instance Of Ethical Reasoning.
Again, to emphasize: Your own position on this issue isn’t really going to factor in to this particular paper. You are to be solely concerned with the ethical theory and how it applies to the problem. The conclusion that the theory arrives at may or may not align with your own view.
The Topic and Question of the Paper
You may either use the same topic and question you wrote on for the Week One Assignment, or choose a different one.
• If you choose to keep the same topic, you should take into account any comments your instructor gave you on how to refine or revise your topic and question.
• If you choose a different topic, you might benefit from going through the exercises of the first paper before working on this one.
Introduction
Begin your introduction with the question that orients your paper, and provided a revised and refined version of the introduction you offered in paper one. Don’t forget to introduce the theory as well.
Remember that the last sentence of the introduction should state what the theory would conclude, and why. For example, you might say something like, “I will show how a utilitarian would argue that the suffering that a woman might experience by having to carry fetus to term can outweigh the suffering of the fetus that would be aborted, and thus that a woman should be allowed to decide whether or not to abort her pregnancy. I will then raise the objection that this does not account for the possibility that the fetus, if it were to be born, might bring a great deal of good that outweighs the suffering of the mother, and that these unknowns make it difficult to adequately apply utilitarian reasoning to this topic.”
PHI208: WEEK THREE ASSIGNMENT GUIDANCE
The Explanation and Application of the Theory
Make sure that you first understand the theory that you are using to interpret the best answer to the issue that you identified in Week One. If you do not understand the theory, you will not be able to apply it adequately to the topic. This should be based on the primary text(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 be, and compare that with the same analysis of the available alternative action(s) or policy. Doing this can 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 says 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, then 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
PHI208: WEEK THREE ASSIGNMENT GUIDANCE
being used as a mere means. See the Required and Recommended Resources, as well as the textbook and Instructor Guidance, for examples.
The Objection
Raising an objection is an important part of philosophical argument, regardless of whether you agree or disagree with the objection.
The objection should articulate a plausible reason why someone might find the argument problematic. This can be a false or unsupported claim or assumption, fallacious reasoning, showing how the argument supports other conclusions that are unacceptable, etc.
The objection should avoid contradiction. For example, if you argued that deontological theory supports X as morally right, your objection cannot be something like, “Someone may oppose this argument on the grounds that they believe X is wrong.”
The objection cannot be that your original application was wrong. For example, if your original argument is that utilitarianism opposes X, the objection cannot be that utilitarianism actually supports X. You need to get the application right the first time. (However, you may find that the theory equally supports contradictory answers, which would be a legitimate objection.)
The objection should be explained clearly and charitably, even if you don’t support the objection. In other words, express the objection in such a way that someone actually making that objection would be happy with how you expressed it.
Consider the strongest objection that you can, even if you support the conclusion arrived at in the earlier part of the paper. Remember that your own position is greatly strengthened when you show that you have engaged honestly and thoughtfully with the strongest argument for the contrary position.
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.
PHI208: WEEK THREE ASSIGNMENT GUIDANCE
Checklist
This checklist can help you ensure that you have completed all of the assignment instructions.
Make sure that you
ü Provide an introduction that briefly describes the topic and the ethical problem at hand, the theory you have chosen to apply to the problem, the conclusion that is best supported by the theory, and the objection you will raise.
ü Explain the theory with sufficient detail to allow for a clear application to the problem.
ü Explain how the ethical theory applies to the question you have chosen to arrive at a position.
ü Show how the conclusion follows from the main tenets of the theory.
ü Utilize at least one Required Resource that defends or represents the theory, drawn from the list of acceptable resources.
ü Utilize at least one resource that pertains to the chosen topic, drawn from the Required or Recommended Resources in the course or from the Ashford University Library.
ü Raise a relevant objection to the argument.
ü Include a title page and list of references.
ü Proofread carefully for mechanical and grammatical errors.
ü Format the assignment in APA style.
ü Write at least 1000 words.
Carefully review the Grading Rubric for the criteria that will be used to evaluate your assignment.
Running head: SHORTENED TITLE                                                                                                          1                          
The Title of the Paper
First name Last name
PHI 208 Ethics and Moral Reasoning
Prof. Immanuel Kant
January 1, 2014
SHORTENED TITLE                                                                                                                            2
Title
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.
Theory Explanation
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
SHORTENED TITLE                                                                                                               3
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.
Theory Application
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
SHORTENED TITLE                                                                                                               4
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
SHORTENED TITLE                                                                                                               5
discussion, it should be clear what conclusion utilitarian or deontological reasoning would lead to on the issue.
Objection
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
SHORTENED TITLE                                                                                                               6
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.
Conclusion
Conclude your paper with a brief review the main claims and accomplishments of your essay.                                                                                            
Overview 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.
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.
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
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.)
Instructions 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 (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.. The paragraphs of your essay should conform to the following guidelines:
Introduction 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.
Application 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.
Objection 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.”
Conclusion The conclusion should very briefly summarize the main points of your essay.
Resource 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 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.

Posted in Uncategorized