Phi 208 ethics and moral reasoning week 1 assignment

Thesis Construction

Choose one of the following issues and write a five paragraph essay in which you provide three reasons why the issue is ethically significant. The paragraphs of your essay should conform to the following guidelines:

  1. Paragraph 1:
    Provide a brief introduction to the issue. Your introduction must make clear to the reader exactly what issue you are choosing and what you take to be the boundaries of the issue. For example, if you were writing on criminal punishment, you would need to make clear whether you were considering only imprisonment and harsher penalties, or whether you were also considering penalties such as fines for speeding. (Note, you may not write on criminal punishment, this is just an example). The final sentence of your paragraph must be a thesis sentence which lists the three reasons you will put forward in your essay.
  2. Paragraphs 2, 3, and 4:
    The first sentence of each paragraph must be a topic sentence that clearly states what reason you will be considering. The remainder of the paragraph should make clear why this is a reason for thinking the issue you have chosen is ethically significant. Each paragraph must contain at least four sentences.
  3. Paragraph 5:
    Conclude your essay by very briefly reviewing the three reasons you have discussed and why they show the issue is ethically significant. Your paragraph should contain a paraphrased restatement of your thesis.

Your ultimate goal in this assignment is to create a thesis in relation to a debatable ethical topic from the list below and to begin examining the reasons that you have for the position that you take on the topic. Please read the instructions for the Final Paper before starting this project. The following are the general topics from which you must create your thesis. The questions under each topic are meant to help inspire your thinking. You should not attempt to write on all the questions. The Final Paper will only be five to six pages, so it is important that you use these questions to create a much more specific topic that you will address in your Final Paper. Again, do not attempt to answer all of these questions. Instead, use these questions as a springboard for the creation of your own concrete and clearly defined thesis statements. To the right of the topics, you will find the weeks in which these topics are covered in the course. Please go to those weeks and begin using the resources in those weeks to gather information for your papers.

Just War/Military Ethics (Weeks Two and Four)

  • What are some circumstances that would make a war just or unjust?  
  • Are there ways of conducting a war that should be defended as just?  
  • Are there ways of conducting a war that should be opposed as unjust?  
  • What kinds of virtues do persons in the military need?  
    • What sorts of behavior might those virtues require?  
    • What sorts of behavior would be contrary to those virtues?  
  • Are there times when a soldier’s virtues and/or duties may conflict?  
    • How should a soldier act in such circumstances?

Ethics Concerning the Needy (Week Five)

  • Are those with more morally required to give aid to those with less?
  • Is it wrong to enjoy luxuries when others lack basic needs?
  • Should we regard all people as having equal worth and dignity? What does that imply about our obligations toward them when they are in need?
  • Are there ways of aiding the needy that are morally better than others?

Gender Ethics (Week Five)

  • What does it mean to say that women and men are equal? What does it not mean?
  • Are there ways in which women and men are treated differently that are unjust?  
  • Are there ways in which women and men are treated differently that are just?  
  • Are there social structures, cultural trends (such as in media or advertising), or other aspects of our society that convey and sustain gender inequality?
    • What should our response to them be as individuals?  
    • What should our response to them be as societies?  
  • Are there certain religious or cultural beliefs or practices that convey and sustain gender inequalities?  
    • What should our response to them be as individuals?  
    • What should our response to them be as societies?

Business Ethics (Week Three)

  • Should businesses aim primarily at making as much profit as possible within the law? If not, what aims are of equal or greater importance?
  • What kinds of practices would an ethical business engage in? What kinds of practices would it avoid?
  • How should companies or managers treat their employees?
  • What should one do when working for an employer whose practices appear unethical?  
    • Do employees have obligations beyond simply performing their assigned tasks well?  
  • Do businesses have different moral obligations toward employees of other countries whose labor laws are different than those of their home country?  
  • What obligations, if any, do businesses have toward the communities from which they profit (this might include communities from which they draw resources, labor, and/or customers)?  
  • What are the virtues of a good business owner and/or leader in some particular industry?  
  • What are the virtues of a good employee in some particular industry?

Ethics Regarding Animals and/or the Environment (Weeks Two and Four)

Environment

  • What does it mean to respect the environment in the way we as individuals live our lives?
    • What kinds of behaviors would that involve?  
    • What kinds of behaviors would that exclude?
  • Do we as individuals have moral obligations toward the environment when our own behavior has very little direct effect on the overall state of things?  
  • How should we weigh human needs and/or desires against environmental impact?  
  • Does a government have an obligation to care for its natural resources as well as its human citizens?  
    • How should the answer to this question effect political policy?

Animals

  • What does it mean to respect non-human animals in the way we as individuals live our lives?
    • What kinds of behaviors would that involve?  
    • What kinds of behaviors would that exclude?
  • Do we as individuals have moral obligations toward non-human animals when our own behavior has very little direct effect on the overall state of things?  
  • How should we weigh human needs and/or desires against those of non-human animals?  
  • Does a government have an obligation to care for non-human animals as well as its human citizens?  
    • How should the answer to this question effect political policy?

End of Life Medical Issues (Week One)

  • Do people have a right to end their lives whenever they choose to?  
  • Can people be mistaken about whether their life has value and ought to be ended?  
    • Does the answer to this question effect the answer to the first question?  
  • Can we set polices that determine in each case what the value of human life is and when it should or should not be ended?  
    • Does the answer to this question effect the answer to the first question?  
  • Does it make a difference whether a person’s life is ended by an act of active killing, or whether it is simply allowed to expire?  
    • Does it make a difference whether the agent (i.e., the person causing the death), in either case, is the person himself or herself or someone else (such as a doctor)?
  • Is there a limit to the amount of resources we should allocate toward the preservation of a life in the face of limited resources for other healthcare needs?  
  • Considering lives that are on the brink of death, under what circumstances (if any) would it be ethically wrong to prolong that life?  
    • Under what circumstances (if any) would it be ethically required to prolong that life?
    • Under what circumstances (if any) would it be ethically required to end that life?

 

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