To ensure that your initial post starts its own unique thread, do not reply to this post. Instead, please click the â€œReplyâ€ link above this post.
Please read the general discussion requirements above, as well as the announcements explaining the discussion requirements and answering the most frequently asked questions. If you are still unsure about how to proceed with the discussion, please reply to one of those announcements or contact your instructor.
Please carefully read and think about the entire prompt before composing your first post. This discussion will require you to have carefully read Chapter 4 of the textbook, as well as the assigned portions of Immanuel Kantâ€™s (2008) Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals.
Kantâ€™s text and the textbook discuss two â€œformulationsâ€ or ways of expressing Kantâ€™s Categorical Imperative, the â€œFormula of Universal Lawâ€ and the â€œFormula of Humanity.â€ For each formula, Kant considers four test cases to explain how it applies: Suicide, False Promises, Cultivating Oneâ€™s Talents, and Beneficence.
1. Engage with the text:
Choose one of these test cases (it can be from either formula), and explain in your own words the reasoning that leads to the conclusion Kant defends. You should first explain the Categorical Imperative itself, focusing on the particular formula you are considering, and then carefully show how that principle leads to a particular conclusion.
2. Reflect on the theories:
Would a utilitarian come to a different conclusion? If so, explain why. If a utilitarian would come to the same conclusion in this case, could there be a variation in the case that would lead the utilitarian and Kant to come to different conclusions?
3. Reflect on yourself:
Do you agree with Kantâ€™s conclusion? If not, explain the flaws in his reasoning. If you do agree, and you think a utilitarian would come to a different conclusion in this or a slightly varied case, why do you think that Kantâ€™s reasoning is superior to the utilitarianâ€™s? (You may want to consult section 4.3, â€œChallenges to Kantâ€™s Theoryâ€ for help with this section).
Week 3 – Assignment
Applying an Ethical Theory
[WLO: 4] [CLOs: 1, 2, 3, 4]
Please read these assignment instructions before writing your paper as they contain very precise and specific instructions on both the content and format requirements. You should download the provided outline and use that to structure your paper, and also consult the assignment guidance and modeled example for additional help. Finally, before submitting your assignment please use the checklist to ensure that you have completed all of the requirements.
This course has three written assignments that build upon one another and are designed to take you step-by-step through a process of writing a paper that identifies an ethical question, examines the context, issues, and arguments surrounding the question, and attempts to defend an answer to that question using strong moral reasoning.
This second written assignment is a four-part exercise comprised of the following sections:
- Ethical Question
- Explanation of the Ethical Theory
- Application of the Ethical Theory
For sections (1) and (2) revise and expand on what you did in the first assignment.
Sections (3) and (4) are new.
The main purpose of this paper is to define the nature and scope of the ethical theory in a way that shows how the core principle(s) of that theory lead to a specific moral conclusion on your ethical question. Another way to think of this is to explain how someone who is fully committed to the moral reasoning of the ethical theory would answer your ethical question (even if it is not necessarily how you would answer the question).
The assignment should be 900 to 1,000 words, written in essay form with clearly labeled sections as indicated below, and include a title page and reference page.
Part 1: Ethical Question
State the ethical question beneath this heading.
- This question should be on the same topic as the question presented in the week one assignment, and if necessary, revised based on your instructorâ€™s comments and the additional insight and information you have gained from research on the topic. If you would like to switch topics, you should first consult with your instructor.
Place your ethical question beneath the Part 1: Ethical Question heading.
Part 2: Introduction
Provide an introduction to the topic and question.
- This should be revised and expanded from the Week 1 Introduction in light of your instructorâ€™s comments and the additional insight and information you have gained from research on the topic.
- For instance, you may find that your original ideas about the issue have changed and clarified, that the focus of the ethical question has shifted or become more specific, and/or that there are important background and contextual details that need to be explained.
- The revised introduction should reflect your additional thinking on the scope and significance of the ethical issue, and address any feedback provided by your instructor.
- The introduction should be at least 300 words in one or two paragraphs.
Place the introduction material under the Part 2: Introduction heading.
Part 3: Explanation of the Ethical Theory
Ethical theories provide accounts of how to reason well about moral questions and of what justifies answers to those questions. In this section of the paper, you will discuss either the ethical theory of utilitarianism, deontology, or virtue ethics.
You should not discuss your topic in this section, but focus only on the ethical theory.
The discussion should include the following elements:
- A brief account of the historical background of the theory and the philosopher(s) associated with it.
- An explanation of the core moral principle of the theory, or if there is more than one, the principle that you will focus on in applying that theory to your question.
- A brief, general explanation of how the theory and its core moral principle applies to moral questions, using an example different from the issue that is the main focus of your paper. (For example, if your focus is on how deontology applies to using animals in medical research, you could explain Kantâ€™s moral theory by discussing how it would apply to an issue like lying for the sake of the greater good.)
- This section should focus only on the ethical theory. For instance, if you are discussing physician-assisted suicide from a utilitarian perspective, this section should only discuss utilitarianism in general terms; you should not discuss physician-assisted suicide, euthanasia, or other related topics until the next section.
- The discussion should be around 300 words and must incorporate at least one quote from the required resources on the ethical theory you have chosen to discuss. Required resources include the textbook chapter focused on that theory (3, 4, or 5) or the â€œPrimary Sourcesâ€ listed at the end of Chapters 3-5.
Place this section under the Part 3: Ethical Theory heading.
Part 4: Application of the Ethical Theory
Now that you have explained in general terms the core principle of the ethical theory you are focusing on in this paper, you will apply that theory and its core principle to your ethical question.
- Explain as clearly and precisely as you can how that principle leads to a particular conclusion.
- You can think of that conclusion as the answer someone would most likely give to your question if they were reasoning along the utilitarian, deontological, or virtue ethics lines you explained in Part 3.
- Note: This conclusion does not need to be the same as the position you stated in the Week 1 assignment. In fact, it could be the opposing position you discussed there. See the remarks about main purpose of the paper above.
- This section should be around 300 words.
Place this section under the Part 4: Application of the Ethical Theory section.
In your paper,
- Identify the ethical question.
- Introduce the topic and question.
- Explain the ethical theory of utilitarianism, deontology, or virtue ethics.
- Apply the selected ethical theory to the ethical question.
The Applying an Ethical Theory paper
- Must be 900 words in length (not including title and references pages) and formatted according to APA style as outlined in the Ashford Writing Centerâ€™s APA Style (Links to an external site.) resource.
- Must include a separate title page with the following:
- Title of paper
- Studentâ€™s name
- Course name and number
- Instructorâ€™s name
- Date submitted
For further assistance with the formatting and the title page, refer to APA Formatting for Word 2013 (Links to an external site.).
- Must utilize academic voice. See the Academic Voice (Links to an external site.) resource for additional guidance.
- Must quote from at least one of the required resources on the selected ethical theory.
- The Scholarly, Peer Reviewed, and Other Credible Sources (Links to an external site.) table offers additional guidance on appropriate source types. If you have questions about whether a specific source is appropriate for this assignment, please contact your instructor. Your instructor has the final say about the appropriateness of a specific source for a particular assignment.
- Must document any information used from sources in APA style as outlined in the Ashford Writing Centerâ€™s Citing Within Your Paper (Links to an external site.) guide.
Must include a separate references page that is formatted according to APA style as outlined in the Ashford Writing Center. See the Formatting Your References List (Links to an external site.) resource in the Ashford Writing Center for specifications.
Carefully review the Grading Rubric (Links to an external site.) for the criteria that will be used to evaluate your assignment.