Spring 2017

Assignment 3: Ethics Essay

Date Due:

Rough Draft—Mon. April 17

Final Draft—Wed. April 19

Answer Option One or Option Two.
Option One is political and global. Option Two is personal.

Answer the question(s) posed in the option you choose. Your paper must be 1200 to 1500 words. Your grade will be determined by the effort you put into thinking about the moral implications of your topic, and by the depth with which you consider them. In writing this paper, it is important you write about something that matters to you, whether global or personal. Option one is essentially an Argumentative essay; option two is a Narrative essay. (Both papers can use first person.)

Option One:

What obligations do we, as human beings, have to one another, to other species, to the planet itself? Choose one of the many issues facing humans that are global in scope—for example, global warming. Consider the moral implications for the planet of national and corporate decision-making and power. Are the decisions surrounding the issue you’ve chosen arising from moral dilemma? Begin your paper by explaining the circumstances that surround the issue you’ve chosen. Explain what you think would be the best guiding policy regarding this issue and defend your position. Explain what you are relying on to guide your thinking, and why your position is the best option. Acknowledge at least one opposing viewpoint and explain why there could be disagreement about what’s right.

Option Two:

Describe an event in your life that led to an ethical decision on your part. Pick something that actually challenged your sense of morality, an ethical dilemma. Begin by telling the circumstances that surrounded the situation. Then explain the decision you made, and describe how you arrived at that decision. Explain what you relied on to guide you as you made your decision and tell why your course of action was your best option—or why it wasn’t if that’s how you see it now. Describe what the outcome of the decision was and what you felt like after you made the decision. Consider whether there’s an opposing viewpoint to your stand and explain why there could be disagreement about your decision. In retrospect, what do you think about the decision?

Questions to Consider

You do not have to address these questions, but they may help you think about your paper. You can include any of these questions in your paper.
  1. How do you determine what you ought to do?
  2. How do you determine what is morally right and wrong?
  3. Do universal moral principles exist?
  4. Should reason be the sole basis for determining what actions are morally right or wrong?
  5. What is justice?
  6. How do you determine if something is just?
  7. Is justice universal or is it a human social construct?
  8. Does justice exist outside human society?
  9. Do the ends ever justify the means?
  10. Can “an eye for an eye” ever be morally justified?
  11. What ethical obligation do people have when it comes to other people, strangers as well as friends and family?