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.
In the Week 1 assignment, “Ethical Question,” you chose an ethical question, provided an introduction, a position statement and supporting reason, and an opposing position statement and supporting reason.
In the Week 3 assignment, “Applying an Ethical Theory,” you explained utilitarianism, deontology, or virtue ethics, including its core moral principle or ideal, and applied that theory to the topic by demonstrating how its principles would support a particular position on your ethical question.
In this final written assignment, you will combine what you have done in these two exercises by examining an ethical issue and defending your own position on an ethical question regarding that issue.
This final written assignment should be written in essay form with the following clearly labeled sections:
- Ethical Argument
- Explanation and Defense
- Objection and Response
The paper should be between 1,300 and 1,500 words, utilize three scholarly resources, and include a title page and reference page.
Part 1: Introduction
In this section of the paper, you will begin with your ethical question, introduce the topic and paper, and close with a thesis statement.
- The ethical question may be the same as your Week 3 written assignment (“Applying an Ethical Theory”) or a revised version of it.
- The introduction should be revised in a way that reflects your additional thinking on the issue and question.
- End this section with a thesis statement that states your position on the issue (the answer to the ethical question you believe is strongest) and provides a brief summary of the main ideas you will be presenting in the paper. Please see the assignment guidance for examples of thesis statements.
Place the introduction under the Part 1: Introduction heading.
Part 2: Ethical Argument
In this section of the paper, you will present the strongest argument you can in support of the position you have stated in your introduction.
- This will be similar to the “supporting reasons” you offered in the first assignment; however, this argument should reflect your research into the key ethical issues that need to be identified and addressed, the arguments on different sides of this problem, and the theories of moral reasoning we have studied in the class (you will discuss the specific details and implications of the moral theories in the next two sections).
- You can think of this as a summary of the main argument you would give if you were an attorney trying to convince a jury of your position.
Place this information under the Part 2: Ethical Argument heading.
Part 3: Explanation and Defense
In this section, you will explain and defend your argument by drawing on the moral theory that aligns most closely with the argument you presented in Part 2. This may be the same theory you discussed in your second assignment, but it may also be a different theory.
- You must first explain the theory in general terms similar to how you explained a theory in your second assignment, including a brief account of the historical background of the theory and the philosopher(s) associated with it and general overview of the core moral ideal or principle of the theory, including the way it guides and constrains moral reasoning.
- You should then clearly show how your argument represents an application of that form of moral reasoning.
- In other words, if the argument you present in Part 2 is utilitarian, deontological, or virtue-based (teleological), you will want to explain utilitarianism, deontology, or virtue ethics in general terms, then explain how your argument from Part 2 reflects or draws upon the core principles and values of that theory. Please refer to the Week 3 assignment instructions for directions on how to explain and apply the moral theory.
Place this section under the Part 3: Explanation and Defense heading.
Part 4: Objection and Response
In this section of the paper, you will present the strongest objection you can to your argument, and briefly defend that objection by appealing to a different ethical theory than the one you focused on in Part 3.
- Briefly explain the core moral ideal or principle of the theory and how that could be the basis of an objection to your argument. For instance, if you explained and defended your own argument by applying the principles of virtue ethics, you could raise an objection from the perspective of utilitarianism by briefly explaining the core utilitarian principle and how applying that principle could lead someone to a different conclusion than the one you are defending.
- Next, you should respond to the objection by explaining why it is not strong enough to undermine the main argument in defense of your position.
- See the assignment guidance for suggestions on how to effectively respond to the objection.
Place this section under the Part 4: Objection and Response heading.
Part 5: Conclusion
In this section of the paper, provide a summary of what you have done in the paper by briefly describing what you accomplished in each of the above sections.
Place this section under the Part 5: Conclusion heading.
You must use at least three scholarly resources, only one of which may be the textbook. In other words, you must use at least two scholarly resources in addition to the textbook.
Acceptable ways of using a source include providing a quotation, summary, or paraphrase; merely providing a citation, especially when it is unclear how or where the text supports your claim, is not sufficient.
If you need help with finding additional resources or are unsure about whether a particular resource will count toward the requirement, please contact your instructor.
For sources to count toward the resources requirement, they must be cited within the text of your paper and on the reference page. Sources that are listed on the references page but not cited within the paper do not count toward fulfilling the resources requirement.
In your paper,
- Introduce the topic and paper.
- Provide a thesis statement.
- Present an argument in support of the position.
- Defend the argument by explaining and applying the ethical theory that most closely aligns with the argument.
- Present an objection to the argument by appealing to a different ethical theory.
- Respond to the objection.
- Provide a conclusion that describes what was accomplished in each of the sections of the paper.
The Ethical Reasoning Final Paper
- Must be 1,300 to 1,500 words in length (not including title and references pages) and formatted according to APA style as outlined in the Ashford Writing Center’s APA Style (Links to an external site.)resource.
- Must include a separate title page with the following:
- Title of paper
- Student’s name
- Course name and number
- Instructor’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 use at least two scholarly sources in addition to the course text.
- 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 Center’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.