Final Paper Assignment

Final Paper Guidelines

Phil 191: Introduction to Ethics

Choose one of the topics we discussed in class and formulate it into a question. For example: Should animals have rights? How should we distribute resources in a just way?  (Do not choose Utilitarianism, Kant, or Virtue theory, as we already wrote a paper on those topics.)

The purpose of this paper is to create a dialogue with the philosophers already engaged in answering this question. Pick two philosophers and summarize their method of addressing the question and offer your opinion of the quality of their answers. Do you agree with one, both, or neither of them? Which parts of their theories do you agree or disagree? Then add your opinion to the discussion. Your thesis should be a direct answer to this question and your paper should support the thesis with examples and clear writing.

Topic Proposal Assignment (Due in class – printed out):

Answer the following three questions completely:

1.   What is the topic? (Write one full paragraph to explain the topic)

2.   What is the question your paper will answer?

3.   Which two philosophers are you writing on? (Name the philosophers and write which position they take on the topic.)

Paper Outline Assignment (Due in class – printed out):

Your paper will need to follow the structure below. For full credit you need to write one paragraph for each section. The outline should be a total of at least 1-2 pages.

Final Paper Structure:

I.         Introduction Paragraph & Thesis Statement – Write an introduction including the topic, the questions and your thesis. (one paragraph)

II.        Introduce the topic (One paragraph; same as topic statement due a week earlier)

III.      Explain which philosophers are involved in this issue and explain their arguments.

Explain all the major terms and use quotes from the readings to help illustrate the theories. This is the most important part of the paper, so explain each philosopher carefully. You should write several paragraphs for each philosopher.

a.   Philosopher A argues…

b.   Philosopher B argues…

IV.       Explain your argument. How does it fit into the conversation?

V.        Explain the possible counterargument to your argument.

VI.       Explain why your argument succeeds over the counterargument.

Possible Questions

Why do people get together and form a society? Should animals have rights?

What is the best way to distribute resources in a just society? Do we have a duty to obey unjust laws?

Are we morally obligated to donate money to people in developing nations?

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