Moral theory and applied ethics

Essay paper Topic: Moral Theory and Applied Ethics

The essay objectives are the following: demonstrate a knowledge of ethical theory such as metaethical and normative theories (Parts 1 and 2); discuss your own moral development with justification for your current moral posture or ethical code (Part 3); apply this formal and personal knowledge to articulate the philosophical arguments of a contemporary ethical topic and the arguments for your own position.

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Introduction: a direct summary of the presentation on topic, thesis, and preview.

Part 1 Metaethics (use 2-3 paragraphs)

Briefly explain what is metaethics and how you can use it as one of your new tools for engaging ethical issues or debates.

Articulate how you can now understand ethics through the lens of objectivism v. relativism. Articulate these metaethical positions with some examples from the reading or that have encountered in your own life.

Present some of the arguments for or against each position, especially those found in Boss. You may also add others. Be careful not to cite sociological relativism as a moral theory or to present objectivism as absolutism. Write as if you are teaching students about metaethics (theoretical ethics).

Part 2 A Normative Theory (use several paragraphs)

First, briefly explain what is normative ethics. How does it relates to the other fields of ethics such as theoretical and applied ethics? 

Second, present one of the major normative theories such as non-consequentialism (deontology), consequentialism, virtue ethics, feminine ethics of care, etc. Pick a theory of interest or pick a normative theory that will be utilized in presenting the ethical arguments.

Third, discuss at least one strength and one weakness of this normative approach.

Part 3 My Own Moral Code (2-3 paragraphs)

“Know Thyself.” Consider your own ethical background and the principles or people that inform it. What are the sources (metaethics) that grounded your morality and what were the ways (normative ethics) that determined right and wrong–before you ever took this class? Offer some examples.

Where are you now in terms of moral philosophy with respect to metaethics and normative theory? Do you ground your ethics in relativism or objectivism? And if the latter, then which normative theories do you tend to employ? You have done some of this work in Reflections 1 and 2. Don’t just explain that you are an objectivist and, for example, subscribe to rights theory. Give an argument for why you take the position or follow a code. “ I am a universalists because I believe that all animals, and especially mammals such as whales have the right not to be killed by any individual or any country despite the fact that such killing is a cultural practice by some nations.”

Part 4 Applied Ethics (2-3 paragraphs)

Present an ethical issue that we have not covered thus far. There are a list of topics and materials in the syllabus and under Content for Topic 5. You may use other resources as long as they are presented by philosophers or ethicists in a professional publication–if you are unsure, then check with me.

Present at least two major, and preferably opposing, arguments. Identify the normative theory that propels the argument. For example, Roberts uses a non-consequential theory of natural law to argue for equality of pay. Morris employs the consequential theory of utilitarianism to argue for the death penalty. Explain the argument. Some of the materials that I’ve included under Topic 5 and other chapters of Timmons identify the normative arguments.

Finally, argue for your own position. Do you affirm one of the presented arguments or something else? Justify the metaethical basis and normative approach of your position.

Conclusion: A conclusion in philosophy provides a summary. Closing paragraphs restate the thesis and the structure with the results of the explorations or arguments. In many ways, it is similar to restating the introduction with additional details. Be specific in the conclusion but do not introduce new concepts or make speculations about the future.

To be typed in Times New Roman 12 point font and also double spaced MLA format.


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