Assignment Instructions

Goal: The goal of this assignment is to get the student started on the Final Paper, with feedback from the Instructor.

Course Objectives:  Create a framework for developing one’s own ethical and moral philosophy.

Description: This assignment is a proposal for the Final Paper with an annotated “bibliography.” 

This proposal should include an ethical topic that you will critique with one of our main ethical theories (see below).  The proposal and annotated bibliography together should be about 350 words.  The bibliography should include a list of a minimum of three academic resources you will use to begin your research on the topic.  One of them can be an encyclopedia article ( Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy or Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy) One should be an academically, peer-reviewed journal article.  One can be from an credible internet resource such as Crash Course videos or other scholarly, video resources. Depending on the topic, you may use websites or other credible online resources (NO Wikipedia).

These resources will form your beginning References (or Works Cited).  The bibliography should be annotated, which means that you should explain in one or two sentences why each resource is helpful and how you plan to use it.  The proposal as a whole does not need to be in a particular style, but your references should be in the citation style you use in your program (APA, MLA, Turabian, et cetera). 

Example of annotated bibliography in MLA formatting: 

Green, Hank. “Aristotle & Virtue Theory: Crash Course Philosophy # 38.” Crash Course 5 Dec, 2016.  Accessed 26 Nov, 2019. 

This video will be used to provide a background understanding of Aristotle’s virtue theory and how to apply the golden mean to various virtues. 

For this assignment, match one of the following ethical theories from Western Civilization with a contemporary topic of your choice.  When considering a contemporary topic, think about current events, some ethical issue you are passionate about, or an ethical issue you know a lot about, or perhaps even encounter in your professional or personal life.  If you have questions regarding selecting an issue please ask your Instructor for guidance.  If you are stumped on a topic, here is a good website with dozens of topics and cases. If you have writing questions, please see the University Writing Center.

For example: Say you want to look at climate change. To do this properly, you would need to evaluate it through the lens of one or more ethical theory. Possible thesis statement: “I will first examine Aristotle’s Virtue Theory and explore his golden mean for establishing what constitutes a virtuous action. Then I will use this information to address the need to do more concerning climate change. Specifically, I will discuss three virtues – modesty, temperance and magnanimity – as virtues that lead us to respect and work to save the planet.”

When considering what ethical theory to apply to that topic, here is a short list, but it can be expanded in conjunction with your Instructor’s approval. 

  • Aristotelian Virtue Ethics
  • Immanuel Kant’s Deontological Ethics
  • Jeremy Bentham/John Stuart Mill’s Utilitarianism
  • Social Contract Theory
  • Divine Command Theory Or Natural Law Theory
  • John Rawls’ Theory of Justice
  • Ethical Egoism (not psychological egoism)
  • Evolutionary Morality
  • Care Ethics
  • Ethical Relativism
  • Prima Facie Duties (W. D. Ross)

  If you need help coming up with an idea of an ethical issue to critique with your ethical theory, you can begin by taking a look at the following website, but don’t feel constrained by this list.  This is an opportunity for you to be creative in your thinking and to do something that you are interested in learning more about!

ETHICAL ISSUES IN CONTEMPORARY CULTURE Adam Blatner, M.D. Revised … The list below is meant to be evocative rather than comprehensive.