Moral Issues

1) Find an instance of a moral issue in everyday life. With a little reflection, one can see the issues we are considering this semester instantiated almost everywhere in everyday life. This makes sense, since Philosophy is concerned with the broadest and most fundamental questions, and Ethics concerns itself with how we should live our lives.  For example, a publicized court case may involve several moral issues (e.g. freedom vs. determinism, utilitarian vs. deontological conceptions of the good), or the exploration of a piece of literature or poetry may lead to the consideration of certain philosophical questions (e.g. about the nature of morality, or about the moral permissibility of some action). Section III of the Cahn text is concerned with contemporary moral dilemmas, such euthanasia, abortion, capital punishment, and affirmative action. This is a good place to start. Of course, if you are already interested in some moral issue, such as animal rights or world poverty, then you might want to begin by doing some reading in that area.  You may look wherever you please, from pop culture (e.g. the news, literature, music, movies, etc.) to other academic disciplines (e.g. Physics, Psychology, Computer Science, Biology, etc.) and everywhere in between, but you must meet 2 requirements – 1) all proposals must be submitted to me in writing via e-mail for approval (just a paragraph) and 2) you must be able to provide well-documented support for your sources.  2) Identify the issue clearly. Spend some time in your paper providing a clear statement of the moral issue in question, citing at least our course text as a source, and any other sources you employ in your discussion. What are the surface questions being raised in the area you have chosen, and what deeper questions do they lead to? Once this is done, it is vital that you show how the issue is exemplified or reached once the situation is considered carefully. Exactly how does this philosophical issue show up in the area you have chosen? Is there anything about the way in which it shows up that sheds light on the issue? 3) Discuss some of the various approaches to this issue, within he context of what we are learning this semester (Texts will be provided). Philosophical issues are contentious, and so another task of yours will be to provide an account of some of the ways philosophers have responded to the issues you are considering. What are the some of the differing views concerning this issue? Given what you have learned this semester, which side of this issue do you think makes the better case, and how so? Strive to make your writing as clear as possible. Keep the language simple but accurate, and revise you writing to improve the logical flow of the paper from one idea to the next. Support all of your claims with reference to published sources. As already noted, you are free to find other sources for this project, but you must be able to document them in order to avoid suspicion of plagiarism. The result will be a paper of at least 6-8 pages, MLA style, 12-point font, double-spaced, to be submitted no later than the date of the final examination.

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