Applying an Ethical Theory

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Applying an Ethical

Please read these assignment instructions before writing your paper, and
re-read them often during and after the writing process to make sure that you
are fulfilling all of the instructions.

The following short essay assignment is designed to help prepare you for an
important part of the Final Paper. In this essay, you will do the following:

  • Choose either the same ethical
    problem or question you discussed in the Week One Assignment, or a
    different one from the list of acceptable topics.
  • Choose either utilitarian or
    deontological ethical theory to apply to the ethical question.
  • Explain the core principles of
    that theory.
  • Demonstrate how the principles
    of the theory support a certain position on that question.
  • Articulate a relevant objection
    to the theory on the basis of that argument.

Write a five paragraph essay that conforms to the requirements below. The paper
must be 600 to 900 words in length (excluding title and reference pages) and
formatted according to APA style as outlined in the Ashford Writing Center. The
paragraphs of your essay should conform to the following guidelines:

  1. Introduction
    The introduction should be one paragraph, no more than 120 words. This
    should clearly delimit the ethical problem or question under
    consideration, and define the essential issues. You may build upon the
    problem you raised in the Week One Assignment, or you may choose a
    different topic, but it must be from the list of acceptable topics. 
    The last sentence of the introduction should briefly summarize the
    conclusion or position on this issue that you think is best supported by
    this theory, and succinctly state what the objection will be. Remember
    that your essay will not be concerned with your own position on this issue,
    but what someone defending the chosen theory would conclude.
  2. Body Paragraphs
    Each paragraph in the body should start with a topic sentence that clearly
    identifies the main idea of the paragraph. Each paragraph should have at
    least four sentences.
    1. Theory explanation:
      This should be approximately 150 to 200 words explaining the core
      principles or features of the deontological or utilitarian theory and the
      general account of moral behavior it provides.
  • You must quote from at least
    one required resource that defends or represents that theory. Please
    view this list of acceptable resources.
  • Application:
    This should be approximately 150 to 200 words, and should address how the
    principles or features of the deontological or utilitarian theory apply
    to the problem or question under consideration and identify the specific
    moral conclusion that results from that application.
    • Your application should
      clearly show how the conclusion follows from the main tenets of the
      theory as addressed in the previous paragraph. Please see the associated
      guidance for help in fulfilling this requirement.
  • Objection:
    This should be approximately 150 to 200 words raising a relevant
    objection to the argument expressed in part “b.” A relevant
    objection is one that exposes a weakness in the theory as it applies to
    your problem, and so you should explain how it brings out this weakness.
    • Note that this does not
      necessarily mean that the objection succeeds, or that the conclusion the
      theory supports is wrong. It may be an obstacle that any adequate
      defense of the conclusion would have to overcome, and it may be the case
      that the theory has the resources to overcome that obstacle. Your task
      here is simply to raise the objection or present the “obstacle”.
  • Conclusion
    The conclusion should be one paragraph, no more than 150 words. The
    conclusion should very briefly summarize the main points of your essay and
    must contain a paraphrased restatement of your thesis.
  • Resources Requirements:

    • You must use at least two
      resources to support your claims.
    • At least one of the resources
      should be one of the Required or Recommended resources that directly represent
      the theory you have chosen, and must be drawn from the list of acceptable resources.
    • The other source should pertain
      to the particular issue you are writing about, and should be drawn from
      the Required or Recommended readings in the course, or found in the
      Ashford Library.
    • You are encouraged to use
      additional resources, so long as at least two conform to the requirements
    • The textbook does not count
      toward satisfying the resources requirement.
    • To count toward satisfying the
      requirement, resources must be cited within the body of your paper and on
      the reference page and formatted according to APA style as outlined in the
      Writing Center.

    List of Acceptable
    Primary Resources for the Week 3 and Week 5 Assignments

    These are the primary
    resources that you can cite when explaining a moral theory in order to fulfill
    the relevant portion of the resources requirement. Readings included in the
    “Required Readings” list are indicated with a *.


    *Mill, J. S.
    Utilitarianism, in the original version in the textbook, or in the version by

    Bennett retrieved from

    Haines, W. (n.d.).
    Consequentialism. Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Retrieved from

    Singer, P. (2003).
    Voluntary euthanasia: A utilitarian perspective. Bioethics, 17(5/6), 526-541.

    Retrieved from the
    EBSCOhost database.


    * Kant, I. (2008). Groundwork for the metaphysic of morals. In J.
    Bennett (Ed. & Trans.), Early modern Philosophy. Retrieved from

    (Original work published in 1785).

    Virtue Ethics:* Aristotle. (350 B.C.E.). Nicomachean ethics (W. D.
    Ross, Trans.). Retrieved from

    Annas, J. (2006).
    Virtue ethics. In D. Copp (Ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Ethical Theory (pp.515–36).Oxford:
    Oxford University Press. Retrieved from

    Hursthouse, R. (2012).
    Virtue ethics. In E. Zalta (Ed.), The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Retrieved

    MacIntyre, A. (1984).
    After virtue. Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press. Chapters 14-15 are
    included in the Chapter 6 readings of the textbook.

    Feminist/Care Ethics:

    *Held, V. Feminist
    transformations of moral theory. Included in the Chapter 6 readings of the


    *Gilligan, C. (1982).
    In a different voice: Psychological theory and women’s development.

    Cambridge,MA: Harvard University Press. Retrieved from


    * Noddings, N. (2010). Maternal factor: Two paths to morality.
    Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. Retrieved from the ebrary

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