PHI 208 Ethics and Moral Reasoning homework

Applying an Ethical Theory


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. Please also utilize the assignment guidance and the outlined model provided.

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 question you formulated and introduced in the Week One Assignment, or a different one based off 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 that position.

Write a five-paragraph essay that conforms to the requirements below. The paper must be at least 1,000 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:

    • Introduction
      The introduction should clearly state the ethical question under consideration, and define the essential issues. You may build upon the question and introduction you provided in the Week One Assignment; or you may choose a different question, but it must be based off the list of acceptable topics. Your introduction should include a brief remark about the kind of theory you will be using to approach this question. The last sentence of the introduction should briefly summarize the or position on the issue you think is best supported by this theory and succinctly state what the objection will be. Bear in mind that your essay will not be concerned with your own position on this issue, but what someone reasoning along the lines of the chosen theory would conclude; this may or may not be the position you took in the Week One Assignment.


    • Body Paragraphs
      Each paragraph in the body should start with a topic sentence that clearly identifies the main idea of the paragraph.
        • Theory explanation
          Explain the core principles or features of the deontological or utilitarian theory and the general account of moral reasoning it provides.

          You must quote from at least one required resource other than your textbook that defends or represents that theory. Refer to the list of acceptable resources.

        • Application
          Demonstrate how the principles or features of the deontological or utilitarian theory apply to the question under consideration and identify the specific conclusion that results from applying the reasoning characteristic of that kind of approach.

          Your application should clearly show how the conclusion follows from the main principles and features of the theory as addressed in the previous paragraph. Please see the associated guidance for help in fulfilling this requirement.

      • Objection
        Raise a relevant objection to the argument expressed in your application. An objection articulates a plausible reason why someone might find the argument problematic. This can be a false or unsupported claim or assumption, fallacious reasoning, a deep concern about what the conclusion involves, a demonstration of how the argument supports other conclusions that are unacceptable, etc. You should aim to explain this objection as objectively as possible, (i.e., in a way that would be acceptable to someone who disagrees with the argument from the previous paragraph).

        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 very briefly summarize the main points of your essay.

Resource 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 represent the theory you have chosen, and must be drawn from the list of acceptable resources available in your online classroom.
  • 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 be a scholarly source found in the Ashford Unversity Library.
  • You are encouraged to use additional resources, so long as at least two conform to the requirements above.
  • 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 Ashford Writing Center.
  • If you are unsure about whether a resource fulfills the requirement, or need assistance in finding resources, please contact your instructor.
    These are the topics on which you are to formulate an ethical question to address in your papers, along with a few
    example sub
    -topics to help you narrow things down. You should peruse the list of required and recommend readings on
    each topic for fur
    ther ideas (the weeks containing those lists is next to the topic heading), and you might think about or do
    some research into
    specific controversies that have appeared in the news, that you have heard about, or that you may have
    personally encountered.
    lease consult the guidance on formulating an ethical question to help you with that task.
    Just War/Military Ethics (Weeks Three and Four)

    The circumstances under which it is or is not legitimate to use military force against another group or country

    The conditions under which killing another person is or is not justified within the context of military action

    When it is or is not legitimate to use certain controversial weapons to conduct military operations, such as drones,
    nuclear weapons, chemical and bi
    ological weapons, carpet bombs, etc.

    Disobeying unjust or illegal orders given by one’s superiors

    The kinds of actions or responsesare characteristic of “virtuous” military personnel and their opposites, and how
    we should understand those virtues.
    and Equality (Week Five)

    Sexual harassment in the workplace

    Equal pay for equal work

    Hiring discrimination

    Portrayals of men and women in the media or advertising

    The difference that feminine approaches might make to a specific ethical issue

    ty to Animals (Week Two)

    Raising animals in factory farm conditions

    Raising animals in alternative farming conditions

    Hunting animals for sport

    Using animals for scientific research, testing cosmetics, etc.

    Consuming animal products (meat, dairy, eggs, leather, fur, etc.) obtained from animals raised in poor conditions

    Responsibility to the Environment
    (Week Four)

    Business practices that impact the environment

    Individual behaviors and choices that impact the environment

    The balancing of governmental regulations intended to protect the environment with individual liberty

    Climate Change

    Clearing forests for farmland

    Protecting wilderness areas

    Protecting endangered species
    End of Life Medical Issues (Week One)

    Physicianassisted suicide

    Voluntary active euthanasia

    Non-voluntary active euthanasia(such as seriously ill infants, people with dementia or brain damage, etc.)

    Active vs. passive euthanasia

    Euthanasia and/or physicianassisted suicide for nonstandard reasons, such as non-terminal conditions (pain,
    disability, depression,
    free choice, etc.)
    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.
    * Indicates r
    eadings included in the “Required Readings” portion of the course.
    Mill, John Stuart.
    Utilitarianism, in the original version in the textbook, or in the version by Jonathan Bennett. Retrieved

    See the guidance for the required portions of the text.
    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.
    Kant, Immanuel.
    Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals in the original version in the textbook, or in the version by
    Jonathan Bennett. R
    etrieved from

    See the guidance for the required portions of the text.
    O’Neill, O. (1993). A
    simplified account of Kant’s ethics. In T. Regan (Ed.) Matters of Life and Death, 411-415.
    Retrieved from’Neill, Kant.pdf

    *Aristotle. (1931).
    Nicomachean ethics. (W.D. Ross, Trans.). Oxford, GBR: Clarendon Press. Retrieved from

    See the guidance for the required portions of the text.
    Hursthouse, R.
    (2012). Virtue ethics. In E. Zalta (Ed.), The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Retrieved from
    MacIntyre, A
    . (1984). After virtue. Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press.

    Chapters 14-15 are included in Chapter 6 of the text.

    Feminist/Care Ethics
    Held, V. “
    Feminist transformations of moral theory.

    Included in Chapter 6 of the text. See the guidance for the required portions of the text.
    *Gilligan, C. (1982).
    In a different voice: Psychological theory and women’s development. Cambridge, MA: Harvard
    University Press. Retrieved from In a Different Voice.pdf
    *Noddings, N. (2010).
    Maternal factor: Two paths to morality. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. (213-220)

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