PHI208 Ashford University Week 1 Ethics and Moral Reasoning Questions

Week 1 – Assignment

Ethical Question

[WLO: 4] [CLOs: 1, 5]

Prior to beginning work on this assignment, read Chapter 1 of the textbook. This chapter will introduce you to the basic form and subject matter of ethical reasoning and assist you as you select an ethical question, examine the context, issues, and arguments surrounding the question, and attempt to defend an answer to the question.

Please read these assignment instructions before writing your paper as they contain very precise and specific instructions on both the content and format requirements. You should download the provided outline and use that to structure your paper, as well as consult the assignment guidance and modeled example for additional help. Finally, before submitting your assignment please use the checklist to ensure that you have completed all of the requirements.

Overview

This course has three written assignments that build upon one another and are designed to take you step-by-step through a process of writing a paper that identifies an ethical question, examines the context, issues, and arguments surrounding the question, and attempts to defend an answer to that question using strong moral reasoning.

This first written assignment is a six-part exercise comprised of the following sections:

  1. Ethical Question
  2. Introduction
  3. Position Statement
  4. Reasons in Support of Your Position
  5. Opposing Position Statement
  6. Reasons in Support of the Opposing Position

The assignment should be 500 words, written in essay form, with six clearly labeled sections as indicated below, and include a title page and reference page.

Part 1: Ethical Question

Before writing the paper, you will need to spend some time thinking about the specific ethical issue you want to focus on throughout this course.

  • Begin this task by viewing the list of approved ethical topics and questions provided in the Week 1 Announcement titled: “Written Assignment Ethical Topics and Questions List.” Take some time looking over the list and browsing through some of the material in the corresponding chapters of the textbook in which each topic is addressed and decide which to focus on.
  • Once you have done this, choose one of the ethical questions associated with that topic. If you wish to do so, you may formulate your own ethical question, but it must be on one of the topics listed in the announcement. Be sure to carefully study the provided questions and model your own question after them in terms of specificity and ethical focus.”

Place the ethical question under the Part 1: Ethical Question heading at the top of the paper.

Part 2: Introduction

In this section of your paper, you should introduce the topic and question at issue by doing the following (not necessarily in this exact order):

  • Explain its relevance and importance.
  • Define any key terms and concepts.
  • Provide any relevant context and background information.
  • Briefly reference an idea, quote, or analysis of the issue that you have found in one of the required resources on the topic. Required resources include the textbook chapter focused on that topic (6, 7, 8, 9, or 10), the “Primary Sources” listed at the end of Chapters 6-9, and the “readings listed under “Further Reading” at the end of each section in Chapter 10.

The introduction will be the longest section of this assignment and should be at least 300 words in one or two paragraphs. Place the introduction material under the Part 2: Introduction.

Part 3: Position Statement

Your work on the introduction section has likely unearthed various positions one might take on the ethical question you have chosen. In this section, you will formulate a position statement.

  • A position statement is a one sentence statement that articulates your position on the issue and directly answers the question you have raised. For example, if the question was, “What is a physician’s obligation with respect to telling the truth to his or her patients?” a position statement might be “A physician may never directly lie to a patient, but it may be moral for a physician to withhold information if the physician reasonably believes doing so directly benefits the patient.” A different position statement might be: “A physician may use any means necessary, including lying to a patient, if the physician believes that will produce the best overall results.” However, the following statement would not be a sufficient position statement: “A physician must always respect the rights of his or her patients.” The reason this is not a sufficient position statement is that it does not directly answer the question concerning truth telling.
  • Think of the position statement as the strongest claim you would make if you were a prosecuting attorney making your opening statement to a jury, where you want to state precisely and directly the position you want them to believe.

Place the position statement under the Part 3: Position Statement heading.

Part 4: Reasons in Support of Your Position

Now that you have articulated a position on the issue, write a short paragraph—just a few sentences—that presents and explains one or two of the strongest reasons in support of your position statement.

  • You want your supporting reason to explain why someone should support the position you are taking on the ethical question. A supporting reason is a consideration that helps to show why your position is stronger than another position.
  • One way to approach this is to imagine yourself in friendly conversation with someone who does not necessarily agree with your position (perhaps they disagree, or perhaps they are undecided). When you state your position, they might ask why you think that; the kind of response you would give is a supporting reason.
  • Supporting reasons can include many things including, but not limited to: an appeal to moral principles such as duty, justice, fairness and equality; the positive or negative effects of certain actions on policies; or a summary of facts, statistics or evidence and an explanation of how they support your view.

Place the supporting reason(s) under the Part 4: Reasons in Support of Your Position heading.

Part 5: Opposing Position Statement

Now that you have provided reasons to support your position statement, in this section you will take a step back from all of that and articulate a statement that expresses an opposing or contrary statement.

  • Think of the opposing position statement as the strongest claim you would make if you were the defense attorney making your opening statement to the jury immediately after they have heard the prosecutor’s statement.

Place the opposing position statement under the Part 5: Opposing Position Statement heading.

Part 6: Reasons in Support of the Opposing Position

In this section, write a short paragraph—just a few sentences—that presents and explains one or two of the strongest reasons in support of the opposing position statement.

  • A strong opposing reason is a reason anyone would need to consider, even if they do not agree with the opposing position.
  • In other words, do not simply contradict claims that you make in Part 4, especially factual claims! You should strive to identify and articulate considerations in support of the opposing position that you think are accurate and true, or at least plausible, even if you still believe your own position has the most support overall.
  • If the reason(s) in support of the opposing position are ones you consider obviously false or indefensible, you should look for better reasons.
  • Put yourself in the position of a defense attorney who has to make the best possible case to the jury in defense of his or her client.

Place the opposing reasons under the Part 6: Reasons in Support of the Opposing Position heading.

In your paper,

  • Identify the ethical question.
  • Introduce the topic and question.
  • Formulate a position statement.
  • Explain the strongest reasons in support of the position statement.
  • Formulate an opposing position statement.
  • Explain the strongest reasons in support of the opposing position statement.

The Ethical Question paper

  • Must be 500 to 600 words in length (not including title and references pages) and formatted according to APA style as outlined in the Ashford Writing Center’s APA Style (Links to an external site.) resource.
  • Must include a separate title page with the following:
    • Title of paper
    • Student’s name
    • Course name and number
    • Instructor’s name
    • Date submitted

Assignment outline below –

PHI 208: Ethics and Moral Reasoning

Prof.

Part 1: Ethical Question

Part 2: Introduction

Part 3: Position Statement

Part 4: Reasons in Support of Your Position

Part 5: Opposing Position Statement

Part 6: Reasons in Support of the Opposing Position

References

Modeled example below –

Protecting Freedom of Speech

Student Name

PHI 208: Ethics and Moral Reasoning

Prof. Phil O’Sopher

March 15, 2018

Protecting Freedom of Speech

Part 1: Ethical Question

Do we have a moral obligation to protect free speech even in cases where that speech causes harm to others?

Part 2: Introduction

In August of 2107, the city of Charlottesville, Virginia became the focal point of violent demonstrations that resulted in injury, death and psychological harm. The violence was the result of clashes between white supremacists who gathered in Charlottesville for a planned “Unite the Right” rally to protest the possible removal of the Confederate Statue of Robert E. Lee (Katz, n.d.). The violence included hate speech in the form of signs, chants and a Friday night “Hitler youth” torch rally. These events and the reactions to them launched the issue of free speech into the national spotlight.

Freedom of speech is one of the most fundamental rights cherished by Americans and granted to all through our Constitution, but ethical issues arise when the exercise of that right results in direct harm to others. The primary ethical issue that arises concerns the balance between protecting this fundamental right of speech and preventing the harm associated with hate speech. According to our textbook, ethics asks the question of how we should live and that with “each conscious, deliberate choice we make, we are living out an answer to this question” (Thames, 2018. Sec. 1.1). This paper will consider whether we have a moral obligation to choose to protect free speech even in cases where it results in harm.

Part 3: Position Statement

Even though it can cause harm to others, freedom of speech should be protected as an absolute right.

Part 4: Reasons in Support of Your Position

Freedom of speech should be protected as an absolute right because it is one of the founding ideas on which our country is based. Any attempt to limit free speech can only be based on compelling reasons that justify taking away a fundamental right. While the prevention of harm is a compelling reason, it does not, by itself, provide sufficient justification for taking away a fundamental right. In addition, a close look at the historical origins of this right and its defense throughout our country’s history show that it was designed to protect all speech, including offensive or hate speech. As Benjamin Franklin said, “Freedom of speech is a principal pillar of a free government: When this support is taken away, the constitution of a free society is dissolved” (Post Editors, n.d., para. 1).

Part 5: Opposing Position Statement

Because causing harm to others is unethical and sometimes illegal, we have a moral obligation to limit the exercise of free speech when it is intended to or likely to cause harm to others.

Part 6: Reasons in Support of the Opposing Position

Americans have many rights granted to them by the Constitution, but these rights are not absolute or limitless and they carry with them a responsibility to uphold laws (Brandenburg v. Ohio n.d.). It is perfectly legal to hate someone, but it is illegal to act on that hate if doing so causes harm. From an ethical standpoint, our responsibility to act in certain ways goes beyond merely conforming to society’s laws. Harming another person is unethical. Hate speech is intended to cause harm and sometimes creates an incendiary environment, as it did in Charlottesville that results in injury or death. Therefore hate speech is unethical and we have a moral obligation to limit free speech when it is likely to cause harm to others.

References

Brandenburg v. Ohio. (n.d.). Oyez. Retrieved from https://www.oyez.org/cases/1968/492

Katz, A. (n.d.). Unrest in Virginia. Time. Retrieved from http://time.com/charlottesville-white-nationalist-…

Post Editors (n.d.). Great American thinkers on free speech. Retrieved from http://www.saturdayeveningpost.com/2015/01/16/hist…

Thames, B. (2018). How should one live? An introduction to ethics and moral reasoning (3rd ed.). [Electronic version]. Retrieved from https://content.ashford.edu/

Checklist below –

Week 1 Assignment Checklist

This checklist can help you ensure that you have completed all of the assignment instructions.

Choose a specific ethical question from the list provided, or formulate one that is sufficiently specific and focused on an ethical issue, and place it under the PART ONE: ETHICAL QUESTION heading at the top of the paper.

Provide an introduction to the topic, and place it under the PART TWO: INTRODUCTION heading.

Formulate a statement of the position you believe is strongest, and place it under the PART THREE: POSITION STATEMENT heading.

Identify and explain the strongest reason in support of the position statement, and place it under the PART FOUR: REASONS IN SUPPORT OF YOUR POSITION heading.

Formulate a statement of an opposing position, and place it under the PART FIVE: OPPOSING POSITION STATEMENT heading.

Identify and explain the strongest reason in support of the opposing position statement, and place it under the PART SIX: REASONS IN SUPPORT OF THE OPPOSING POSITION heading.

Include a title page and list of references.

Proofread carefully for mechanical and grammatical errors.

Format the assignment in APA style.

Write at least 500 words

“Get 15% discount on your first 3 orders with us”
Use the following coupon
FIRST15

Order Now