Explain which moral principle or theory is most relevant in responding to the issue, and why.

The policy maker asks you for an essay analyzing the moral aspects of one of the following issues:

euthanasia and assisted suicide (assisted dying)
poverty, hunger and starvation

Your duty is to provide her with an objective analysis. Of course you will do your best to persuade the policymaker to accept your analysis. She cannot be bullied or bribed, but she is open to rational arguments.

1. In your essay, first describe what you see as the central moral question to be considered, and why it is important.

2. Explain which moral principle or theory is most relevant in responding to the issue, and why. (For example, maybe you think the policy maker should support abortion rights on utilitarian grounds. Or maybe you think the policy maker should oppose euthanasia for deontological reasons.) Choose the theory or principle most appropriate for understanding the morality of the issue from among the concepts and arguments you have read for this course throughout the term.

3. In applying the theory or principle to the issue you’ve chosen, your argument will be stronger if you support it by referencing the arguments in the required readings. Use quotations from the reading as appropriate, and cite the philosophers by name.

4. Because the policy maker must defend her decision, she will want to know what the opposition might say, and why your position is stronger than theirs. A strong argument always gives the opposing view the benefit of the doubt, so do not caricature those who take a different view—-give them a fair representation. Again, these ideas will be stronger if you support them by citing relevant arguments from the readings.

5. Most of the project should be a description of the issue and why it is morally important, the moral theory or principle most relevant for addressing the issue, the recommendations that follow from applying that theory, and the likely arguments by opponents. At the end, explain how, in your view, the issue should be resolved. Do not write a detailed policy proposal–that is a job for others. Your job is to provide the moral underpinnings for the general position you think the policy maker should take.

6. Your ethical analysis should include all of the following elements:

* a brief description of the issue you’re examining and why it is morally important

* what moral theory or principle you see as most relevant for addressing this issue and why

* the recommendations that would follow from applying that theory

* the likely arguments by opponents to this view

* your own assessment and general recommendation

I expect you will make your best argument based on what you learned from the readings and class discussion. This is a serious project–have fun!


This is not a research project. This project does not require additional research. The readings and class discussion give you plenty to work with.

A thorough job will probably require about 1000 words (about four pages).

If your essay includes paraphrasing or direct quotes from any source, cite the source properly and put any sources in a bibliography or list of references using a proper format. You must do this so your work doesn’t give the appearance of plagiarism.
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