Wednesday, June 14, 2017

General Ethics Assignment Template

Here is a template for a general ethics course assignment:

Your name
Your email

Topic of Assignment: _____________
The typical assignment in this class will involve working through at least five arguments on a moral issue, using this process below. This process must be done for each argument:

  1. Is this a controversial topic or issue? If yes, excellent. If no, is there a controversial topic or issue that’s related?


  1. What are the relevant facts about the topic? What’s the relevant information about the issue?


  1. What are the various moral conclusions one might hold on that topic?
    1. Doing this is wrong.
    2. Doing this is not wrong. (Not wrong = morally permissible.)
    3. Doing this is morally obligatory = wrong to not do; impermissible to do).
      1. MORE PRECISE CONCLUSIONS: All? Some? (which?)
      2. Sometimes wrong? Always permissible? Sometimes obligatory?


  1. What reasons or premises are or can be given for these conclusions? What’s “the why”? (“Why think that?”) (“What do you mean?”)


  1. How do you make the argument logically valid, meaning make the complete pattern of reasoning explicit? What (if any) premises need to be added?


  1. Is the argument sound or not (sound = logically valid with true premises)? Are the premises true? Are there any counterexamples that show that a general premise is false?


This project can be done in a number of ways:
  1. Papers or reports of varying lengths and for differing purposes.
    1. Letter to editor
    2. Critical responses paper or commentary of some kind… (This could also be done as a talk, a presentation, in person or in video or audio).
  2. Youtube talk; oral presentation; video lecture.
  3. Lead a discussion or give a talk to a real audience, report on what happened
  4. Narrated powerpoint
  5. Create a blog / webpage on a topic
  6. A debate! Report on what happened.
  7. An interview project: Random people; people you know; go to some organization.
  8. A scientific poster..
  9. You could find some kind of person or organization that does some morally significant activity and go meet with them and report back.
  10. What else?

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