Write a philosophical essay arguing that double standards are unethical using the various approaches like virtue ethics, utilitarianism, deontology etc.


For the past eight weeks we’ve discussed questions regarding morality and ethics. Initially we discussed meta-ethics, the underlying structures that are used to support moral and ethical considerations. We then discussed normative ethics, the various approaches (i.e., virtue ethics, utilitarianism/consequentialism, deontology, etc.) for determining what one is morally obligated to do, and why. Most recently we’ve dealt with applied ethics, the consideration of what one ought to do regarding certain social issues, and why, e.g., human rights, famine, torture, economic equality.

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Your assignment:

  1. Choose an issue that you wish to write about, whether it be a topic that we’ve discussed in class, or your own. If you wish to write about your own issue, I recommend discussing it with me before you start writing so that I might offer you some pointers for consideration.
  2. Choose one of the normative ethical positions we’ve discussed, mentioned above. Make sure you fully understand what that position entails. If you choose either virtue ethics, deontology, or consequentialism, you need to know as precisely as possible what it means, how it’s structured, and how it differs from the other two.
  3. Formulate an argument for or against the issue using the particular normative approach you’ve chosen. Carefully consider the structures of the normative approach you’ve chosen, and be careful that you are not actually arguing from a different approach. For example, if you choose virtue ethics, make sure your claims and argument aren’t collapsing into deontological or consequentialist approaches.
  4. Along these lines, carefully consider how your particular position and normative approach differs from other normative approaches as it relates to that issue. For example, you might want to argue from a deontologist position that torture is wrong. While thinking about how to formulate your own argument you’ll need to also consider how a virtue ethicist or consequentialist might disagree with you, and what that argument might look like.
  5. Write a concise thesis statement for your paper. For example, “It is my argument that torture is unethical, in any situation. I will argue that this position is supported by a deontological approach to ethics, which would forward the claim that any argument for the ethicality of torture fails when one attempts to apply it universally as a categorical imperative. Consequentialists might argue for the ethicality of torture, taking an “exceptionalist” approach to their own actions, and utilizing a string of supposed beneficent outcomes to persuade the reader. I will show that such a position is untenable when the internal maxim of such a position is applied universally, upon all of humanity, and thus fails the categorical component of all ethical claims.”
  6. Finally, write a 1500-word paper presenting your position and support, comparing and contrasting it with another approach and position so as to strengthen your argument. I can not stress this enough, once you’ve decided upon your issue and position, as well as your normative approach, carefully considered the nuances of your argument, and the means for countering any counterargument, begin writing your paper by first outlining. Ultimately, so as to strengthen your argument, you’ll introduce the alternative approaches and positions in your paper, and show how your approach and position is the more reasonable of the two. At some level this is a comparison paper, but the comparison should only be used so as to clarify and strengthen your position for the reader.

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