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Assignment: Exemplifying Lawrence Kohlberg’s notion of “post-conventional” moral reasoning, describe the major ethical (philosophical decision-making, not behavioral) problem in the Jehovah’s Witness case as described in the earlier posted handout. Discuss strategies, including Inquiry- or Problem-Based Learning you would employ in identifying and solving (and preventing) the ethical problem. Include a discussion of Informed Consent and be specific about whether and how it is a plausible if not effective solution to the ethical problem. Include a discussion of methods, approaches, or tools that were employed in class. Avoid using legal or technological information in a way that avoids dealing with the ethical problem.
Learning Outcomes addressed by this assignment:
–use methods such as Inquiry-Based Learning for the study of ethical problems;
–distinguish personal values from professional and legal values and obligations;
–distinguish between personal morality and professional ethics.
Instructions: In a three-page minimum reflection paper, address the assignment as described above. Attach this cover sheet to the front of your paper with a staple (rather than with plastic covers or paper clips). General standards for college paper requirements apply. The paper is due at the beginning of class (in class) on the announced day.
The major grading criteria for each section are, in descending order of importance, insight, justification, and clarity. Insight refers to depth and originality in the recognition of meaning and relations. An example of a paper that lacks insight is a scrapbook of loosely related excerpts from encyclopedias and dictionaries. Beyond description or explanation of something, aim for depth of insight in the display of your understanding of implications, assumptions, strengths, weaknesses, etc. of the topic. Thoughtful justification of your interpretations and conclusions is important in this paper. A strong paper appeals to evidence and cogent reasoning in support of all claims, opinions, and conclusions. Strive for a forceful development of ideas that culminates in your conclusion. Clarity of thought and expression includes grammar and spelling, but also includes accuracy in addressing required issues and cogency of idea development. A rambling free-association assortment of ideas that are vaguely related to the topic is an example of a less than clear paper.
Common types of comments by instructor:
___ Assignment was responsibly and insightfully addressed!
___ Cogent arguments and strong development of ideas!
___ Interesting presentation!
___ Assigned problem was inadequately addressed
___ Minimum length requirements have not been met.
___ The philosophical problem was missed. (It is not the problem in terms
of people or behavioral options, nor is it a question of which social roles have more authority.) Look for the
problem in terms of ideas.
___ The paper does not reveal an understanding of principal conceptions or methods that were discussed in class.
___ Sparse treatment, inadequate development of required ideas.
___ Documentation of sources of others’ ideas is needed.
___ The paper appears to be in early draft form.
___ Seek writing/editorial help from instructor, tutor, or other source.
Writing hints: This is a judgment paper in which you present your best strategic plan for arriving at a wise decision to the philosophical problem. The philosophical problem is framed in terms of IDEAS (rather than things, people, or behaviors). Your early drafts are likely to mistakenly regard the problem in terms of things, people, or behaviors. This is not a paper on which behavioral option (#1, #2, or #3) is best and why. The ethical (philosophical) problem is not a “WHO should win” problem, or a doctor vs. patient problem or a science vs. religion problem. Sociology, psychology, anthropology, law, and health sciences have their own respective domains and methods, and so too does philosophy. In order to find the philosophical problem, begin by reviewing classroom activities and looking for ethical principles that compete for priority. Seek the core of the ethical problem in terms of universal principles. Consider tactics that we have employed in class. Develop a comprehensive plan that includes but is not necessarily limited to these tactics. Most importantly, argue your case: show reasons why your plan is structured as it is. Show why your strategic plan is the best and why it would likely result in a wise decision. Only after you have presented your answer to the best solution to the philosophical problem would a discussion of the best decision (#1, #2, or #3) to the behavioral problem be appropriate. Only at that point, to show that your strategic plan is indeed effective in producing a clear decision about what to do, show which behavioral option (#1, #2, or #3) can be reasonably produced by your strategic plan.
REWRITE OPTION. This is your first assignment for this course. If you satisfy length and deadline requirements but receive a C or below, you may opt to rewrite it for a maximum possible score of 79%. It will be due a week from the day that the papers are returned to the entire class. Originals must be submitted with the rewrite. Please highlight changes, especially in the rewrite. To avoid misdirected efforts, please consult with the instructor before beginning the rewrite. There will be no averaging of the original and rewrite grades, only the higher of the two grades will be recorded. Rewritten papers will be returned only after I have completed grading papers for all of my other classes.
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