This essay should focus exclusively on the questions from the Metaethics and Normative Ethics section of the statement of belief essay.
Ethics is not about studying various theories in order to pass tests. The goal of ethics (according to Aristotle) is to make us good. This is not to say that you were evil before this class, or that this class will make you into a good person per se. What this assignment aims to do is to have you begin to think critically about yourself, your beliefs, why your beliefs are what they are, how those beliefs impact the kind of person you are, and whether or not you are happy with who that person is.
If none of your beliefs have been affected by the content of this course, you should pinch yourself: how likely is it that you’ve come to the right conclusions on all of the subjects we’ve covered before having subjected your beliefs to the careful rational scrutiny that has been the method of this course? This paper forces you to challenge yourself and your previous beliefs, and to subject yourself to the kind of scrutiny necessary to become a more genuinely rational thinker on ethical issues.
Choose 3 questions from the statement of belief essay for further inquiry. Pick the ones that were either most interesting to you, the ones you felt you’ve changed your opinion on, or the ones you feel most strongly convicted of. Most especially, pick the ones that are causing you anxiety or worry. This is a natural reaction when your deeply held beliefs are challenged.
Introduction, 1 paragraph
Once you’ve chosen your issues, restate briefly what your beliefs were concerning those issues at the outset of the course. Don’t quote your statement of belief essay directly, instead try to capture the essence of those answers in the briefest possible summation. You should make mention of only the most relevant autobiographical details that shaped your moral worldview, before the beginning of this course, by way of explanation.
Subjecting your specific ethical beliefs to an interrogation, 3–6 paragraphs total
Then, devote 1–2 paragraphs to each of the three themes you’ve selected to articulate how those beliefs have been impacted by the arguments of the course, either positively or negatively. This will require the recapitulation of the arguments in the course that either changed your position, or that you had to refute. If your belief changed, which arguments convinced you? And if your opinion has stayed the same, explain why the arguments opposed to your view failed to persuade you, and which arguments convince you that you are right.
Defense of your Position
Next, defend your convictions, whatever they are, against objections. This will require some additional research on your part. Find at least one article that disagrees with your position for each claim you are defending (i.e. three articles total) and argue against your detractors. Use logic and reasoning to show how your opponent’s arguments are invalid, unsound, fallacious, incomplete, or inconclusive. 6–9 paragraphs.
Assess your set of claims for consistency. If you find inconsistencies, rectify them by either changing one of your beliefs, or explaining how an apparent inconsistency is not a true inconsistency. 1–2 paragraphs
Assess the impact of your additional research. Did consideration of their arguments impact your beliefs at all? How confident are you in your position? What additional things might you need to learn about in order to strengthen the convictions you are defending in this paper? 1–2 Paragraphs
12–20 paragraphs total, or no more than 10 pages.
Format: No cover page, Times New Roman, 12 pt. font, 1 inch margins, double spaced, works cited, MLA, APA, and Chicago format are all acceptable, use in-text citations, make references as specific as possible including page number, citations from our textbook should be to the specific articles you cite, not to the textbook as a whole, staple all pages, name in header of all pages, page numbers in footer.
Grading Rubric for the self-examination essay:
A: the paper meets every stipulation in this essay prompt, exhibits mastery of the material covered, is introspective and thoughtful, with flawless writing, organization, and formatting.
C: the paper satisfies every requirement in the prompt but does so ineloquently, with only a satisfactory grasp of the material covered, the organization is lacking, writing contains mistakes, and formatting is not exactly as specified below.
F: the paper fails to meet all of the stipulations in the above prompt, or exhibits unsatisfactory understanding of the material, or lack of proper organization renders the writing difficult to follow, or the writing is riddled with mistakes.
The structure of your paper should look like this, in order:
Subjecting your specific ethical beliefs to an interrogation, Issue 1
Defense of your Position, Issue 1
Subjecting your specific ethical beliefs to an interrogation, Issue 2
Defense of your Position, Issue 2
Subjecting your specific ethical beliefs to an interrogation, Issue 3
Defense of your Position, Issue 3
*Here is the three questions to reference:
1.Is the pursuit of pleasure the most important deciding factor in the decisions that you make? Should it be?
2.Are all moral claims true so long as someone believes them? Or, on the other hand, are some moral claims universally true for everyone regardless of what they believe?
3.Are there such things as absolute duties? In other words, are there any things we must never do, or must always do?