This assignment should be submitted to the proper TurnItIn Drop Box by 12:00 NOON on the due date listed here. The submission will be graded according to the rubric appearing in the syllabus, and should be thoroughly proofread and properly cited. Limit your response to no more than 3,000 words (not including citations). Remember that all assignments can be turned in early for evaluation, and you will receive feedback within 72 hours.
This assignment requires you to write an essay of the same type as the first two essays, but with four additional criteria:
1. Your essay must be on one of the three topics listed below: capital punishment, abortion, or active euthanasia.
2. Your essay must be on a DIFFERENT topic from ONE of your previous two essays. If you submitted essays on two different topics for Homeworks 1 & 2, then all three topics are available to you, since you’ve already written on two different topics. However, if you submitted on the SAME topic and it was one of these three, then you MUST switch to a different topic for this essay. Obviously, regardless of what you wrote your previous papers on, active euthanasia is available as a topic, since neither of the first two essays could have been on that topic.
3. Each of the topics now has a SPECIFIC SET OF QUESTIONS, which must be answered in your thesis, and defnded in your arguments. If your thesis does not address the specific questions listed, your assignment will be considered incomplete, and you will receive a grade no higher than a C.
4. Each topic has a set of assigned readings, which you should have completed. You do not have to utilize the arguments made in these readings, but you DO have to ADDRESS those arguments if they come up. That is, if you make a point in one of YOUR arguments which was countered by one of the assigned readings, then you should acknowledge that and attempt to respond. If you are making novel arguments, not addressed by these authors, then this won’t affect your essay at all. But if your arguments also appear in these readings, acknowledge what the author has said about it and respond intelligently.
CHOOSE ONE OF THESE TOPICS:
Ernest van den Haag “A Defense of the Death Penalty” (handout)
Walter Berns “The Morality of Capital Punishment” (325-329)
Stephen Nathanson “The Death Penalty as a Symbolic Issue” (330-337)
Jeffrey Reiman “Why the Death Penalty Should Be Abolished in the United States” (handout)
Helen Prejean “Would Jesus Pull the Switch?” (handout)
Thesis Questions: Is it morally permissible for the government to execute people convicted of premeditated murder? What about people convicted of forcible rape? What about people convicted of international drug trafficking? Are there any factors about the criminal beyond what crime they committed that affect any of your answers? Defend all four your answers with arguments, and make sure your arguments are CONSISTENT for each answer. If your argument in defense of one answer contradicts your argument in defense of another, then you have weakened your own position and will be penalized for irrational self-contradiction.
Judith Jarvis Thomson “A Defense of Abortion” (186-204)
Mary Anne Warren “On the Moral and Legal Status of Abortion” (205-222)
Don Marquis “Why Abortion Is Immoral’ (223-231)
Rosalind Hursthouse “Virtue Theory and Abortion” (232-244)
Thesis Questions: Is it morally permissible for a woman who became pregnant as a result of forcible rape to abort that pregnancy? What about a woman who became pregnant through consensual intercourse, but who lacks the resources required to care for herself during pregnancy or to care for a child once it is born? What about a woman who simply does not wish to ever have children? Does how far along the pregnancy is affect any of your answers? Defend all four of your answers with arguments, and make sure your arguments are CONSISTENT for each answer. If your argument in defense of one answer contradicts your argument in defense of another, then you have weakened your own position and will be penalized for irrational self-contradiction.
“Euthanasia” by Judith Boss (handout in supplemental readings folder)
“Active and Passive Euthanasia” by James Rachels (pp. 246-252)
“The Intentional Termination of Life” by Bonnie Steinbock (pp. 253-263)
Thesis Questions: When, if ever, is a medical professional morally justified in providing to a patient a medication or medical procedure that is intended to quickly and painlessly end the patient’s life? When, if ever, would it be morally impermissible for a medical professional to do this? Try to include as many relevant factors in your answer (e.g., patient’s age, mental state, diagnosis, medical status, consent, etc.) as possible. Defend your answers with arguments, and make sure your arguments are CONSISTENT for each answer. If your argument in defense of one answer contradicts your argument in defense of another, then you have weakened your own position and will be penalized for irrational self-contradiction.
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