You only need to summarize, in your own words, the conclusion of your first progress report (a virtue ethics perspective on your topic), the conclusion of your second progress report (a deontological analysis), and a utilitarian analysis. Next, share your, overall conclusion on your topic (“I think the death penalty is unethical because…”). Finally, share your thoughts on which of the 3 ethical schools of thought to be most compelling or most helpful for thinking through ethical questions (“I find the Categorical Imperative most helpful because…”, “I am a convinced utilitarian because…”—Note: you don’t have to agree with just 1, or with any, school of thought). It should be about five minutes long.
only cite primary sources (ex: do not cite an article about Kant’s ethics). When citing a broad idea (such as “moderation”) you can just cite a chapter (sans translator, publisher, etc.). When citing a direct quote or a specific idea (such as the Formulation of Autonomy), cite the page number. Use a full citation (translator, publisher, year, etc.) for direct quotes and specific ideas if you are not citing from the common texts (the Bartlett & Collins translation of the Nicomachean Ethics and the Hackett editions of the Grounding for a Metaphysics of Morals and Utilitarianism).present on the perspective of each school, compare &contrast the schools of thought (the benefits of each, how convincing each is, etc.), and conclude with your opinion. The final paper consists of the same, but more thoroughlydemonstrated.
your presentation will consist of six (though, not necessarily equal) parts:
An introduction to your topic
A virtue ethics/Aristotelian analysis of your topic
A deontological/Kantian analysis
A utilitarian analysis
Your conclusion on the topic (The death penalty is/is not ethical because…)
Your reflection on the different schools of thought (which school of thought you found most helpful/which parts of each you thought were most compelling/etc.)
Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, trans. Robert C. Bartlett & Susan D. Collins, University of Chicago Press – ISBN: 0226026752
Grounding for the Metaphysics of Morals, Immanuel Kant, trans. James W. Ellington, Hackett Publishing Company, 3rdedition – ISBN: 087220166X
Utilitarianism, John Stuart Mill, Hackett Publishing Company, 2ndedition – ISBN: 087220605X
First report :
~500 words. An analysis of your topic from the perspective of virtue ethics. Attached are samples from former students. You do not need citations or technical terminology (though you will need citations for the final paper).
A successful analysis will explore:
What is the relation of your topic to human excellence and flourishing (in the individual and/or the community)?
Who are the persons acting? What are their character-traits? Who is being affected (if any)? What tools are being used, what is the manner of acting (ex: gently or cruelly), and what is the desired end result?
If it is a matter of law, what sort of habits would it encourage or discourage? What character-traits would describe a community with said law?
What are the relevant virtues? What would the excesses and deficiencies look like? For example, if bodily pleasures are involved, they would be Moderation and Self-Restraint. If 2 or more people are affected, the social virtues (friendliness, truthfulness, and wittiness), justice (certainly if external goods are being distributed or exchanged), and/or friendship might be related.
Second report :
Apply the Categorical Imperative to your ethical topic! Remember, each formulation of the Categorical Imperative is supposed to be the same idea expressed in different ways (which is why they are repetitive). Some formulations will be more helpful for tackling certain topics, and other formulations for other topics (still consider them all, even the ones which do not seem to help).
First, consider its universalizability: what if everyone committed theft/murder/lied/etc.? or nobody?
Then, consider each rational beingas an end-in-itself: a person is never to be treated merely as a means/a tool, but as the end/goal of actions. You cannot manipulate, exploit, or use a person. Ex: if you lie about paying back money, you are also using someone solely as a means to get free money.
Next, consider autonomy (which follows from universalizability and is the reason why rational beings are ends-in-themselves). Similar to the first question, would the person acting lay this down as a law for himself/herself to be subjected to? AND are they (whoever is deciding) acting heteronomously (driven by some desire or outcome instead of a purely rational goodwill)? Remember, for Kant what matters is the intention (or “maxim”), not outcomes, consequences, feelings, incentives, fears, desires, etc. The only truly good actions are done for the sake of duty.
Finally, if your choice was laid down as a law, would it harmonize with the “ideal community” of humankind? This is helpful for considering imperfect duties (things which are praiseworthy, but not indispensable. For example, it might be possible to imagine everyone not giving to charity, but it is hard to reconcile this with the notion of each person as a thing of infinite worth. It is also helpful for indirect duties. Indirect duties, as the name implies, are duties which are not inherently good, but performing them helps us fulfill our true duties. For example, we have an indirect duty to not be cruel to animals because people are who are cruel to animals eventually become cruel to persons. If the above three formulations do not help you reach a conclusion, chances are this final one will.
FORMULATIONS OF THE CATEGORICAL IMPERATIVE:
Formula of Universal Law p.30
“Act only according to that maxim whereby you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law.”
Formula of End-in-Itself p.36
“Act in such a way that you always treat humanity, whether in your own person or in the person of any other, never simply as a means, but always at the same time as an end.”
Formula of Autonomy p.38
“The idea of the will of every rational being as a will that legislates universal law.”
“A will which is subject to law… nevertheless a will that is itself a supreme lawgiver.”
Formula of Kingdom of Ends p.39-40; 43
“Every rational being must so act as if he were through his maxim always a legislating member in the universal kingdom of ends.”