Moral Methods

Philosophy 210, Biomedical Ethics

 

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Your Second Paper is due Friday, 12/11 by 11:59 PM.   It is expected to be at least 3 pages long, double-spaced typed—make sure to have at least 3 pages of text from where your first line of text begins—not counting any Header you have (and of course also not counting your Works Cited), so ideally everyone should be going at least a bit onto a fourth page with their actual text.    You are to choose one of the following 4 topics that relate to Chapter 10:

 

  1. Analyze the method of casuistry in ethical thinking and moral decision making, based on Beauchamp and Childress’s discussion. What is the method used in casuistry, and how do its proponents justify their method and decision making? What are potential problems with the method? Based on the discussion in Beauchamp and Childress and any other readings, do you agree with the proponents of casuistry in ethical thinking that this is the most appropriate way to reason ethically? Give reasons why or why not.
  2. *Analyze the “top-down” method in ethical thinking and moral decision making as described by Beauchamp and Childress. What is the method used in this form of moral reasoning, and how do its proponents justify their method and decision making? What are potential problems with the method? Based on the discussion in Beauchamp and Childress and any other readings, do you agree with the proponents of top-down methods in ethical thinking that this is the most appropriate way to reason ethically? Give reasons why or why not.
  3. Define and describe reflective equilibrium in ethics, as discussed by Beauchamp and Childress. Why do Beauchamp and Childress choose to use a form of reflective equilibrium in their ethical reasoning? What are the advantages and disadvantages of seeking reflective equilibrium in ethical thought? (You may include discussion of critiques of Beauchamp and Childress’s work from the perspective of proponents of other methods.) Do you agree with Beauchamp and Childress that this is the most appropriate form of ethical reasoning in bioethics? Why or why not?
  4. *Explain Beauchamp and Childress’s definition and explanation of the “common morality.” What are the features of the common morality? How does it differ from “customary” moralities? Do you agree with Beauchamp and Childress that “the common morality is better suited to play a vital role in biomedical ethics” than the ethical theories they have described elsewhere, and why or why not?

You must have a reference from another chapter of PBE and you must also have at least two sources beyond PBE, and at least one of those sources must come from either RTD or any of the readings (including the books by Mill, Kant, and Aristotle) found under Online Readings.   So you may have more than two sources beyond PBE if you want.  I prefer MLA style, but any standard citation style is fine.  MLA style just has in-text citations in the format of “quote” (Smith 36), where you just give the author and page number, then of course a Works Cited identifying complete info on the source.  For our textual materials, just use acronyms PBE (our text) and RTD (Sandel’s book).

 

You should use the prompts above, but don’t feel obligated to answer all the questions there—as long as you are commenting on the method or idea you choose to focus on, your content is appropriate.  I recommend that you use any biomedically relevant case study from PBE to enhance your coverage, and also encourage you to use the material  in the Online Readings area, if you can–beyond the one required reference from that area.    The Aristotle, Mill and Kant readings under Online Readings are useful extensions of the coverage of each of these thinkers in both

 

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