Determine whether or not prostitution would be morally permissible according to: (a) utilitarianism (b) the 2nd formulation of Kant’s categorical imperative and (c) Aristotle’s Virtue Theory.
Papers should be approximately 3-4 double-spaced pages.
The main purpose of this assignment is to apply your new-found knowledge of three ethical theories to the above issue. Not surprisingly, then, your grade will be largely based on how well you do this. Of particular importance is your explanation of why virtue theory, utilitarianism and Kant’s CI-2 would imply what they do about the morality of prostitution.
A necessary condition for an ‘A’ paper is its having good depth. How do you achieve this? One way is by exploring different conclusions about the morality of prostitution through the lens of each ethical theory. I have purposely chosen an issue the moral status of which is not straightforward according to the theories. Thus, your paper should reflect as much.
In addition to evaluating the philosophical content of your papers, I will also evaluate various aspects of your writing, most notably the clarity and coherence of the paper and your mechanics (grammar, punctuation). I do this because your writing is the means by which you communicate your thoughts to me. Thus, if your writing is unclear, then, in my book, your thoughts are unclear and I will deduct points from your paper. (I happen to think that clear philosophical writing is inseparable from clear philosophical thinking anyway.)
For further information on how you will be graded, see the Rubric.
Since the main purpose of this assignment is to apply what you have learned about the ethical theories to the moral issue above you should do absolutely no research on what utilitarianism, Aristotle, or Kant’s theory would imply about the morality of prostitution. Please limit yourself to the text and videos and/or notes provided in Blackboard; these items should suffice.
If you use direct quotations from the text, please cite the editor’s name and page number of our book parenthetically in the body of the text. Example: Kant claims “such-and-such.” (Cahn: 434) If you are quoting from class notes or video, cite them as so: Utilitarianism claims “such-and-such.” (class notes). You should use direct quotations sparingly. Most of the paper should be in your own words, and papers that do not satisfy this demand will be deducted points.
Do not steal, borrow or buy any material or ideas from the Internet or anywhere or anyone else. Moreover, when explaining something, you must use your own words unless you are providing a direct quotation. Failure to comply with these warnings constitutes plagiarism. Furthermore, while you are permitted to bounce ideas off each other, no two papers should look very much alike. If two or more papers have very similar or identical sentences, they will both be considered plagiarized papers. If you are guilty of any sort of plagiarism on this assignment, you will receive a ‘0’ for the assignment.
Re-read the relevant texts and review resources in the Blackboard site. Doing this will enhance your understanding of the material and help prepare you to write. At this point, you should be trying to put things into your own words.
Make an outline of your paper. This will facilitate the organization of your paper.
Strive for clarity, simplicity and precision in sentence structure. Avoid rhetorical flourishes. Don’t use any words that you wouldn’t use in everyday conversation or that you’re not comfortable with. Don’t be afraid to end sentences with prepositions. Don’t be afraid to split infinitives. You can break minor grammatical rules if and only if your writing is clearer by doing so.
For this sort of paper, you do not need a substantial introductory or concluding paragraph. You may want to begin the paper by simply telling the reader what you’re going to do and end the paper by telling the reader what you’ve done. A few sentences in each paragraph would be appropriate.
Be comprehensive and don’t waste space. You should struggle to say everything in the allotted space. If you have addressed both theories in one page, your analysis probably lacks depth.
Class Resources you could use if you want: