Phil 224- Ethical Issues in Medicine
Length Requirements: 3+ pages (I’m serious. 3 pages is the absolute minimum.)
● Double Spaced
● 12 pt font
● Times New Roman
● 1 Inch margins
Paper Content Requirements:
Choose a topic that we have talked about so far in this class.Examples:Any case prep would make a good start to a paper!Defend Ezekiel’s claim that when deciding who should get a scarce medical treatment, we should give priority to those who are sick but could recover if treated over those who are (or will be) chronically ill.Should we consider social factors when deciding who gets a scarce medical resource? Why or why not? (Rescher)
Defend Siegler from the objection that confidentiality in medicine is NOT decrepit.Argue against the Hellmans’ view that randomized clinical trials are morally problematic.Defend the Hellmans from Marquis, who thinks that randomized clinical trials can be redeemed. Should we tell patients the whole truth? Why or why not? (Lipkin / US Court of Appeals)Do you agree with the US Court of Appeals that there are something that we are not obligated to inform patients about?Should the patient/doctor relationship be a 50/50 partnership (AMA Council) or more of a teacher/student relationship (Hall)?Defend Ackerman (who argues that doctors should intervene and help patients regain the autonomy they lost from being ill) from someone who says that doctors should never ever intervene in a patient’s decision making process.Explain why one of Thomson’s analogies (the violinist, the ever growing baby, OR the people seeds) is not a good analogy to abortion.Argue against Marquis’ idea of a “future like ours”.These are merely examples. You are not limited to these! Write about something from the class that YOU have found to be interesting! I can help you come up with your own, if you need it!
Have an intro paragraph. A good intro paragraph should:Explain the problem. If you’re going to talk about paternalism, what’s the moral problem here? You could frame it as a conflict between autonomy and beneficence, for example.Have a detailed thesis statement. In your thesis statement will give everything away. Tell me what you will be arguing and how you will argue it. (Do NOT just hint at what will come. This is not an english paper.)Sample thesis statement: “In this paper I will argue that __________. I will do this by first explaining __________ (the author’s view), then I will explain why I think _____ (the author) is mistaken about __________, then I will consider how _________ (the author) might respond to my objection, and I will finish by explaining why I do not think the author’s response is adequate.”
Give a brief overview of the position/case you will be discussing.Are you going to be arguing against (or for) one of the readings we did? Give me the highlights of their view.If you are writing on one of the case preps: Give me an overview of the case. Be as non-biased as possible. It’s not yet time to tell me what you think the character should do.Make sure that overview is ACCURATE, STRONG, and FAIR. (I.E. if the author read your overview of their position, would they say that you got it right?)Develop your own view. Do you agree with the position you are discussing or not?Explain what YOU think.Are you defending one of the authors? Why? What about their view needs defending? Explain how you will defend it.Are you objecting to an author? Why? What’s wrong with their view?If you are writing a case prep: What do YOU think the person should do in the case? WHYHave an objection to your view. Every view has SOMETHING wrong with it. What’s a potential weakness of your view?Make sure the objection is also STRONG and does not depend on a weak understanding of anyone’s view.Make sure the objection has to do with why one of the REASONS is wrong or mistaken. It’s not enough to just say that their conclusion is wrong. You have to show that they way they got to that conclusion was mistaken.How would you respond?Surely you wouldn’t just roll over due to an objection.You would say something to defend yourself. What would you say?There are variations of these requirements so if you have questions about how to implement it in your paper, make sure to schedule a time to talk to me about it.I am more than happy to talk to you about your paper and even read a draft!
4 Sample Outlines:
Highlighted parts: This should be the bulk of your paper.
Disagreeing with an AuthorIntroThesis StatementOverview of Author’s ViewTell me what YOU think: Your Objection to the Author’s viewThe author’s response to your objectionTell me what YOU think: Is the author’s response adequate?
Helping the Author OutIntroThesis StatementOverview of Author’s ViewPotential Objection to the Author’s viewYour contribution to the discussion: Make the author’s view stronger. Explain how the author can adjust their view to accommodate the objection.
Agreeing with the AuthorIntroThesis StatementOverview of Author’s ViewWhat do YOU think? What about the author’s view do you find particularly convincing? Why is it convincing to you?Potential Objection to the Author’s viewYour response to the Objection
Case PrepIntroThesis StatementOverview of the caseWhat do YOU think? What STRONG reasons can you give to defend that?Use one of the readings or even a moral theory (Utilitarianism, Kantianism, Virtue Ethics) to strengthen your argument.Potential Objection to your view?Your response to the Objection
What Will You Be Graded On?
– You have clearly stated the claims of your argument.
– It is easy to follow the paper.
– It is easy to follow the line of argument.
– Is it clear what YOUR view is?
– Do you have a good, clear, detailed thesis statement?
– Clear overview of the reading you’ll be talking about.
– Make it clear EXACTLY what is being objected to.
o What was it, exactly, that the author said that the objector is objecting to? Keep that the focus of everything the objector says.
– How well did you proof read? Do you have a bunch of grammatical errors? Do you have egregious misspellings?
– You have chosen your wording carefully so that every sentence conveys PRECISELY what you intended.
– You clearly articulated the problem you will be dealing with in the paper.
– The central claims of your argument are precisely stated.
– You explained all your terms.
– You didn’t leave any vague statements.
– Your view was precisely developed.
– The objecting view was precisely developed.
– The objection was precisely connected with some part of argument already put forward. (Maybe they used utilitarianism but you think Kantianism would be better. Maybe you disagreed with some reason the author gives. You can’t just give an objection from out of left field. You can’t just object to the conclusion they reach. You MUST object to some aspect of their argument that leads them to that conclusion.)
– Do you give strong, convincing reasons to defend your position?
– Did you consider and explain the strengths and weakness of alternative approaches?
– Did you consider and explain the implications of your view?
– Do you give strong objections to your view?
– Did you give good, strong reasons to support the objection?
– Do you give strong responses to the objections?
– Did you give careful thought to what the best way to respond to the objection would be? Or did you give the first thing that popped into your head?
– Did you give good, strong reasons for why you didn’t think the objection totally defeats your argument?
o By strong I mean: not easy to knock down or dismiss. If you can dismiss a view in one sentence, you probably need to go back and beef it up. Really put yourself in the shoes of someone who might hold such a position. Argue as if you REALLY hold that position. This is not easy to do. It makes your job a lot harder to have to argue against a good, strong position.
– Do you separate your paper into several important sections or paragraphs?
– Are there clear transitions and connections between the paragraphs or sections?
– Is there a sense of progression in moving through the argument?
o Ex: positions were followed with targeted objections, which were followed with targeted responses, etc.
– Do you only focus on one point at a time?
o Say you want to make two points about why it is morally permissible to eat meat. Introduce both points at the beginning of the paper but then focus on the first one. Say EVERYTHING you want to say about that one. Allow the objector to object. Respond to the objector. And then say everything you want to say about the second one. And do the same thing.
o Each paragraph should have only one point. This is to keep you focused and to help your reader follow along. If you make multiple points in one paragraph, you aren’t giving each of the points the attention they deserve.
– I will be grading you on how creative your ARGUMENTS are.
– Did you provide a unique line of argument?
– Did you provide unique reasons to support your argument?
– Did you consider unique implications for the view at hand?
– Did you provide a unique objection?
– Or did you not spend much time thinking about it and just gave the same arguments and reasons we went over in class?
– The goal here is for your paper to stand out. Are you just saying the same thing as all of your classmates? Or did you put in some effort and give me something new and original?