Sample Guidelines for Writing Ethical Arguments

In: Business and Management

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Sample Guidelines for Writing Ethical Arguments

Your essay should be a position paper, not a report. The paper must make an ethical argument in defense of a thesis. It doesn’t matter what thesis you defend, but the argument must be clear and coherent. Depending on the topic, some outside research may be appropriate, but do not let that obscure the main purpose, which is to make an ethical argument.

There are several possible ways to structure the paper, including one (or more) or the following:

• Articulating and applying principles (such as love, respect for autonomy, respect for persons, the principle of utility, etc.) to the issue or to cases.
• Investigating how one or more ethical sources work to support a particular view: for instance, how biblical principles or a religious tradition or a particular philosopher/philosophical school can be used to support your position on a focused issue. Such an approach should be critical, that is, with an awareness of where the philosophical or religious tradition is unclear or problematic and how others could use the tradition in a different manner.
• Contrasting the arguments of two or more authors on an issue.
• Developing and contrasting the pro and con arguments for a particular position.
• Developing and answering a series of questions from general to particular, or particular to general.
• Analyzing a case study.

The reader of an ethical argument is looking for three main things in your essay:
1. a clear and interesting thesis,
2. your grasp and application of ethical principles and theories, and
3. logical consistency.

The most important part of ethical analysis is getting a clear grasp of the key ethical issues: what values, principles, moral rules, etc., are involved? What conflicts exist between them? How will you weigh them? To state the issues clearly is more important than reaching a…...

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