PHI-475: BIOMEDICAL ETHICS

OVERVIEW

In your annotated bibliography project in module 6, you conducted extensive research on a focused area of bioethics and outlined a diverse number of academic articles and sources on that subject.  For your final project you will submit a medium-length (2,500 to 3,000 words in length, with a typical font and spacing this will be approximately 10 to 12 pages) research project on a bioethics topic of your choice. This paper:

 

     
should be an in-depth investigation and analysis of a particular problem in the field of bioethics

     
should make frequent use of the moral principles that were developed in module 1, and

     
should make extensive use of some particular argument that you encountered while reading the textbook. 

 

While your research may uncover various relevant and important empirical facts, this is primarily a normative, argumentative essay, in which you defend some position in the field of bioethics.

 

 

 

STRUCTURE

Your final project should be structured roughly as described below.

 

 

Introduction

 

     
A description of the topic you are investigating and an explanation of the philosophical and moral problems that are generated from the topic.

 

     
A clear and concise thesis statement, of the form “I will argue that …, because …”

 

 

Body

 

     
Describe the ethical issue you intend to solve. In your description, go beyond the obvious, and try to embed your description in the larger moral and ethical literature.

 

     
Give a charitable (fair-minded) reconstruction of the argument that you will be opposing. In a short essay like this, it is best to confine your analysis to a small argument, from within the larger problem. In such a short essay, it would be difficult, for example, to adequately defend the thesis, “I shall argue that abortion is immoral.”  Instead, focus on some smaller thesis such as, “I shall argue that Reiman’s argument for what makes killing wrong is incomplete.”  In a case like this, the charitable reconstruction would be of Reiman’s argument for what makes killing wrong.

 

     
Introduce any empirical evidence that you’ve collected, and explain why it is relevant to your topic and how it helps to support your thesis.

 

     
Evaluate the argument you will be opposing in terms of the logic and principled support that the author is able to give to it. First, an argumentative essay is much easier to structure if you have some specific argument you can discuss critically. Second, since this is an argumentative essay, this evaluation is the most important part of the essay, will constitute your principal objection, and will be the place that you can introduce your own position and contribution to the debate. Take some time to develop it carefully.

 

     
A brief answer to your evaluation/objection, on behalf of the original author (since he/she is not here to answer for him/herself), or on behalf of defenders of that position.

 

 

Conclusion

 

     
Provide a brief restatement of your initial thesis statement.

 

     
Determine exactly what your argument allows you to claim. Don’t claim too much (e.g., In conclusion, I’ve shown that abortion is immoral…), but be sure to locate exactly what your arguments have committed you to.  But don’t underestimate your conclusion, either.

 

     
Offer suggestions regarding what other investigations might be useful to continue the conversation particularly if there is empirical research that may be conducted. For example, if you are arguing that universal healthcare should be extended, because it is less expensive, you might suggest research projects to determine how much less expensive, mention research that is currently underway, etc.

 

GUIDELINES

     
Your paper should be 2,500 to 3,000 words in length and should cover the directives already given.

     
You should follow accepted research approaches and citation format (APA).

     
Your paper should be well developed and convey your understanding of the readings and concepts.

     
Your paper should be organized, coherent, and unified.

     
Your paper should be free of spelling and grammatical errors.

     
Use an even mix of hardcopy and online sources because there is a definite qualitative difference between the two types. 

     
Be sure to document all contentions and “facts” mentioned in an academically acceptable manner. (See writing resources below)

     
Encyclopedias—especially Wikipedia—and dictionaries are unacceptable sources.  

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