Ethical Philosophy Essay Topics

Moral Philosophy Ethics


Moral Philosophy Ethics is a stem of philosophy that deals with categorizing, then defending, and lastly recommending what is right and what is wrong in society. There are norms that are universal as far as moral and ethical conduct. These values are beyond what one might consider to be personal ethics. Moral philosophy is a complex and a challenging subject.

In order to categorize a conduct, you must define it. It is wrong to steal. Stealing is the taking of another’s possessions. This is a break in ethics, thief, than one can find across the board. To categorize theft, you would need to explore the different types of stealing. This categorizing in order to define responses is a component of moral philosophy. It is one thing to steal a cookie from the kitchen than to steal a car. The actions must first be systematically categorized.

Then the actions must be defended. An example would be to determine why the car was stolen. Was it in order to get to and from work each day? Or was the car stolen to sell on the black market for a large price? Additionally, the break in ethics must be defined before defending. Stealing is the act of taking someone else’s property. Stealing breaks a universal ethic.

The third step in moral philosophy is recommending what is right and what is wrong. This task may not be as easy as one might think. For example, t is wrong to steal for making a profit or simply the thrill. But is it not as wrong to steal milk or food to feed a hungry baby? The action is wrong, but the motivation is innate. You can see how recommending what is wrong and right could turn out to be quite difficult.

Moral philosophy looks at morals/ethics and it categorizes them, defends them, and then it recommends. No part of this process is true black/white and absolutely no part is an easy job. There are universal ethics, cultural ethics, personal ethics, and family ethics. Each of these rules must form and fit to universal moral philosophy or there becomes problems. An example, of not forming might be the actions of a serial killer. He or he may feel they have to kill and eliminate these people, but society deems murder to be wrong. The study of moral philosophy can be quite challenging and complex.

The paper should be 5-7 pages (double space, typewritten) and explore a topic in ethics, social & political philosophy, philosophy of religion, or aesthetics. The paper counts for 34% of your course grade and so it should be a significant effort.

You choose the topic. Any topic that we have discussed in class or that is considered in the assigned reading is suitable. You may, if you want, write on a topic we haven't discussed in class and on which there is no assigned reading-though this is somewhat risky. All topics must in some way relate to the course content and refer to and use the course materials relevant to your subject. This is an absolute requirement. (It must be true that only someone who was in this class could have written the paper.) If you write on a topic the course specifically addresses, your paper should show a thorough understanding of the readings and class discussions on the issue. Some suggestions for suitable topics are listed below.

A paper description is due on Thursday, March 23th, 3 pm, 14 Glebe, 1st floor mailbox (keep a copy for yourself in case this copy gets lost). It should include a characterization of your topic, the major lines of argument you intend to pursue, tentative thesis, and a full bibliographic citation and a paragraph description of the content of one philosophical article you will use in your paper. The paper is due on Thursday, April 13, 3 pm, 14 Glebe, 1st floor mailbox (keep a copy for yourself in case this copy gets lost).

The paper should be a philosophy paper in which you focus on normative, evaluative, or conceptual issues. (Always ask: What should we do concerning this issue and why? What are the philosophical, ethical, and conceptual questions which must be answered if this issue is to be resolved?)

One outside philosophical article must be used in your paper. Those of you who write on a topic not specifically covered on the schedule of assignments will have to rely more on your outside philosophical article. Although I require that you to interact with the ideas from some philosophy article that we have not read in the class, the main point of the paper is to have you think philosophically for your self; the outside reading is meant only to help stimulate your own thinking.

One good way to find an article related to your topic is to use The Philosopher's Index. This is in the reference section of the library and lists philosophical articles by title, author, and subject matter for each year. Perhaps the best approach is to look under the subject heading that best approximates the issue you want to write about. Then see if our library carries the journal the article is in.

Philosophy and Public Affairs, Between the Species, Bibliography of Bioethics, Bioethics, Biology and Philosophy, Business and Professional Ethics Journal, Environmental Ethics, Ethics, Feminist Review, Hastings Center Report, Hypatia (Feminism), International Journal for Philosophy of Religion, Journal of Applied Philosophy, Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion, Journal of Medical Ethics, Journal of Medicine and Philosophy, Journal of Religion, Journal of Value Inquiry, Law and Philosophy. Possibly of use: Journal of the American Academy of Religion, Journal of the History of Philosophy, Journal of Philosophy, Metaphilosophy, Monist, Nous; A Quarterly Journal Of Philosophy, Pacific Philosophical Quarterly, Philosophical Forum, Philosophical Quarterly, Philosophical Topics, Philosophy, Philosophy and Literature, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, Philosophy East and West, Philosophy of Science-(East Lansing), Phronesis, Southern Journal of Philosophy, Canadian Journal of Philosophy, Economy and Philosophy, American Philosophical Quarterly, Analysis-(Blackwell), Australasian Journal of Philosophy, History of Philosophy Quarterly, Inquiry, International Philosophical Quarterly.

  • Some dimension of the cultural relativism issue. (Are morals relative to culture?)

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