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Should a utilitarian ever be in favor of


TOPIC: Should a utilitarian ever be in favor of a doctor's providing medical treatment to a (conscious adult) patient without his or her consent?  If so, under what conditions?


This assignment is designed to assess

1. Your understanding of the two major modern moral theories we have studied thus far; and

2. Your ability to apply these theories thoughtfully to contemporary moral problems.


The idea is for you take what you have learned and do your own thinking about it.  For that reason, the use of outside sources is being restricted.  See below.



This is to be an essay of 700 to 800 words.  It is to be typed, double-spaced, using a standard word-processing program, and submitted as a .doc, .docx, .pdf, or .rtf file. 


TOPIC: Should a utilitarian ever be in favor of a doctor's providing medical treatment to a (conscious adult) patient without his or her consent?  If so, under what conditions?



Your analysis should proceed through the following basic stages.

1. Begin by giving a summary of the ethical theory you will be dealing with (either utilitarianism or Kantian deontology).

2. Then proceed to examine the particular problem you have chosen, bringing out its morally relevant features.

3. Then apply the characteristic rules and thinking patterns of the ethical theory to the problem in question.

4. Finally, offer a judgment on the matter, qualifying that judgment as specific circumstances might require.




When summarizing your chosen ethical theory, make use of the required readings.

For utilitarianism, use the assigned readings from Mill and Singer and supplement them with material from chapter 7 of Ethics for Dummies, as appropriate.  For Kantian deontology, use the assigned readings from Kant and O'Neill and supplement them with material from chapter 8 of Ethics for Dummies, as appropriate.  DO cite these sources, especially the original philosophers, to support your claims about what utilitarianism or Kantianism teaches.  (Of course, in a paper this short, you will want to summarize more than quote.)


When applying the ethical theory to your chosen problem, make use of your own thinking, not the opinions of other moralists.  Utilitarian-oriented papers may use outside research to establish matters of fact (such as how physically or psychologically healthy animals tend to be in zoos), but not to rule on matters of moral judgment (such as notable utilitarian philosopher Phil Kooky's position on the morality of zoos).  Kantian-oriented papers may use outside research to find relevant case studies (such as personal reminiscences from a former undercover police detective, explaining how he had to use deception in his job) but not to rule on matters of moral judgment (such as notable Kantian philosopher Fred Daffy's position on the use of deception in policing).


Essays that rely on outside research for moral judgments  will receive failing grades.  Also, essays that do not provide proper citations or documentation for any sources used, will be deemed plagiarized  and receive failing grades.

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