You will be picking a scenario to apply utilitarianism and Kantianism to (see below). Whichever you pick, in your essay you must: State, explain, and apply each of (i) the principle of utility, (ii) the universal law formulation of the categorical imperative, and (iii) the humanity formulation of the categorical imperative. When explaining, go into the theory as much as you can. For example, indicate that the principle of utility is meant to be applied impartially, say what a “maxim” is, and say what an “end-in-itself” is. Indicate points of commonality between the utilitarian and Kantian approach (e.g. neither condones acting purely in self-interest and neither is based on religious faith or cultural norms). Indicate the main points of contrast between utilitarian and Kantian approaches (utilitarianism is consequentialist and Kantianism isn’t – say what that means). Indicate what you regard as the strengths/weaknesses of each one and why. Have an introduction and conclusion. Have multiple paragraphs (aim for 2 – 5 pages). Here is a way to organize your essay (you don’t have to follow this, but it should help): Introduction Explaining and applying the principle of utility Explaining and applying the universal law formulation (be sure to state the relevant maxim and what it would be like if everyone accepted that maxim) Explaining and applying the humanity formulation Commonalities and contrasts Strengths and weaknesses Conclusion Feel free to bring in your own opinion/reasoning where appropriate in 1, 5, 6, and 7. Pick one of the following cases to apply the theories to. Vern is in the checkout line of a store and can easily take a candybar without paying for it. He’s hungry, doesn’t want to pay for it, and thinks he’s unlikely to get caught. Morally speaking, should he shoplift it? Why or why not? Saul is married but finds no romantic/sexual passion in his marriage any longer. There is, however, a coworker whom he’s interested in and she’s interested in him. Morally speaking, should he act on their mutual interest and initiate an affair? Why or why not? Betty has a large collection of lawn gnomes that her neighbor, who collects pink flamingos, dislikes. One day, her neighbor breaks one of her gnomes out of sheer spite. Morally speaking, should Betty get back at her neighbor by destroying one of her pink flamingos? Why or why not? Trish hears that her co-worker, Saul, is having a steamy affair with another co-worker, Betty. Trish is good friends with another co-worker, Vern. Morally speaking, should Trish tell Vern the gossip about Saul and Betty? Why or why not? Don’t start with the intro. Instead, start by writing about what each theory means. Write an explanation of utilitarianism and of each of the categorical imperatives. You could write a paragraph on each (one on utilitarianism and one on both of the CIs). Then pick your scenario and figure out how each theory applies and write that Our primary sources should be cited in-text in parentheses giving the author and page as in: “Aristotle says … (Aristotle, 5)”. You don’t need a works cited page for these. For texts outside our primary sources (including web pages), include a works cited page that alphabetically lists each author, title, the web address, and the access date (as in “Magee, J. “Natural Law”, aquinasonline.com, 3/5/2020) or (if it isn’t a website) publication information (as in “Smith, K. Aristotle’s Theory of Virtue (London: Routledge Books, 1978)). Cite these works in-text parenthetically by the author and page (if any) as in “Aquinbcqas thought that … (Magee)”
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