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The essay should not be less than three (3) full pages (typed, double-spaced). It should be in paragraph form with an introduction = 1 paragraph; body = at least three paragraphs, and a conclusion = 1 paragraph. Your goal is to write a concise, focused, informed, and thoughtful essay that satisfies the criteria of the CT rubric.
Here’s what your essay must do:
(1) In the first paragraph, you must describe the dilemma and relevant facts of the case and explain the ethical dilemma or conflict of moral values. Rather than giving an exhaustive description of facts, highlight what you think are the most important factors from an ethical and legal standpoint. Then state your thesis or position, which is what you think should be allowed or done (abortion, adoption, continue artificial life-support, remove life-support, etc.)
(2) In the body of your essay, provide evidence in the form of other prior similar cases with known outcomes. You must use relevant ethical language as well as accurate medical terminology. You must also make your own assumptions and moral beliefs explicit, e.g., about the purposes of medical technology, the value of prenatal life, the possibility of survival of the fetus, the involvement of the legislature in private, family-based decisions, the meaning of death, grief, and futile medical treatment, quality of life, and so forth. There are many values and perspectives to think about here; consequently, there is no single “correct” answer. However, you must craft a coherent and reasonable position in view of the relevant facts and values and argue for it.
(3) In the body of your essay, you must also consider at least one counter-perspective or counter-argument, i.e., why some people might take a different stance on what should be done.
(4) Lastly, your concluding paragraph should briefly summarize your argument for what would be best in the case under consideration, all things considered. You should also provide separate title page and a Works Cited page documenting any factual claims that you make about or in relation to the case. Your sources must be academic (e.g., our textbook, a peer-reviewed journal, a reputable newspaper) rather than pulled from a political or religious website from the World Wide Web.
According to the school rubric, the qualities of critical/ethical thinking are as follows. These are the ideal qualities that you as the student/writer should strive to achieve in your essay.
• Explanation of problem, question, conflict or issue: Precisely relates the main issue(s), explaining why/how they create problems, questions, conflicts or issues, and is able to recognize associated issues and/or contexts.
• Evidence/Selecting and using information to investigate a point of view or conclusion: Insightfully evaluates and/or identifies evidence from multiple perspectives while using skillful judgment when synthesizing information. (Research is from high-quality sources/data and integrates multiple perspectives.)
• Awareness of Perspectives and Contexts (i.e. cultural/social, educational, technological, political, scientific, economic, ethical, personal experience): A careful analysis of own and others’ perspectives and relevant contexts occurs and applies the analysis of the contexts and assumptions to the main problem(s), question(s), conflict(s), or issue(s).
• Student’s Position: Asserts a focused, consistent, and significant personal position concerning the main problem(s), question(s), conflict(s) or issue(s). Recognizes the specific strengths and weaknesses of multiple points of view while synthesizing other perspectives.
• Conclusions and related outcomes (implications and consequences): The conclusions and implications logically, systematically develop from the synthesis of the information. The conclusions and implications are insightful and significant.
• Ethical Reasoning: An effective assertion accounts for its implications and the complexity of an ethical issue. Analysis of core beliefs, their origins, and different ethical perspectives that identifies assumptions and implications and the values upheld and compromised by the position.
Eight Key Questions:
Fairness – How can I act equitably and balance legitimate interests?
Outcomes – What achieves the best short- and long-term outcomes for me and all others?
Responsibilities – What duties and/or obligations apply?
Rights – What rights (e.g. innate, legal, social) apply?
Liberty – How does respect for freedom, personal autonomy, or consent apply?
Authority – What do legitimate authorities (e.g. experts, law, my religion/god) expect of me?
Character – What action best reflects who I am and the person I want to become?
Empathy – What would I do if I cared deeply about those involved?
Nine Ethical Principles:
1) The principle of autonomy (or liberty) is the reciprocal duty to respect the free will and decision-making capacities of autonomous persons insofar as this capacity is not used to harm others.
2) The principle of integrity upholds the practice of truth-telling and public disclosure of all necessary and essential information to safeguard those whose lives would otherwise be negatively impacted by deceit or unnecessary secrecy.
3) The principle of non-maleficence stipulates that we all have a duty to avoid causing needless harm or injury to other persons, whether directly and deliberately, or through carelessness, culpable negligence, or inexcusable ignorance.
4) The principle of beneficence (or professional care or service) says that we should act in ways that promote the welfare of other people, according to reasonable expectations and standards of due care.
5) The principle of respect for persons (or the principle of human dignity or value of life principle) is understood as a moral ideal that requires everyone to treat all other human beings in a way that recognizes and respects their inherent dignity and worth as unique, irreplaceable individuals. People should never be treated as something less than ends in themselves or as mere means for someone else’s interests.
6) The principle of equality (or impartial and equal treatment of persons) is generally connected with some notion of justice or fairness and the impartial rule of law. The basic idea is that law-abiding citizens should be treated as having equal status before the law.
7) The principle of privacy is understood as a legal immunity from unnecessary intrusion by the state (or any other political agency or civil authority) into the private lives of citizens. Privacy does not simply refer to private ownership of physical things and places, but also to one’s personal capacity to think and believe as one wants and to have the freedom or autonomy to make decisions that intimately affect one’s personal life.
8) The principle of distributive justice says that human beings should treat each other fairly and justly when distributing risks, burdens, and benefits among themselves in civic society.
9) The principle of retributive justice broadly refers to the procedures for determining guilt or innocence and the application of just and fitting punishment for convicted criminals.
NOTE: The better use you make of the eight key questions and relevant ethical principles or theories discussed in this class, the better your critical thinking essay will likely be.
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