Final Paper

Finished Version (NOT rough draft) DUE Friday Nov. 13. You must bring 2 hard copies to class for peer editing.

Essay Length: 4-5 pages double-spaced.

Writing Your Intro Paragraph

Intro paragraphs are vital to pulling your reader in and framing your paper.

Your intro paragraph should contain the following elements—not necessarily, but usually, in the following order:
1. Issue: (a) What is the main issue your paper is about and (b) why is it important. Here you want to find a snazzy way to draw your reader in and make them care. Sometimes a short vignette works (e.g., a one sentence description of the case), but for a short paper you should restrict this part to two sentences.
2. Thesis: What position are you going to take on the issue and why? (E.g., I’m going to argue that Ami is like Jesus because he wears sandals and says wise things.) In this paper you should say which of the bioethical principles should take priority and why.
3. Road map: What will be the main sections of your paper? Explain what each section will be about. E.g., In the first section I’m going to describe the case and the various ethical issues involved. Second, I will identify the core ethical principles relevant to the case. Third, I will argue that principle Y should take precedence over Y. Fourth…. blah, blah, blah.

Key things I’m looking for:

Opening few sentences to make the reader care about the topic/issue.
Clear thesis statement: I should be able to know exactly what position your going to try to convince me of.
Clear road map: I should be able to know exactly what steps you’re going to take to convince me of your thesis.

Topic and Structure

Select any of the articles (or videos) we’ve covered for a Friday discussion section. For that article

(a) Identify the core ethical issues in the case. Do not give vague or overly general descriptions. Appeal to specific parts of the article. Use quotes to support/explain the ethical issues. If you do not appeal to specific details in the case you will fail this part of the assignment.

(b) Explain which bioethical principles are involved/apply and how they conflict. In this section you should also explain the general meaning of the bioethical principles involved. Do not be vague or overly general. Appeal to specific parts of the article. Use quotes to support/explain your evaluation. If you do not appeal to specific details in the case you will fail this part of the assignment.

(c) Argue for why one bioethical principle should be given priority over the other(s). Do not be vague or overly general. In this section you MUST appeal to a specific interpretation of a bioethical principle. We have seen various interpretations of the principle of autonomy, duty of beneficence, and justice.

(d) Give the strongest argument for the opposing view (i.e., the view that a principle other than the one you chose should be given more weight). Here you should consider views that we’ve covered in class.

(e) Reply to the opposing argument. Part of your reply might include a defense of your interpretation of the principle of autonomy or duty of beneficent or of justice. You must also be sure to address specific premises/reasons in the opposing view. Recall, you can attack an argument two general ways: i. Demonstrate that it contains a false premise or ii. that, even if the premises are true, the conclusion doesn’t follow necessarily from the premises.


(a) You may select from the following cases:

Things You Should Do If You Want to Do Well

  • Use section headings (for each of the components of the paper).
  • You must appeal to course content in sections (c), (d), (e). We’ve covered and discussed a variety of articles on different interpretations of beneficence, justice, and autonomy. Your essay should incorporate or acknowledge those views to the degree that they are relevant.
  • If your essay is something you could have written without having taken the course, you’ve missed the point of the essay. This is an opportunity to demonstrate and apply new knowledge in addition to giving your own thoughts. That is, you should incorporate ideas and arguments from the course but you should also find a way to make your own contribution. You can contribute by giving additional arguments in support of a view we’ve covered and/or you can give original objections to views/arguments we’ve covered. The idea is to build on and apply new knowledge.
  • Reread the relevant articles/class notes. Do not try to do this from memory of the readings. You will miss many important details causing your paper to be vague, overly general, and of poor quality. Avoid this. I don’t want to give out bad grades and you don’t want to get them.
  • I don’t care about APA, MLA, Chicago, etc… Just pick the style you like and stick with it. As long as you’re consistent, I’ll be happy.
  • Cite. Your. Sources. Plagiarism is a BIG deal. If you are in the least bit unsure if you should attribute an idea to its source, cite it. Better to be safe than sorry. The value of university degrees depends on what they represent: that the person with the degree did the work to receive that degree. Plagiarism diminishes the value of everyone’s degree and the reputation of the university. If you are caught plagiarizing you will fail the assignment and probably the course depending on how the Dean judges your case. If you are unsure at all, either email me and/or read the student handbook entry on plagiarism: t-Handbook.pdf