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Write and submit an essay of 900-1100 substantive (thoughtful, insightful) and well written words on ONLY ONE of the following topics:

1.  The focus of Unit 5 is Deontology, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t see competing schools of ethics within Bierce’s short story “A Horseman in the Sky,” which appears in chapter five.  Ethics is about dilemmas and choices, often at competition with one another for resolution.  Situate this story within a few competing ethical theories.  Integrate at least two other readings from this chapter and/or prior chapters.

  • Stuff to consider:
    • Duty (institutional, national, familial)
    • Moral Sensibility
    • Consequences (Consequentialism, Utilitariansim)
    • Individual consequences
    • Institutional consequences
    • Categorical Imperatives
    • Competing Interests
    • Obligations
    • Jingoism


2. Thoroughly examine how Hawthorne’s short story is an exemplification of Aristotelian Virtue Ethics.  (Do not neglect the Aristotelian part and be sure to integrate at least two other readings from the unit).

  • Your final draft will contain an introduction which effectively sets up the rest of the essay and states the main idea (thesis) near the end of the introduction.
  • Each supporting paragraph will begin with a topic sentence that introduces the topic of that paragraph.  Every sentence in a supporting paragraph will be tightly focused upon the topic introduced in the paragraph’s first sentence.
  • The essay will contain textual evidence from the readings to support its claims.  The evidence (examples) will be apt and succinct.
  • The evidence will be properly documented, including in-text citations and works cited, per MLA style (see the links provided in MLA Resources).
  • The essay will contain a conclusion which effectively reflects back upon the essay as a whole.
  • Note: In crafting the essays for this course, it is important that you both demonstrate having closely read and understood the readings in light of the subject matter of ethics; it is also important that you weigh-in with insight and analysis of the subject matter.  I do not simply want to see a regurgitation of what you read (although, I do want see some of that), but rather I want to see you weigh-in with some thoughts, inferences, implications, considerations, etc., as to what this means in our time for our society and for individuals of which you are one.
  • The essay must be informative, thoughtful, insightful, well-considered, well-developed, and well-written.
  • Grammar, mechanics, and style all count: How you say what it is that you say is important; the two broad criteria–content and writing skills–work together to convey meaning and impart insight.
  • Find your own voice.
  • The answers are not in the back of the book, and I don’t have a solutions manual either.  The answers are on the pages assigned to be read and in your head–if you struggle hard enough to make sense of what you read and demonstrate some intellectual curiosity.  Use your writing to crystalize your thought.  That’s what multiple drafts are for.