What is a moral issue you would like to make a difference on in the world

1. What is a moral issue you would like to make a difference on in the world (e.g., racism, climate change, or animal rights). What is the “moral issue” here? Why do you care about it? And what do you think is the right thing (or set of things) to do (e.g., change individual/communal behavior, change public policy, etc.)?

2. What are the facts—the technical details—about your moral issue according to good (i.e., scholarly, peer-reviewed) research? Name some other moral issues that are interconnected with this one. What are the “adaptive challenges” that make this problem difficult to solve?

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3. Choose a moral argument that approaches your moral issue from a perspective that challenges your own. Your task this week is to summarize the argument(s) you’re finding in your research. (You will critically evaluate these argument[s] in step #5, so save that for later.) As you summarize their argument, think about the four dimensions of moral agency as well as these questions:

Normative Ethics: What KIND of argument they are making? Are they appealing to rules? Duties? Pleasure, pain or other consequences? Virtues and character?

Descriptive Ethics: Do their assumptions about human nature, ethical motivation, etc. come through strongly? And do they seem to influence how your source(s) reason on the issue?

Meta-Ethics: What sources of authority do they appeal to in making their argument? Are they saying this is just logical? Using empirical studies? Religious convictions and/or appealing to God’s will or design?

Your challenge is to be as fair as possible with your source(s)’s approach to the issue, trying to genuinely understand and even learn from a perspective that is different from your own. To this end, you need to name some valid points, concerns, and/or interests in this argument. For full points, you must engage a primary source reading with good paraphrasing and proper citations in APA style.

4. Finally, you get to critically assess and respond to the perspective that you summarized in step #4. To the best of your ability, identify the matters of embodied context that might inform the thinker’s understanding of the issue. This might include asking:

What critical charges can be leveled against the author? What is the author missing or overlooking in their argument?

Where do you disagree with the author—on judgments of principle vs. prudential judgments (i.e., application)? Do their sources of authority or assumptions about human nature limit the reach of their argument to those who already agree with them?

How might a different normative-ethical approach change or contest the author’s conclusions?

Then, in response to the argument you have researched, restate your position on this issue. Do your best to name objections to your position, your own assumptions about the issue, and further implications of your view (including how this relates to other issues). Explain how, in your thinking, your position defends against the objections, assumptions, and implications of different ethical perspectives/concepts. Perhaps most importantly, how might you make common cause with those who disagree with you on the big picture? Is there common ground?

Requirements – APA format, 2000 words in length, three sources

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