Ethics and the Human Genome
Due April 14 (Rewrite due April 28)
Typed, double-spaced, stapled, and with pages numbered
Length is flexible,
but aim for 5-7 pages.
Please attach a
Response form to the copy for your fellow.
guidelines and grading rubric
Ethics is about where to draw the
between moral right and wrong, and why. There are different ethical
perspectives on which sorts of pros and cons are considered and given most
weight. For your project you have picked a realm of decision making
where the use of
technologies is controversial, precisely because there are disagreements
which of its uses would be good or bad, right or wrong. In this paper, you will
get to the heart of the ethical debate. This will not be a book report or
simple description of what the various sides argue, but an analysis of
the various sides are trying to draw the line, and why.
- You are an independent consultant who is known for getting to the
current debates in applied ethics. The governor of your state is besieged
interest groups on all sides on topic X (...your topic...). S/he asks you to
provide a broader perspective on what is truly at issue in the debate over
cut through the rhetoric to reveal the more fundamental clash of personal
and moral considerations. S/he wants your analysis before
formulating her/his own views for presentation to the
legislature next month when it considers the bills before it.
Provide enough background--but no more--on the current state of the science,
and controversy so that the reader (each legislator) will know enough
facts to follow your subsequent analysis. (Note that some of these facts may best be
woven throughout your analysis if, for example, they concern unappreciated
possibilities and limitations of the proposed technologies.)
Analyze the ethical arguments being put forward. First, where is
trying to draw the moral line (for example, what's over the line), and what are its reasons for drawing the line there? Second, to which
or ethical systems do the different sides appeal (or ignore) to make their cases for "where" and "why"?
- Then give your considered judgment to the governor about which
should weigh most heavily, and why--in his/her role as an elected
representative in the
state (not as a private citizen).
- You may consider a non-traditional format if it helps make your paper clearer or more interesting for the reader.
Reread this assignment after you have written
your paper. Did
you actually address it, fully?
Do your best on the first version; it is not merely a "rough draft."
and Grading Rubric for general guidelines.
- Provides background on the science or technology in question
(using at least 2 outside sources)
- Describes the key arguments & counterarguments in the controversy
over this technology (using at least 2 outside sources)
- Analyzes these arguments & counterarguments to reveal which
ethical principles they call upon or ignore (e.g., virtue-, duty-, or
consequences-based ethical principles; or medical ethics such as
beneficience, autonomy, etc.). Note: Being general, these
principles will be applicable to many issues, not just yours.
- Does not personally take a side in the debate, but does make
recommendations on what what the governor, as the highest elected
representative of the state, ought to decide.
- Paper is focused, well-organized, & clearly written
- Claims & descriptions backed up with relevant evidence from
- Demonstrates understanding of the competing ethical principles
involved (NOTE: labeling is not important; understanding is)
- Presents all sides fairly & dispassionately
- Provides recommendations to governor that clearly recognize that
elected officials might have an obligation to decide differently than if
they were acting purely in
their private capacity.