Prompts (choose one)

During a pandemic, measures like lockdowns and mask mandates may be implemented. It is sometimes argued that such measures infringe on personal autonomy. Are such measures morally justified? Why/why not?

Which of the eight principles for the allocation of medical resources do you find most convincing? Why?

Does Judith Jarvis Thompson’s “famous violinist” thought experiment prove that abortion is ethically permissible? Do her other thought experiments? Justify your answer.

What is Don Marquis’s argument for the immorality of abortion? Does it provide a convincing rebuttal to Judith Jarvis Thompson’s arguments in defense of abortion?

What is “reproductive justice”, and why do its advocates think it is important to move beyond the language of “pro-life” and “pro-choice”? Do you agree?

Is the American healthcare system just? Why or why not? How does it compare with other leading alternative healthcare systems? Provide evidence to support your claims.

Is the opioid crisis best understood as a problem of criminality, or a problem of public health? Explain your answer.

Writing Criteria

Length: 600 words minimum, excluding work cited page, name, date, etc. (~3 pages)

Format: Calibiri, 12 pt. font

Due Date: November 17, 2020

Citations: As long as you are consistent you may use the citation style you are familiar with (APA, MLA, Chicago Style, etc.).

Sources: You must use a minimum of two sources (they may all come from the Vaughn textbook).

For example, you may cite the Vaughn reading from Abortion (pp. 339-351) and Thomson’s article “A Defense of Abortion” (pp. 357-367).

Hint: A good ethics paper will engage with three things, (1) the prompt, (2) concepts and (3) moral theory (e.g., utilitarianism or Kantian ethics). Furthermore, you should clearly state your position in the opening paragraph. This could be that you agree, disagree, or that you take some other third approach.

Grading Rubric

Clear thesis statement

Clearly explains relevant concepts

Accurately outlines moral theories

Answers the question(s) in the paper prompt.

Clear argument supported by textual sources.

Spelling, grammar, and proper citations.

Things to Avoid

Fallacious Reasoning

Appeals to emotion, Anecdotal Data or Experiences, etc.

Do not fall into the trap of legal justification. This is an ethics paper, not a law paper.


A bad or late paper is better than no paper, but a plagiarized paper is inexcusable and may result in an F for the entire course.