The Ethics of Duty
Deontological ethics concerns itself primarily with duty. We hear a lot about duty today, from duty to family to duty to country. Most of us feel a sense of duty when we see human destruction in the natural world, from condos on wetlands to plastic in the oceans. What is an environmental issue (an issue having to do with human impact, large or small, on the natural world) about which you feel a sense of duty?
Using the scholarly research tools in our library, find a recent (last 3 years) academic article (i.e., not from a popular magazine or website) that addresses your chosen issue in a way that interests you. Your article probably will be peer-reviewed; our library shows you whether or not a given article has been vetted by experts in the field.
You will need to experiment with narrowing your topic, because “pollution” could be a 3,487-page paper. This article could be an explanation of the issue, a recommendation regarding a solution for the issue, or even an argument against others’ understanding of the issue. Up to you.
As you read and reread the article, take notes. What are the article’s main points? What key terms, concepts, or arguments does the article’s author use to make those points? How can you use some of the article’s main points to underline and develop your own sense of duty about the issue? Perhaps most important: Why should you, or anyone, have this sense of duty about this issue, that is, what’s at stake and why are we obliged to do anything about it?
This paper should do the following.
Open with a paragraph that contains a brief overview of the issue, a brief indication of how the article relates to that issue, and a thesis sentence that connects your sense of duty to the issue and the article. Please provide the full title, author, and publication in your first mention of the article. (Example: In his article “X” from Mother Jones, Jim Smith argues that….)
Contain at least three body paragraphs that explore the main points and key terms, concepts, and arguments you’ve chosen from the article. Use selected bits of information from the article (cite them, please) to support your own ideas about the article, the issue, and your sense of duty. This is not a book report. You’re not simply restating the article.
Close with a paragraph that echoes the opening paragraph but also adds new value via the idea of duty. You might consider looking to the future, creating a call to action for others, or warning of what could happen if things do not change.
This paper is three to four pages, APA format.
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