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For this last essay the theme is ethics. In 4 pages discuss your view on what constitutes ethical behavior. You are free to use any of the readings we’ve done in the last part of the semester to serve as a context for your discussion (Kant’s Grounding, Camus’ The Stranger, and Sartre’s Respectable Prostitute and The Flies). Evaluate the philosophical view you are addressing. You may instead explain how you’ve appropriated elements of that view to develop your own variation on that philosopher’s view.
What to think about:
Some possible issues to consider are the notions of freedom and human agency, authenticity, the human capacity for ethical reasoning, the role of religious or social views in grounding what counts as ethical behavior, and the possibility of constructing an ethical theory at all. Another question you might contemplate to get the cognitive juices flowing is one we’ve explored: “Is it possible for a person to be 100% certain that what he or she is doing is morally correct? Why or why not?” Your answer(s) to the above questions should help you in determining what you ultimately will take to be ethical behavior. You do not have to explicitly answer or address all of the above. These are merely suggestions to help you in thinking through what your analysis will be.
No matter which direction your paper takes, be sure to explain the underlying principles and rationale for your view and consider any possible counter-examples that might undermine your account of what counts as ethical behavior. It will help you figure this out by (1) articulating what you take to be the key features any ethical theory must have, (2) determining whether “individual rights” are more important than “human rights” (and if you can have one without the other), and (3) figuring out how this ethical theory (be it yours or another philosopher’s) can adjudicate between competing claims of individuals or groups (e.g., a community, state, country, or countries).
Once again, the prompt is: “What constitutes ethical behavior”?