Normative theories

Write 4–6 pages in which you invent a practical circumstance that illuminates differences between the three approaches to normative theory.
There may be times in life where doing your duty might cause lasting harm or where caring about people requires breaking the rules.

By successfully completing this assessment, you will demonstrate your proficiency in the following course competencies and assessment criteria:
Competency 1: Explain the nature of ethical issues.
Describe a concrete situation that calls for making an ethical decision.
Competency 2: Critically examine the contributions of key thinkers from the history of ethics.
Apply traditional theories of normative ethics to a concrete situation.
Competency 3: Engage in ethical debate.
Describe the advantages and disadvantages of each approach to ethical theory.
Competency 4: Develop a position on a contemporary ethical issue.
Defend a coherent personal conviction about the best foundation for ethical conduct.
Competency 5: Communicate effectively in the context of personal and professional moral discourse.
Communicate in a manner that is scholarly, professional, and consistent with expectations for professional

For this assessment, you will invent a practical circumstance of your own choosing that illuminates differences among the three approaches to normative theory; a circumstance in which the duties, consequences, and virtues do not align with each other. It does not need to be a grand, controversial social issue; an everyday moral dilemma will make the conflict clearer. Just look for an example where doing your duty might cause lasting harm, or where caring about people requires breaking the rules.

Write a paper addressing this topic, supporting your statements with credible research on the three approaches to normative theory. You may begin your research with the Suggested Resources for this unit, but you are also expected to conduct your own independent research into the scholarly and professional resources of the field.

Begin by describing a concrete situation that calls for someone to make an ethical decision about what to do. Choosing your example carefully will make it easier to draw an interesting contrast between the theoretical applications. Be sure to describe the situation with enough detail to provide adequate information for arriving at a responsible choice. You are welcome to choose a case in which you are personally involved, but you may find it easier to think objectively with a little detachment.

Next, think about the kinds of normative theory that could be applied to the situation you have chosen. If we are not to surrender to ethical relativism, what should guide our decision here—duties, outcomes, or virtue? You should select the approaches in a way that heightens the dilemma of deciding on a course of action that would be right or wrong. Support your presentation by considering alternative ways of applying each theory to the case. Use your example to compare and contrast the theoretical approaches in practical terms.

Finally, discuss the advantages and disadvantages of these normative theories as methods for making moral decisions in practical cases. Use what you have written about the application of each theory to your example as evidence of the merits of each way of thinking about everyday choices. What makes the most sense, and how would you decide yourself? State your own position on which normative theory works best, and defend that position with clear arguments in its support.

Additional Requirements

Written communication: Written communication should be free of errors that detract from the overall message.
APA formatting: Include a title page and a references page, formatted according to APA (6th edition) style and formatting.
References: A typical paper will include support from a minimum of 3–5 references. You may use some of the materials recommended in the Resources, but you should also include support from your independent research of scholarly or professional materials.
Length: A typical paper will be 4–6 typed, double-spaced pages in length.
Font and font size: Times New Roman, 12-point.

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