Introduction to Ethics

Please submit 3-4 pages responding to the assignment below. The essay is due by midnight on
Saturday, Dec 7 (so any time before Sunday) via D2L. As always, feel free to e-mail me at
<> with any questions or stop by office hours.
Examine oppression from the standpoint of one of the moral theories we’ve studied.
In discussing oppression, you must use Iris Young’s account, but you can either discuss
oppression in general or more specifically by referring to one or more of the five faces.
For moral theories, you can use virtue ethics (Aristotle and/or Nussbaum), Utilitarianism
(Bentham, Mill, and/or Singer), or Kant (and/or O’Neill).
How you approach the topic is up to you. Here are a few examples, but you don’t have to pick
one of these: (1) Does oppression violate the principle of utility? (2) Does oppression violate
(some formulation of) the categorical imperative? (3) Can oppression be morally justified? (4)
Do members of oppressed groups have a moral obligation to resist oppression? (5) Does
oppression undermine virtue and/or flourishing?
Your paper must have a thesis statement. Your first paragraph should clearly introduce the
problem you will discuss and present a clear statement of what your conclusion will be. Someone
reading your paper should be able to get a sense of what it’s about and what you will claim in it
by reading your first paragraph. Do not waste space in your first paragraph by talking about
Aristotle, or about Kant, or anyone else; instead, get straight to the point: What exactly will your
paper be about and what will you argue in it?
Remember that a thesis statement should not just say what you will talk about; it should say
what you are going to conclude, and how you will support that conclusion. Examples:
BAD thesis statements: (A) “I will talk about virtue in Aristotle and why it’s bad not to have it.”
(B) “This paper will show why Kant shouldn’t rely on a universal formula.”
BETTER thesis statements: (A) “In discussing Aristotle’s conception of virtue, I will show that
lacking in virtue involves losing an important component of flourishing, which is the ability to do
good without conflict.”
(B) “In this paper, I will show that by emphasizing the universality of the Categorical Imperative,
Kant leaves out the key features that show us how to act morally.”

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