Ethical analysis of new issue

Length: 1800-2000 words

Similarity: below 5%


You are required to select an ethical issue which has been reported in the news media in the past 12 months. Collect one recent (2014 or 2015) news article that discusses th eissue, and perform further research to collect relevant background information and facts, to enable you to answer each question listed below.

This ethical issue must be different from the issue around nuclear.


You must provide a full reference of all sources of information you have used to inform your research. Provide separate answers to each of parts ‘a to e’ of this assessment under clearly headed sections:

a.       Clearly define the ethical issue and provide a brief explanation as to why it is important. (3 marks)

b.       Identify facts and key assumptions which are relevant to your analysis of the ethical issue. (6 marks)

c.       Analyse the ethical issue using act utilitarianism, identifying all relevant consequences. Compare negative versus positive consequences and assess whether net utility will rise or fall as a result of the ethical act being examined. (8 marks)

d.       Apply Kant’s categorical imperative by defining the rule that authorises the act central to the ethical issue you have chosen. Discuss whether this rule can be applied universally. (8 marks)

e.       Provide a conclusion comparing results in parts c & d above identifying whether your ethical conclusion equates with your conscience on this issue. (5 marks)

You do not need to provide a copy of the news article but you must provide full references of all articles and other sources you have used to inform your ethical analysis.


1. Keep your ethical question short, focused and clear.


2. Use a should or ought word in your ethical question – e.g. should I eat that last donut?


3. Make sure your ethical question is not a legal question or a question of fact.


4. Separate your ethical analysis from the ethical question.

e.g. we might ethically analyse drone warfare and discover drone warfare is cheaper than an invade and occupy military strategy. However we would not frame the ethical question as:

■ Should the US use drones because it’s cheaper?

â–  Rather we would include the cost factor in the analysis but leave it out of the question.


5. Don’t define ethical questions with obvious yes/no answers for your assignments. Should I

study hard or become a mass murderer? Should children be good to their mums?

The ethical question must require some level of analysis so that you can display your skills to the markers!


6. Define your question to focus on one ethical issue, rather than a combination of many issues.



7. Don’t begin your analysis with a predetermined position i.e. don’t form your ethical conclusion before you’ve done the analysis and don’t include this predetermined position in your question; e.g. is it ethical for you to engage in dangerous, risky and pointless activities such as canyoning and then ask me to rescue you when you get in trouble?

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