More is not necessarily better; I am looking for a convincing and compelling ethical argument no matter how long or short. This is intended to be an exercise in “applied ethics.” The idea is to apply an ethical principle or theory to a concrete issue. You have actually been doing this all your life, you just weren’t generally conscious of the principles behind your ethical decisions about what was right or wrong in a given situation. If you grew up with a family dog for example, you knew from a young age that grabbing a big knife from the kitchen and murdering your dog would not be an approved action by your parents and your siblings.
Applied Ethics and Ethical Principle Application Scenario
Your parents may have told you that your dog has a “right” to life and your older siblings may have pointed out that it makes little sense to kill what presumably you and your family love. But if you happened to live near the coast of North Carolina and a category 4 hurricane dropped two feet of water on your town and no one could get to you after a week and you ran out of food, suddenly eating the family dog might sound like an ethically defensible idea. This is exactly the point of ethical argumentation. Under what conditions does it make sense to honor an animal’s right to life and give it humane treatment and under what conditions does it make ethical sense to have the dog for dinner? The last half (chapters 10 – 20) of the eText is about “applied ethics,” so you can get a more concrete sense about how ethical reasoning is applied to animal rights, war, economic justice, social equality and so on. There is also an appendix (page 336) that on the subject of “How to Write an Ethics Paper” for what it is worth.