Critical Thinking Concept Ethics Journal Purpose:
To apply critical thinking concepts as well as ethical concepts, principles and theories to current events.
Identify three news articles throughout the semester that relate to ethics in some way.
It is your responsibility to identify relevant articles for the assignment. Major newspapers such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal are a few suggested sources that regularly publish articles relating to ethics in some way.
Note: The articles you have selected MUST be published during the semester you are enrolled in the class. No credit will be given for any journal entries based on an article published prior to the first day of class for the section in which you are registered.
Critical Thinking Concept Ethics Journal Writing Guidelines
For each article, complete the following:
1) Summarize the main point of the article, being sure to explain how the article relates to ethics.
2) Analyze the article by applying at least two of the elements of thought to the article.
3) Identify the central ethical concepts and/or principles that the article addresses, either explicitly or implicitly.
4) Attempt to identify what normative theory the article relies on, if any. Be sure to explain your reasoning. If you do not see any theory as relevant to the issue, explain why you have come to this conclusion.
5) On a scale of 1-10, explain how significant the article is for the general public to read. Explain the basis of your analysis.
6) Personal response/evaluation: what is your personal response to the article? Does your response rely on any aspects of ethical theories we have covered in the class?
7) Source. Be sure to provide a weblink to the source of your article as well as proper bibliographic information in APA or MLA formatting.
Note: If you utilize a print source, you will need to scan and upload a copy of the article so that I am able to evaluate your work.
1) The recent article “Human-Animal Chimeras Are Gestating on U.S. Research Farms” addresses the controversial attempt to use pigs and sheep as incubators to grow human organs for transplant. This issue is relevant to ethics because it inserts human cells into animals, which could “blur the line between species,” (Regalado, 2016) which in itself has implications for whom or what is morally considerable, or for whom we believe is a member of the moral community.
2) Two elements of thought that pertain to this topic are implications/consequences and concepts. The topic is controversial because the consequences of introducing human DNA and cells into animals are difficult to predict. Many people are concerned about genetically modified foods, and this practice seems to take GMOs to a whole new level. The term ‘concept’ also applies to this article because the concept of what it means to be human becomes challenged—if I have an organ grown inside a pig transplanted into me, does that me less human in some way? If a pig has a human heart, does the pig become in some way human?
3) Some of the ethical concepts that pertain to this article include human nature and safety. In our chapter on natural law, we explored different conceptions of human nature. It was difficult to determine what human nature consists of, and this new technology further complicates the matter. Another ethical concept is safety, which itself relates to the concept of well-being. Will the artificially grown organs be safe for humans? If part of ethics is to improve well-being, and the organs are safe, then this seems like a good idea. But, if undetermined risks come to light in the future, this would be ethically problematic.
4) The attempt to grow human organs inside of non-human animals seems utilitarian in nature. By sacrificing some animals as vessels for human organs, a greater amount of good can theoretically be achieved. Whether the greater good is actually achieved, and whether it would justify the amount of pain caused to animals seems to be something that only the test of time will show us.
5) I would rank this as a 7 on a scale of 10 in terms of level of importance. This is an example of a technological advance that can have considerable effects on the way we see animals and the way we think of the problems surrounding organ shortages for transplants. At the same time, this technology seems somewhat far off, and so is not as important as other more immediate concerns. I suppose that if I or a loved one needed an organ, or if I were an animal rights activist, I would rank this article as even more important.
6) I’m somewhat torn about this idea. I’m concerned about tinkering with nature without really appreciating the long term effects of doing so. Humans seem to have a track record of acting first and thinking later. For instance, I saw a documentary about the dust bowl. New technology (tractors) allowed the sod in the Great Plains to be tilled for agriculture. But, when a drought came, much of the tilled soil was blown away in the great dust storms. I can appreciate the use of science to make medical advances. So, I would say that this kind of action is OK based on utilitarian reasoning, provided that it starts very slowly and does not get adapted on a wide scale basis until we have a reasonable sense that the benefits truly outweigh the risks.
7) Regalado, A. (2016, January 6). Human-Animal Chimeras Are Gestating on U.S. Research Farms. MIT Technology Review. Retrieved on September 13, 2016 from https://www.technologyreview.com/s/545106/human-animal-chimeras-are-gestating-on-us-research-farms/
Critical Thinking Concept Ethics Journal Grading
Point value: each individual journal entry is worth fifty points. The assignment on the whole is worth 150 points.
Late work: Late work is penalized 15 points per day, and will not be accepted once the week of the final exam begins.
Grading rubric: Please see the rubric below to determine how each of your journal entries will be graded.
Do you clearly identify the main point of the article and explain how the article pertains to ethics?
Do you clearly apply two elements of thought to the article and explain their relevance to the issue?
Do you clearly identify at least two ethical concepts relevant to the article and explain their role in the issue?
Do you attempt to identify a normative theory that the article relies upon? Is the identification correct and well-reasoned? If no theory is determined relevant, do you explain the basis of your judgement?
Do you clearly evaluate the significance of the issue to the general public and provide an explanation of your evaluation?
Do you clearly explain the basis of your personal response to the issue and support your response with ethical reasoning?
Is your work well written? Do you avoid grammar and spelling errors? Do you use proper vocabulary for a college paper? Is your source cited appropriately in APA or MLA format?