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Context and background for the essay:
Just war theory, as indicated in the materials for this week, is “the idea that the use of force, including military force, is justified in limited and specific circumstances” (eText, MacKinnon, 9th Ed., p.534). But the idea that force, coercion, and/or violence may be morally justified in some situations is, in the view of some, related to other controversial moral issues today. The eText provides some definitions of violence as “the use of physical force to cause injury to another” (530), and “infringement of another … to do harm” (531). This could include, as some see it, the use of various mechanisms to end a life or severely limit the freedom of another.
With this understanding of violence as life-harmful action, the moral questions for this essay exam are all about whether there is a moral use of force and/or mechanisms to end life in specific situations.
For the exam, you must discuss the permissible use of violence, lethal procedures, or life-harming actions related to any one of the following issues you choose to write about: abortion, euthanasia, animal experimentation, legal punishment, death penalty, terrorism or war. Under each question, once you’ve chosen your specific moral issue, you may use that moral issue for both questions in the exam or you may use the two questions to address two different social topics.
Essay Question One:
In at least 250 words, discuss the questions of when, why, and how much violence or life-harming action may be a permissible within your selected moral issue with your specific case or scenario explained (real or imagined). You must also address the question from a moral philosophical view using at least one moral theory we’ve studied in this course to support the permissible use of violence or life-harming action. You must define the basic moral principle in the theory you choose and explain how it relates to the permissible use of harmful action in the case you’re discussing. Select one of the moral theories or moral philosophies of the person named for your discussion of this question: Utilitarianism, Immanuel Kant, Natural Law, Human Rights, Peter Singer, Aristotle, Carol Gilligan (feminist ethics of care), and/or a specific Religious based ethic. You may bring your own personal experience into the essay but be sure you answer the exam questions in what you discuss. This essay is not just about your opinion on the use of violence but about moral theories that address it.
Context and background for the essay is same definitions and background as given above in preface to the first essay question.
Essay Question Two:
In at least 250 words, discuss a counter position against the use of morally permissible violence or life-harming action in which you use a different moral theory from the one used in the pro-position (question 1). You must define the basic moral principle of the counter moral theory and explain why it rejects any permissible use of violence or life-harming action in the case you’re discussing (it can be the same issue or a different one from your first answer). The choices for the moral theory or moral philosopher you will discuss in your contrary discussion on the question of a permissible moral use of violence or life-harming actions are: Utilitarianism, Immanuel Kant, Natural Law, Human Rights, Peter Singer, Aristotle, Carol Gilligan (feminist ethics of care), and/or a specific Religious based ethics. Conclude this discussion with a statement of your own moral view for or against, about the case you’ve presented regarding a morally permissible use of violence or life-harming action and explain what is your moral rationale and whether it matches up with one of the moral theories studied in the course, or if it rests on some other moral position and perspective. And if so, how would you explain the moral principle behind your position.

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