Phil 205 S20 H: Essay 3 Prompt

General Instructions: Your assignment is to write a 4-6 page paper on the following topic. The paper should be typed, double-spaced in a 12 point legible font. You should have citations using the CMS documentary note system. It is due at the beginning of class on Wednesday, April 22. You should plan on submitting an electronic version over email. Be sure that it is a Word document in .doc or .docx format or a Google Doc that you have given me editing privileges on.  

Prompt: For this paper you will read the essay "Ethics, Pandemics, and the Duty to Treat" by Heidi Malm et. al. An electronic version of the essay can be found here. A pdf version of the essay can be found here. As the title indicates, this essay discusses the duties and obligations of healthcare professionals (doctors, nurses, EMT's, etc.) in the event of a pandemic. Though originally written in 2007, this essay is, obviously, quite relevant to our current situation as we try and address the COVID-19 pandemic. While you should read the entire essay, you should focus your analysis on the arguments that Malm et. al. make in the "Conclusion" section at the end of the essay. In particular, you should focus on the question: "Do healthcare professionals have a duty to treat victims of a pandemic even at great personal risk to themselves and their families?" In your paper you should provide an answer to this question as well as respond to the account Malm et. al. provide in the "Conclusion" section of the essay. In addition, you should apply one of the moral theories we discussed in class to this issue and use that moral theory to make your argument about whether or not healthcare professionals have a duty to treat in the event of a pandemic like COVID-19. The opening sections of Chapter 4 in Writing Philosophy provide excellent information on how to write this paper. In addition, for this paper you will need to include at least two non-Wikipedia sources in addition to the citation for the essay.

A successful paper will do the following:
  1. An introduction in which you lay out the issue and provide a thesis. It should BRIEFLY introduce the issue at hand, providing some basic understanding of the topic. The thesis statement of your paper should appear here. The thesis should take a stand on the issue in question. Also, your thesis should provide a “map” or outline of the rest of your paper. It is often best to leave the writing of your introduction for last. As you begin to draft your paper, you may not always know exactly where it will end up. Allowing this process to occur without worrying about being consistent with your introduction will help your ideas flow more readily and consistently.            
  2. Provide a more in-depth summary or discussion of the issue you will be writing about. Here you might provide some facts or statistical data about the topic, or discuss the history of this issue. 
  3. Analyze the argument that Malm et. al. provide in the "Conclusion" section of the essay. What kind of argument do they make? Is it a good argument? Why or why not?
  4. Briefly summarize the moral theory that you will be using in the essay. How does this theory approach moral issues? What kinds of facts or aspects of a situation does this theory find relevant. 
  5. Apply that moral theory to the question, "Do healthcare professionals have a duty to treat in the event of a pandemic like COVID-19?" Be sure to give a definitive answer to this question. 
  6. Evaluate that moral theory and its application to the issue. Does it do a good job of addressing that issue? Are there aspects of the issue that you think are important that the moral theory misses? Could that moral theory be modified in some way to address these issues? You should also consider the objections Malm et. al. discuss in the section "Five Grounds for a Duty to Treat" and consider whether any of them apply to the argument you have made. If they do, you should consider how to respond to those objections or whether those objections show that your moral theory cannot ground a duty to treat. 
  7. A conclusion in which you summarize the results of the paper and draw any general conclusions we can take from the issues being discussed.
  8. Footnotes/endnotes and a bibliography in the CMS format.
Pre-Writing: For this paper there are a number of pre-writing activities. The due dates for these are on the course schedule. 

Grading: This essay will be graded using the attached rubric. Each column in the rubric will count equally towards the essay grade. 

Ian Duckles,
Mar 24, 2020, 10:26 AM