Ethics Term Paper
An ethics term paper is an in-depth and scholarly discussion on an issue of morality. Ethics term papers are typically composed as the culminating assignment of a term of study in philosophy or ethics, and are assigned so that students who have studied ethics can demonstrate the critical thinking and logical reasoning skills they have gained throughout the course by applying them to a specific ethical issue.
Ethics term papers will likely require a research component, but an ethics term paper is not the same as an ethics reference project. A document that is strictly an ethics research paper would require the student to report on a variety of others' ethical stances and opinions about a particular ethics topic; an ethics term paper, on the other hand, will often be more focused on the student's own ideas and reasoning regarding the ethics topic, and will use secondary sources only as points of reference and defense for his or her own interpretation.
Because ethics is about morality, it can sometimes be easy when writing on topics of ethics to be biased towards one's own beliefs. Ethics reports should heartily seek to avoid such bias. An ethics term paper is not a place in which an individual should assume moral superiority; rather, it should be a philosophic and academic investigation into moral and philosophic ideas surrounding particular issues. This means that the student must seek to fairly examine many sides of an issue—even sides with which he or she does not agree—and analyze their merits. This can often be a difficult task, as many learners have personal or religious convictions regarding many ethical issues. Students should remember, however, that an ethics term paper is intended to investigate and explore morality in the same way that a biology term paper is intended to investigate and explore biology—it should be treated is an intellectual undertaking, rather than an emotional one. This means that a student cannot cite a certain document or individual as being the arbiter of absolute knowledge on an issue; this would not be a logical or critical investigation, but an assertion of personal opinion.
Another error writers of ethics reports should avoid is assuming an ethnocentric stance. Ethnocentrism is the conscious or unconscious assumption that one's own culture is better than others. Many people may fail to take into account the influence of culture on morality, and judge morality based on the ethical norms of their own culture. When writing an ethics term paper, learners should strive to step away from an ethnocentric perspective and view the topic at hand as objectively as possible.
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