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I have to write a paper for philosophy on a current hot button ethical issue in our current society. The problem is that I am not sure I really have a strong opinion on any of the topics. I am more of a free will type of person and don't care about these topics other than that people should be allowed to make there own choices.  What should I do? How do I go about writing a paper on a topic I have zero interest or knowledge in and do not have a side to take? Here is the assignment below....   Using the ethical theories presented in Chapter 5, take a well reasoned position on one of the hot button liberty limiting issues of our time (Euthanasia, Stem Cell Research, Genetic Engineering, Abortion, Recreational Drug Use, or Prostitution). Be sure to use several of our theories and be clear about the premises that support your position. (700-2000 words).

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Lorna Stowers eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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I would tend to agree with mwalter on this topic. Regardless of your stand, the essay simply needs to depict a singular side of an issue and provide support for it. Regardless of your stand, I can assume (as a teacher) that the paper is not whether or not you agree with the topic, but your ability to construct a coherent paper.

I would suggest that you do not worry about your stand, if you are so passive about the issues. Instead, you simply need to prove that you can write.

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Mike Walter eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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How do you go about writing a paper in which you aren't on either side? You simply pick a side and go with it. I've seen students agonize over this same delimma in class every year. Don't worry about it, just pick a side. It doesn't matter if you agree with what you are writing about or not, as long as you show some knowledge of the topic and write effectively.

As for the fact that you have zero knowledge on the topics, you're just going to have to do the work to gain the knowledge. There's really no substitute for the work.

As for the fact that you have zero interest in the topics, that's because you haven't done the work yet. I'll be that when you do the research you'll find that you actually do have interest in one or more of the topics.

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Alec Cranford eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Isn't the idea that people should be allowed to make up their own minds, and act on their opinions, a position in itself? If you can make an argument for free will, choice, or however you want to phrase it, then it seems to me that you have a good way of approaching this topic. Taking stem cell research as an example, I would suggest that if you believe in freedom of action, then you probably don't think the government should outlaw it, or believe that it is immoral.

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bandmanjoe eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Usually when people are asked to give and substantiate a position on a given subject, and they respond as you have, they are fairly limited on their knowledge of the subject.  What I would suggest is to do a search on as many of the subjects as you care to search and do a little background reading.  Once you are aware of some of the basic tenets of the subject you are reading about, you will find yourself making statements like "Gosh, I never knew that!" or "That is awful!  How could people do such things?"  Take the subject of euthanasia, for example.  It hasn't been too long, a doctor by the name of Jack Kervorkian took it upon himself to set up "patients" who sought out his services with a basic intravenous setup, complete with trigger switch, that allowed them to quietly end their own life.  Dr. Kervorkian was demonized by the media as "playing God", tagged with the nickname "Dr. Death", and actually served some prison time for his suicide assistance with some patients.  But in the eyes of the terminal patients who wanted to end their suffering, he was probably looked upon as a hero.  Even if you do feel people should be allowed to make their own choices on most things, this should not be too hard to take a stand on, one way or another.

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kerifoconnor | Student

Ok I have decided to write my paper using the thesis that, "Abortion is morally wrong under all circumstances," (not my opinion but what I have choosen to agrue) and I am considering using Immanuel Kant's Golden rule theory of ethics  "Do onto others only as you would wish them to do to you,"(that is my revision of his statement for this forum only) as a way of supporting my idea since this is suppose to be an ethical philosophy paper. 

 

Now I am going to throw in that life begins at conception and that abortion is wrong because it would be equal to taking someone elses life without at least asking first for the benefit of oneself and if Kant's golden rule was true, who would want that to happen to them?

 

What do you think? Good, bad or just plain stupid?