Discussion posts

This week’s discussion forum assignment is in two parts.You are the ethics advisor to the sheriff of a small town in the 1960s, which is experiencing extreme racial unrest. There is a murder of the civil rights leader, who did not advocate violence. You know that there will be many riots, and many innocent people, including children and elderly, will be killed, if the murderer is not found today. Furthermore, you know that the actual murderer is gone, and will never kill again, but you cannot prove this, and you cannot catch him (let us ignore for now how you can know this).A homeless person wanders into town that day. He has no family, no friends, no job, and no connections. You know that if the homeless man is framed for the crime, and he is immediately tried and executed, you can subvert the riots, and guarantee peace in the town. If you don’t, then you know that there will be riots, and many innocent people will die. These are your only two options, and you must act today.In your first post, answer the questions: what would you advise that the sheriff do, and why? Is your decision consistent with the Categorical Imperative, or with Utilitarianism? Develop your answer as a defense of your choice, but also as a defense of one or the other of these moral theories. Your first post is due by Wednesday at 11:59pm. While I encourage you to type your post into a word processor to check for spelling and grammar errors, please don’t “attach”: simply copy/paste your issue into the discussion box. Forum responses should be 200+ words, and include a “references” or “works cited” section.In your second post, try to identify a student in the class who has chosen differently from you, either because they chose the opposite theory, or defended a similar theory for different reasons. If that student is a utilitarian, develop an objection to his/her action on the basis of the categorical imperative. If that student defended the categorical imperative, develop an objection to his/her action on the basis of utilitarianism. Try to choose a thread with no other replies, so that everyone gets a reply, and no one gets too many. The idea here is that we’re beginning to think about competing moral theories and principles, how they inform particular moral judgments, and what kinds of things can be brought to bear in choosing between them. Your last post is due by Sunday at 11:59pm. Again, while I encourage you to use the spell check feature of your word processing software, please don’t “attach”: simply copy/paste your post into the discussion box. Replies should be 300+ words, and include a “references” or “works cited” section.You must post two times to receive a passing grade, and your final post is due by Sunday at 11:59PM. The peer review discussion thread will close for grading at that time, though it will remain open during the entire term for your review. Please review the Discussion Protocol and Rubrics listed in the class syllabus for a description of meaningful posts that will earn the highest grade. Namely, I am looking for two things: (1) quality of engagement with the course material, as demonstrated by reference to the text or outside resources, and (2) originality of thought, as demonstrated by the student’s ability to synthesize the material from the lesson and then apply it to a novel concept. A 200-word post and a 300-word peer review reply are the minimum requirements to earn a grade of a “C” or higher, but they will not automatically result in an “A” for a grade. Review the rubric that’s linked on the syllabus for grading criteria before posting. Please do not ever “edit” a post once it’s submitted. Ask a question if you are unsure about this policy.


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