Utilitarianism and Kantianism on Marijuana

Your paper should be 3-5 pages in length, double-spaced. The paper should include a works cited page with at least 3 sources* (see below for source suggestions) that you cite in the paper, in addition to the course material. You are welcome to use any standard citation style (e.g., APA, MLA, Chicago). A title page is not required.

The paper can be on any topic that is clearly related to the content of the class. The style of the paper should be one of the following: (1) an argumentative thesis-driven paper, (2) an exploratory research paper, or (3) an application paper, where you use either utilitarianism or Kantianism to address an ethical issue.

Examples of potential paper topics include:

Paper type (1), an argumentative, thesis-driven paper: “In this paper, I will argue that…” Examples: an argument supporting (or rejecting) utilitarianism overall, an argument in favor of (or against) Kantianism as a moral theory, an argument against (or in favor of) specific parts of utilitarianism, etc.

Paper type (2), an exploratory research paper: “In this paper, I will examine/explore…” Examples: an examination of how utilitarian principles are used to guide policy-making in health care, an investigation into different theories of human rights, an exploration of how different cultures tend toward utilitarian (or anti-utilitarian) thinking, etc.

Paper type (3), an application paper: “In this paper, I will use the theory of utilitarianism (or Kantianism) to address…” Examples: an explanation of how utilitarianism (or Kantianism) would address the legalization of cannabis, or issues surrounding gun control, or the moral complexities of euthanasia, etc. There are many, many possible paper topics to choose from here, since utilitarianism or Kantianism can be applied to any moral or social issue.

These are only examples, and you do not have to write on one of these topics. You are welcome to choose your own topic. The paper must, however, be clearly related to the content of the class. Additionally, a paper that simply states your own views on an ethical issue is not sufficient; you must use your sources to develop one of the styles of paper listed above.

*Source suggestions:

If you are not able to access library resources, there are a number of excellent, free sources online that you can use to complete your paper. Here are a few recommendations:

1. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: https://plato.stanford.edu/

Excellent, fully searchable site with up-to-date articles on virtually every topic in philosophy. The articles are aimed at readers who have some experience in philosophy.

2. The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy: https://www.iep.utm.edu/

Another excellent site that is oriented more toward students and beginners. If you are not a philosophy major or minor, this might be the best resource for you.

3. The Wireless Philosophy channel on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/WirelessPhilosophy

Loads of videos, all created by philosophers who are experts in their areas of research. Any of these videos can count as a source for your paper.

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New York University

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