The paper (on the morality of eating) should be 4-5 pages (1.5 spaced, 1 in margin, 12 pt font) and explore the ethical and/or philosophical dimensions of an environmental issue. The paper counts 140 pts of your course grade and so it should be a significant effort. You choose the topic as long as I have approved it. The first session is for animal related ethical themes and the second is more open. Please no cover page just name and title of paper at top of first page.
The paper can either focus on a specific issue or evaluate more general issues.
1. This paper should be a philosophy paper but for some topics, factual and scientific information will be necessary. But focus on the ethical and conceptual dimensions and on the questions of public policy involved. (Always ask: What should we do concerning this issue and why? What are the philosophical, ethical, and conceptual questions which must be answered if this issue is to be resolved?)
2. Tie your paper into the central themes of the course. The paper must show that it was written by someone who took this course. Someplace in your paper you should (probably) indicate how the various environmental ethics we have considered (e.g., anthropocentrism vs biocentrism, utilitarian vs deontological) bear on your topic. Which of these are you assuming (or rejecting) in your argument, if any, and why? In other words, what position(s) on the question of moral standing are you assuming (or rejecting) and what are your reasons? Which philosophers (authors) relate to your issue and how? If the issue you are discussing (and the position you are taking on it) would be illuminated by addressing these issues, you should do so.
3. At least six (not assigned in the course) philosophical/scientific journal readings are required for this paper. I suggest using the journals Environmental Ethics, Environmental Values, Ethics and the Environment, Ethics, Place and Environment, Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics, and Between the Species. Some of these journals could help but please explore the databases from the library to search and start early in case you need to use interlibrary loan. You should be able to find something on almost any topic you choose. I can help you find specific articles relevant to your subject if you are having trouble finding them. A tremendous Internet resource is available at the following web site: http://www.phil.unt.edu/bib/. This bibliography (kept by the International Society for Environmental Ethics) summarizes articles in the field and can be searched by key word. You can also use the reference (in the Library Reference section) called Philosophers Index which lists by subject, title, and author most philosophical articles that have been published. Don’t get bogged down on this dimension of the paper. I want you to think for your self; the outside reading is meant only to help stimulate your own thinking.