Conduct research and select a news story. Throughout your studies, you have been exposed to many moral theories. You have probably agreed with some and disagreed with others. In this assignment, you have the opportunity to explore some of these theories more fully by applying the theories to a contemporary issue. Using the Internet or a local newspaper, select a recent news story that involves a contemporary moral issue. Examples might include, but are not limited to:

– The debate over the death penalty
– The controversy surrounding affirmative action policies
– The ethical implications of genetic engineering
– The morality of providing free healthcare to all citizens
– The rights of animals in relation to human activities and industries
– The ethical considerations of climate change and environmental conservation

After selecting a news story, you will then analyze it through the lens of three different moral theories. This will allow you to assess the issue from multiple perspectives and gain a deeper understanding of the moral complexities involved.

One moral theory that can be applied to contemporary moral issues is consequentialism. Consequentialism is a moral framework that emphasizes the outcomes or consequences of an action as the primary basis for determining its moral worth. According to consequentialist theories, such as utilitarianism, the right action is the one that maximizes overall happiness or the greatest good for the greatest number of people.

Applying this theory to a news story related to the death penalty, for example, one could consider the potential consequences of different approaches. Supporters of the death penalty might argue that its deterrent effect could potentially save innocent lives by deterring potential criminals. On the other hand, opponents might argue that the possibility of executing an innocent person outweighs any potential benefits, and that the overall consequences of the death penalty may actually result in more harm than good. Through the lens of consequentialism, one would evaluate the issue by examining the potential outcomes and weighing the net benefit or harm to society.

Another moral theory that can be applied in analyzing contemporary moral issues is deontological ethics. Deontological ethics focuses on the inherent nature of actions, rather than their consequences. According to deontological theories, such as Kantian ethics, certain actions are intrinsically right or wrong, regardless of the outcomes they may produce. This approach places emphasis on principles and duties, considering whether actions align with moral rules or duties, regardless of the potential consequences.

Applying deontological ethics to a news story on genetic engineering, one might consider the inherent nature of manipulating genetic material. Some proponents of genetic engineering may argue that it is morally acceptable if it leads to advancements in medical treatments or the prevention of genetic diseases. However, from a deontological perspective, one might ask whether manipulating the genetic makeup of individuals violates any moral rules or duties, such as the duty to respect human dignity or autonomy. This analysis would not primarily focus on the potential consequences, but rather on the ethical nature of the action itself.

A third moral theory that can be applied to contemporary moral issues is virtue ethics. Virtue ethics emphasizes the character of individuals and their moral virtues when determining what is right or wrong. According to this theory, moral actions are those that align with virtues such as honesty, compassion, and courage.

Applying virtue ethics to a news story on animal rights, for example, one might consider whether the actions of individuals or industries involved in animal testing or factory farming align with virtuous characteristics. Proponents of animal rights might argue that the compassionate treatment of animals is a virtue, and therefore, actions that harm or exploit animals are morally wrong. Through the lens of virtue ethics, one would evaluate the moral issue by examining the character traits displayed by individuals or organizations involved.

In conclusion, moral theories provide different frameworks for analyzing and evaluating contemporary moral issues. Consequentialism focuses on the outcomes or consequences of actions, deontological ethics emphasizes the inherent nature of actions, and virtue ethics considers the character and virtues of individuals involved. By applying these theories to a news story, one can gain a deeper understanding of the moral complexities involved and develop a more nuanced perspective on the contemporary moral issue at hand.