Worksheets

This worksheet below provides a step by step process for finding, developing and evaluating moral arguments. 

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1.     What do you mean, your topic

In this section, explain what the issue is, and explain what any unclear terms mean (or, at least, how you are going to use the terms: e.g., what do you mean by ‘an abortion’? What is ‘absolute poverty’?  What do you mean by ‘homosexuality’? etc. Here we basically want an explanation what the issue is and the relevant facts and information. 

How to find these? Reflect on your own observations, talk to fellow students, ask (random) people - interview them just about anywhere, do some internet research using any sources, do some internet research using philosophical sources, etc. 

2.     State the relevant conclusions on the topic, for example:

a.      Doing X is wrong.
b.     Doing X is not wrong.
c.      Doing X is prima facie wrong.
d.     Doing X is wrong in these specified circumstances
e.      Whatever conclusions are needed, given the goal of having precise conclusions.


3.     Why think that? State the reasons or premises people give, or might give, in favor of these various conclusions. 

How many reasons to find? This depends on your purpose or your assignment. Maybe the top three would do. Maybe 5-10? Should you focus on common reasons, or ones that philosophers focus on? Again that depends on your purpose or assignment.  
4.     Identify any question begging premises at this point: strike those arguments.

5.     Formulate the arguments in logically valid form. (Strike any arguments that are irreparably logically invalid also). 

How many arguments? Again, it depends on your purpose.
6.     Evaluate each argument as sound ( = logically valid and with true or reasonable premises) or not and why.


7.     Tentative conclusions. This might be about just one argument, some of the most common or popular arguments, or broader conclusions, depending on how many arguments you evaluated.


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