Paper Assignment #2
Due Date: May 24th, 2011.
Instructions: The purpose of this writing assignment is to test your ability to explain and evaluate a topic of contemporary interest using your skills as a critical thinker. Clear, logically developed writing is essential for completing the assignment successfully. In your own words, explain the arguments specified in the topic description.
Papers must be typed, stapled, and have clear print/typing. Papers should be in the 1,200 - 1,400 word range (roughly 5-7 single-sided pages with a 12 or 14 double-spaced font). Papers with poor spelling and/or grammar will not be received favorably. Papers that show evidence of original thinking and personal reflection on the material will be received favorably. You must cite all sources. Any standard formatting, e.g. MLA, APA, is acceptable, so long as it is easy for the instructor to track down sources, if required.
It is often claimed that ethics is relative, either to individuals or cultures or even historical periods. This essentially means that there is no universal ethical code. Is this claim true? If it is, then certain practices that are condemned in one context, may well be deemed acceptable—even morally obligatory—in others. A good example of such a disagreement is found when we examine the practice of female genital mutilation (also called “female circumcision” or “F.G.M.”). While this practice is virtually unheard of in Western cultures, it is widely practiced in others. But is relativism an adequate response to the problem of F.G.M.? Can we treat moral disagreements over such an issue as merely a cultural or subjective hang-up, a preference or bias in favor of our (or my) way of behaving? Or does relativism fail to address the reality of F.G.M.?
At some point in your essay, you should make sure you answer the following questions:
Here is one source on F.G.M. to get you started: