Analysis of an Ethical Dilemma

This is the Prompt for the case I have chosen: A 19-year-old woman is being treated for a serious kidney disease. She is currently on a dialysis machine, but treatment is steadily decreasing in efficacy. Before her condition declines any further, the physician suggests family members undergo tests to determine tissue compatibility to transplant a kidney. Only the brother shows a degree of compatibility high enough to be considered a candidate. The physician meets the brother alone to discuss the risks and benefits of the operation. Although agreeing to be tested, the brother decides not to donate a kidney after weighing the various alternatives because of the risks, and because, as he puts it, he doesn’t “feel he and his sister have ever been close enough that they would ever take that kind of a risk for each other.” The physician repeats a full explanation of the risks involved, and urges him to rethink his decision because of the serious nature of his sister’s illness with increasingly little time to spare. The brother remains adamant in his refusal. PLEASE NOTE: ***I AM USING THE KANTIAN THEORY OF ETHICS to support my point of view**** These are the instructions: 1. First, summarize in a few sentences the ethical issues involved in the case you’re writing about (i.e. why is there an ethical debate or issue here at all)? Make sure your answer is general, rather than simply repeating the facts of the case (remember the difference between a descriptive and a normative claim). 2. How are we to resolve the ethical issue(s) you identified above, that is, what is your view of the matter and what reasons do you have for it? Here I want to see an argument of some kind, with an easily identifiable conclusion and supporting premises (reasons for your claim). I do not expect you to give me a valid argument (we would need more practice with logic to do that), but I think you’ve seen enough good argumentative style in the readings for you to give it a try. 3. Of the ethical theories we have surveyed, which, if any, best accounts for your reasoning in (2)? This need not be a separate paragraph, but I need to see that you’re applying one or more of the theories surveyed in the text. ***AGAIN – I AM USING THE KANTIAN THEORY OF ETHICS*** 4. The next section should contain a counter-argument to the conclusion you’re tried to establish in (2). As best you can, try to give one or more philosophical reasons for thinking that your favored view is false. That is, how would someone argue against the claims you’ve made in (2)? For example, someone might attack the truth of one of the premises you’ve used in part (2). This is actually a rather difficult thing for students to do, so here’s a strategy for getting started. After writing up (2) as best you can, take a day off. Then re-read what you wrote and think of how an ethicist (like you, for example) would respond to the argument. What are its weaknesses? Might one of the premises be false? Or might the theory that it uses to draw its conclusion be suspect in some way? The reason I want you to do this is that in good philosophy one needs to anticipate some objections, which your opponent will probably already have in mind. By responding to potential objections in the course of your paper you greatly strengthen your position (see below). 5. Next, write a paragraph that shows that the attempted refutation in (3) fails. You may attempt to strengthen the argument(s) you gave in (2), or you may attack the attempted counter-argument just as well. You’ll see that combining 2-4 is excellent practice in learning how to write good arguments. 6. Conclusion. In the last part of the paper, state your conclusion(s), for example, that ethical theory X shows that the best way to resolve the ethical issue you previously identified in (1) is Y.

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