Rules of Thumb Written Case Analysis

You are required to complete a written case analysis (200 words). Please read Thinking Critically About Ethical Issues, Case 16, p. 96. Identify the moral issue(s) and the parties involved; identify what universalizable moral duties are at stake; identify how the principle of respect for persons applies to the case.

**Case 16: A man and a woman both college students, both college students, have been living together off campus for there years. They have never considered marrying, and it has always been implicit in their relationship that each should be free to leave the other any time he or she wishes. Unexpectedly, the woman becomes pregnant. Because she is opposed to abortion, she resigns herself to having the child. When she is seven months pregnant, the man decides to leave her. One day when she is out shopping for groceries, he gathers his belongings, scribbles a hasty note (“Our relationship was beautiful while it lasted, but it’s over”) and leaves.**

**Textbook: Ethical Choices An Introduction to moral philosophy with cases 2nd edition (Richard Burnor/Yvonne Raley)

Rules of Thumb for Writing Weekly Case Analyses:

Rule of Thumb #1: Make sure that you aren’t simply restating the entire case from the textbook in your paper. Don’t just provide me with a lengthy summary or paraphrase of the case. To do so results in your wasting much too much space on what are intended to be short but also concise and effective papers. You can assume that I am familiar with the case, so just begin with identifying the issue (say, in less than three sentences or so) and then state your thesis (a single sentence) and move directly on to arguing for it and then defending it against likely objections.

Rule of Thumb #2: Your paper must do four things:

(i) Provide an analysis of the case in terms that properly coincide with the material we read that week both in the module and textbooks.

(ii) Clearly state your thesis.

(iii) Argue for why that thesis should be seen as true.

(iv) Try to defend that thesis against at least one strong objection that would show it to be false.

Rule of Thumb #3: papers can be longer than 200 words—200 words is the minimum. However, these are still expected to be short and concise papers, so do your best to keep them within 325 words.

N.B. a short paper does not necessarily mean quick or easy paper. On the contrary, as some of you are finding out, papers such as these ones are in fact among the most difficult kinds to write, and it requires plenty of time to write them well. Your first step should always be to think about and distill what it is you’ve read and want to say before you even begin writing anything down, this will help you to avoid wasting any of your extremely limited space with fluff and filler sentences that are nothing but deadwood and do no work in relation to strengthening the points you are trying to make. On assignments such as these, it is imperative that you make every line that you write count, this will help you to sharpen your critical ability to carve up complex moral issues at their logical joints and therefore make your thoughts and your writing in general more concise and succinct.

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