In this assignment, we will work with the interaction of ethics and fiction. Stories, plays, movies—all these can raise important questions and stimulate potentially productive questions about ethics in our lives. And in light of the thinkers we’re reading and discussing, I’d like you to write a three-page paper discussing a story you’ve selected—either from the ones I suggest or ones you’ve experienced previously—in light of the ethical principles and thinkers we’ve reviewed in class. We’ve already talked about some of these fictional connections with ethics—Blade Runner, Huckleberry Finn, Harrison Bergeron, The Grand Inquisitor—and I’ll discuss and make available many others for your consideration in the coming weeks.
We’re moving this assignment back from 26 February to Wednesday, 4 March. For example, you may select one “short story” from the list supplied under Learning Materials for this assignment, or you may pick a story or movie you’re interested in. In three pages, you could discuss how one or two central ethical issues are portrayed in the fiction, then discuss how you might advise the writer or a character of some productive ways to think and act in ethical terms. Keep in mind the thinkers and ethical approaches we’ve studied and discussed in PHIL101. Your personal opinion is valuable, but especially as that opinion is developed and supported by one or more of the ethical approaches we’ve considered.
Remember, this is not a research paper, although you are most welcome to include outside opinions if you’d like. As usual, I’d be delighted to discuss possibilities with each of you in the coming weeks, and I’ll gladly review drafts or “works in progress” before final submission.
Remember, this assignment is a chance for you to grow through thinking deeply in writing about ethics in our lives. I’ll look forward to reading, enjoying, and learning from some very interesting essays.
Hemingway, “Hills Like While Elephants”https://www.gvsd.org/cms/lib/PA01001045/Centricity/Domain/765/HillsPDFText.pdf
Faulkner, “The Bear”
Camus, “The Guest”
Frank Stockton, “The Lady or the Tiger?”
Ursula LeGuin, “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas”
George Orwell, “Shooting an Elephant”
William Carlos Williams, “The Use of Force”
Susan Glaspell, “A Jury of Her Peers” (others) or
Hernando Tellez, “Just Lather, That’s All”
Kurt Vonnegut, “Harrison Bergeron”
Mark Twain, “Was It Heaven? Or Hell?”
O. Henry, “A Retrieved Reformation”
Ambrose Bierce, “The Coup de Grace”
Richard Matheson, “Button Button”