Grammatical mistakes may hinder intelligibility.

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Sep 18, 2022

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Technical Guidelines:
1000 words minimum. Target maximum 1300 words, but there’s a little wiggle room.
Include a cover sheet with the following information
Your name (This is the ONLY place your name should appear on the paper. Do NOT put it in the header at the top of each page or anywhere else in the paper.)
A title (this can be “Paper #1” or something more descriiptive)
The word count
Times New Roman 12-point font, double-spaced, 1-inch margins all around.
Your paper should be checked carefully for spelling and grammar errors. Spelling and grammar errors could very easily affect your score on the “clarity” component.

Bibliographic Guidelines:
I don’t care what citation format you use, just make sure you’re consistent
If citing a reading from the class, you can just cite author and page number (either in a parenthetical or in a footnote), and you don’t need to include it in a bibliography
If you have no outside sources, you do not need a bibliography. If you use any sources from outside the class readings, then you must have a bibliography with entries that give adequate information for the paper reader to find the source if they wish.

Topic
Consider the following case:
Mr. Q is a white 55-year-old man who injured his right foot some time ago and now it has turned gangrenous. The skin of his foot has turned black and the odor of the dead and dying skin is overwhelming. If Mr. Q does not have his right foot amputated, the gangrene could spread, requiring the loss of part of his leg or even a systemic infection which could kill him. However, despite the look and smell of his foot and the repeated statements of multiple doctors, Mr. Q refuses to accept that his foot must be amputated and says that if it is just left alone, it will get better. Mr. Q has been examined twice by independent psychiatrists and found to be wholly competent and cognizant and not in any general way mentally impaired, despite his strange refusal to accept medical advice about his foot and its treatment.
Paper 1 Part 1:
Explain, using Faden and Beauchamp’s analysis of autonomy, why it is difficult to tell whether Mr. Q is making an autonomous decision in refusing treatment. Be sure to specifically identify which component or components of autonomy are questionable in Mr. Q’s case. Overall, would Faden and Beauchamp conclude that Mr. Q’s refusal of amputation is an autonomous decision or not?
Paper 1 Part 2:
You have been called in as an ethics consultant. Some of Mr. Q’s treatment team believe that his foot should be amputated despite his refusal to consent because of the high probability of his death if it is not and the seeming irrationality of his refusal. Others on the team insist that all that should be done is repeatedly giving Mr. Q the medical facts, and beyond that his wishes, whatever they may be, should be respected. For this part of the paper, your job as ethics consultant is to give your opinion about the ethically best option. It is not your job in this part to address the team’s legal obligations. For purposes of this case, I want you to use either care ethics or virtue ethics as your theoretical basis. Do not use both, and do not use other ethical theories we have discussed. Describe, from your chosen perspective, whether you would inform the team that your expert opinion favors amputating Mr. Q’s foot or leaving it alone.
Important note: This part of the paper is not looking for you to recite back what is on the slides for the relevant day(s) of lecture. What I want to see is that you’ve put some thought into what it would mean to face a difficult medical decision with either virtue or care at the front of your thoughts. This will require some creativity and introspection, not just regurgitating “There are 3 important concepts in virtue ethics. #1 is… #2 is…”

Other guidelines
Use direct quotes (whether from the readings, internet sources, or my lectures/slides) sparingly. In essence, I already know that I understand the material and the authors understand their material. If 40% of your paper is direct quotation or close paraphrase, you really aren’t doing much to prove that you understand the material, and your grade will suffer accordingly
Remember that for this paper, you have been brought in to have an opinion, so don’t make your thesis something like “this is a hard case and there’s arguments on both sides”. At the same time, it’s your job to have an intelligent, informed opinion, so it’s not good enough to say something like “Personally, I think they should…” You should make a recommendation, but you need to give reasons for your recommendation. It can be surprisingly difficult to give reasons for a view in cases like these, but think about things like “What benefits would the opposite decision have? Are they just outweighed by benefits of my preferred decision? Could my preferred decision perhaps incorporate those benefits? What about downsides to my recommendation? Do they also apply to the alternative(s)?” And so on.

Rubric: Your grade will be based on 4 criteria: clarity, accuracy, relevance, and organization. For each criterion, you will get a score between 1 and 4. Those scores will then be added together and multiplied by 5, giving a possible range of scores between 20 and 80. You automatically get 20 points just for handing in the paper, so when your earned points are added in, your range of possible scores is 40 to 100. The TAs can give scores in quarter-point increments, so it is possible, for instance, to get a 2.25 or a 3.75 for one of the components, but you would not get a 3.3 or a 1.9. Put another way:
a = clarity score
b = accuracy score
c = relevance score
d = organization score
Your total score will be 20 + (5*[a+b+c+d])

Below are guidelines for what counts as a given score on each criterion.

Clarity:
1 – Consistently difficult or impossible to tell what the writer means. Claims are frequently vague or ambiguous, and concepts are used improperly. Grammatical mistakes may hinder intelligibility.
2 – Frequently difficult, sometimes even impossible, to tell what the writer means. Claims are repeatedly vague or ambiguous, and some concepts are used improperly. Grammatical mistakes may hinder intelligibility.
3 – Usually clear writing, but occasionally difficult to tell what writer means. In a few cases, claims are vague or ambiguous, or a concept is misused. Grammar is consistently good.
4 – Writing is consistently clear and writer’s meaning is clear. Claims are rarely if ever vague or ambiguous, and concepts are used properly. Grammar mistakes, if there are any, do not get in the way of understanding the paper’s claims

Accuracy:
1 – Factual claims are regularly incorrect and reconstructions of arguments have many errors.
2 – Factual claims are incorrect with some frequency, and reconstructions of arguments often have one or more significant errors.
3 – Most factual claims are accurate, and reconstruction of arguments have no serious errors.
4 – Factual claims are reliably correct, having few if any incorrect statements. Arguments are consistently reconstructed correctly

Relevance:
1 – Essay includes a lot of material that is not relevant to the prompt and/or lacks a lot of material that is essential to answering the prompt adequately
2 – Essay repeatedly includes irrelevant material and/or lacks important material
3 – Essay has all or almost all needed material but contains some irrelevant information as well.
4 – Essay is focused on the relevant material, includes everything needed to answer the prompt and does not go off-course with irrelevant things.

Organization:
1 – There is effectively no discernable organization in the paper. Claims are introduced in no orderly way, and the paper does not build on itself to any serious degree
2 – There is not much organization to the paper. In a few short stretches, the paper builds on itself or rationally expands upon ideas introduced, but these are the exceptions, not the rule
3 – The paper mostly succeeds in creating an organized structure where ideas are introduced and then expanded upon and the paper builds on itself well.
4 – The paper consistently offers an organized structure and builds upon itself in a way that makes it easy to follow the author’s line of reasoning
First off, the paper has two parts, and these two parts are not really expected to form a coherent whole, so don’t worry about that. The first part of the paper involves explaining and applying some of the material on informed consent with respect to a hypothetical case. For this part, your goal is to accurately state in your own words the views of the author(s) relevant in response to the specifics of the question. In part 2, you ahve a very different task: you need to imagine you are an ethics consultant and give an informed explanation of a recommendation about the hypothetical case from the perspective of either virtue ethics or care ethics (not both). Be careful in this part of the paper not to veer into a pure talk of autonomy vs. beneficence, as that is not what the question asks for and so iis not relevant. In this second part, I am not looking for you to regurgitate the class material on the ethical theory you choose, but to think for yourself about what would be important in the case from the perspective of your chosen theory and what it would suggest about how to resolve the case. This part of the paper is looking for creativity and insight; again, it is not looking for a restatement of the material from the relevant lectures. Many students in the past have doing this difficult, because they are only used to memorizing material and spitting it back out. In that sense, part 2 of the paper is both an opportunity and a demand that you go further in your thinking about medical ethics.
Below I’ve attached most of my readings for this course. If there are any other readings that were mentioned in my professor’s directions let me know. I can directly send it to you.
-Use at least 4 readings from my course, and maybe two other external readings.

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