[SOLVED] Erin L Thompson’s article
Premise: Erin L Thompson’s article
Ethical dilemmas exist in all professions, and as the conditions within those professions change, so do the dilemmas themselves. Consider the example of looted art explored in Erin L Thompson’s article. Most people would agree that the families of Holocaust victims who had their art stolen from their ancestors by force deserve to have the works recovered and returned to them. At the same time, many would agree that museums keeping art accessible is important for the public good, referencing John Merryman’s theory that “our treatment of artworks should be motivated by the importance that art has for society as a whole.” (This matches up with the driving thesis behind the work of famed archaeologist, Dr. Henry Jones, Jr.: “It belongs in a museum.”) So what course of action should be taken when two strong, ethical principles are in conflict? Relatedly, as conditions change and dilemmas evolve, the assumptions on which our disciplines are based must also change. This seems obvious, but of course, in actuality this is not always the case. Challenging those assumptions and proposing new ways of thinking and behaving often involves addressing significant and confounding dilemmas.
You have two options to choose from for this assignment in terms of the scenario in which you will be writing. You only need to choose ONE path to follow:
1. Your Professional Organization (such as the WGA, the ABA, the SPJ, the AMA, etc) hereby issues a call for papers for a forthcoming conference on ethical issues in your discipline. They seek careful and cogent analyses that consider multiple perspectives and are based in concrete examples (case studies, personal experience, primary evidence, etc.) as well as dutiful research. Submissions should focus on a particularly vexing and highly significant problem that might confront a professional working in your field or discipline.
2. You hold a position at a particular institution that either is currently or has recently faced a significant dilemma. (Your position may be a fantasy, but the entity itself and the accompanying dilemma must be real.) The leadership of the organization has turned to you to examine the details of the situation, the underlying issues, and the necessary wider contexts, all with the ultimate goal of giving a recommendation for the best course of action.
Whichever option you choose, the resulting paper must address the following prompt in a 1,500 to 2,500- word, thesis-driven essay:
How should your organization respond to this dilemma?
Plan of Action:
In order to pinpoint a vexing and significant dilemma, remember that an ethical dilemma involves a contest between at least two choices with notably unappealing elements. You should not be discussing something that has an easy answer; a problem with an easy and obvious solution is no dilemma at all.
Your analysis should thus illuminate not only what will be gained in adopting your point of view, but should also be realistic about what might be sacrificed along the way. In the end, try to reveal why you feel it’s worth it to undertake this necessary sacrifice of one set of values / benefits / principles for another.
This prompt does not assume you will become an expert in philosophical thought around ethics and values. However, it assumes you are capable of seeing the needs and demands of different stakeholders within the situation you have chosen, and will be able to examine their claims to having moral authority. Be careful of sliding into the realm of setting up an easy opponent only to take it down. Many professional decisions are made with the ethical guiding principle of “if it makes me money, it’s a good thing” (aka The C.R.E.A.M. Principle) — while it is good to recognize that, you will have to do more than just repeat a condemnation of such a mindset while insisting that deeper concerns should be prioritized. Dig deeper to examine why profit has been allowed to be prioritized and how that can be addressed in a capitalist system. In other words, don’t just pick a problem where there’s the easy solution of “don’t be so greedy that you hurt a lot of other people.” And if you do want to address a problem along these lines, you will need to figure out what you want to say to try to convince people to choose to forsake the profit they have not, up to this point, chosen to lose.
Recognize that you may focus your discussion as much on a set of assumptions inherent to a particular discipline or organization, and how they may be affecting or impacting the dilemma at hand. Sometimes the best resolution is not merely responding to a current crisis, but proposing new ways of thinking or reasonable strategies for overcoming these faulty assumptions.
If the assumption you end up examining proves to be a useful one to the discipline, that’s fine, but it must be vexing and significant enough to warrant a 1,500- to 2,500-word analysis. Choosing an assumption that is very clearly useful or very clearly destructive will not produce as interesting a paper as one that has many possible interpretations, nuances, and complexities. Remember, your topic ultimately should be something that can justify a debate and argument around it.
As noted during our first two essays, keep in mind the position of authority you want to assume necessitates a deep and thorough understanding of the details of your topic. You do not have to be trained in something for it to be your subject matter. But especially with the heightened expectations of a professional audience, you will find it difficult to write a strongly persuasive essay if you cannot clearly articulate the intricate details of this dilemma.
While developing and drafting your argument, make sure to use a rhetorical strategy suitable to a professional audience. This may be less a matter of simple word choice, tone, or formality, but rather an appropriate anticipation of this audience’s knowledge, values, and assumptions. The path that you choose will lead you to somewhat different needs, which you should also keep in mind — a paper directed at a larger (though still professional) audience of a sizable organization will be different than one aimed at superiors at your place of employment.
Relatedly, while these have been important in all our writing up until now, especially remember to consider counterarguments and handle them appropriately. This topic will inherently be controversial, as both sides will have strong ethical support. (Again, if they do not, you likely do not have a true dilemma on your hands.) Therefore, recognize that not every reader in this audience will be sympathetic to your proposal. Be sure to anticipate and address the most likely questions or objections they might have.
A potential issue with the execution of this assignment is that you may need to write using technical language and concepts that do not need further explanation for your professional audience, but which you might easily assume that your instructor (it me) would not be particularly well-versed in, and therefore would likely not understand. Given this, you are invited (though by no means required) to include a “technical appendix” addressed to me that helps define terms and concepts I may not otherwise understand. This does not need to maintain the same tone as your actual paper, so it can be an informal piece of writing to help me follow along with your paper. It can be included at the beginning of the essay or at the end; all I ask is that you make sure this is clearly marked. This will not count towards the word count limit, nor am I going to grade it.
You are required to integrate no fewer than two and no more than eight sources. In doing so, be sure that these sources enhance, not submerge, your argument. Use the sources to complicate, rebut, or support your opinion, not the other way around.
Please follow the documentation guidelines (MLA, APA, etc.) most commonly used in the major/profession you are working in. Whichever you choose, be sure to have a works cited page. Erin L Thompson’s article Erin L Thompson’s article Erin L Thompson’s article
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