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In Tolkien’s The Hobbit, Gandalf convinces Bilbo to sign a contract agreeing to join a quest

Please choose one of the following questions and develop an argument in 1100-2100 words. Only submissions via Canvas will be graded, unless there is an extenuating circumstance that we have discussed beforehand. Late papers will receive no comments and will lose 2 percentage points from the total score per day late.

Please stay as close within the word count guideline as possible—you will not be able to support your argument well in less, and you will make it harder for me to grade in a timely manner with more.

Prompts:

A:    In Tolkien’s The Hobbit, Gandalf convinces Bilbo to sign a contract agreeing to join a quest. Given the manner in which most Hobbits live compared to the things Bilbo goes on to experience, there is some question whether this was an ethical decision on Gandalf’s part. Using one of the ethical theories we have discussed in class (Utilitarianism, Kantian deontology, virtue ethics, care ethics), argue whether convincing Bilbo to go on a quest was the right thing for Gandalf to do.

B:    Using one of the theories discussed in class, argue for or against the contemporary use of the NSA’s communication surveillance of citizens. You may need to do some research on what exactly this entails.

C:    Imagine that you are a professional ethicist and someone comes to you with a dilemma. Their child is very sick and requires expensive medication, but they do not have health insurance or much money at all (presumably your ethical council is free). If the child does not receive this medication, they will certainly die, and there are no known alternative therapies available. There is a pharmacist in town who runs a private business out of her home, and the parent of the sick child is friends with her. What the parent wants to know from you is whether it would be ethical to steal the medication from the pharmacist, knowing that it would cost her money to replace the stolen drug and would be a betrayal of friendship, regardless of whether she ever found out. Using one of the theories we have gone over in class, explain how you would resolve this dilemma for the parent.

D: You awaken to find yourself in a hospital, laying on a bed next to a person who looks exactly like you. Once the other person wakes up, the two of you determine that one of you must be a clone of the original, but you aren’t sure which one, or if even perhaps both of you. You also discover that you are attached to each other with various tubes and wires, which can extend no farther than 10 feet. A doctor comes in to discharge you, and she mentions that YOU are keeping the other person alive. If you detach the tubes they will die, though you will survive. This will be the case for the rest of your lives.

What do you do? Why? What is the RIGHT thing to do, and if it is different from what you do, explain yourself. Keep in mind what your responsibilities are to yourself, to other people, and whether you believe these responsibilities are different if you are the clone or if the other person is. Use at least one ethical theory to explain your answer.

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