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Writing Assignment 1 – Ross, Confidentiality and Misattributed Paternity Bauer – Bioethics Due: Wednesday, Sept. 23 Length: approx. 650 – 800 words Assignment: You have been learning about ethical arguments so far by reading arguments. An argument is a set of reasons given in support of a conclusion. Reasons can be thought of as “evidence” for the conclusion. A thesis is another name for a conclusion in this class. It is what a person is arguing for. In “Disclosures of Misattributed Paternity”, Ross argues in favor of the disclosure of misattributed paternity to both parents, not only the mother. She offers a variety of arguments in favor of this thesis. Her article is nice example of doing philosophy because she not only supports her thesis with her own reasons, but she also describes objections to her thesis and then counters those objections, thereby supporting her position further. In this way, Ross sets up a dialog in this essay with those who object to her argument. In this assignment, I ask you to briefly summarize the debate around an ethical question in Ross’ article and then to respond with a reason of your own. Here are more details: Ethical question for this assignment: Imagine a case in which a pregnant woman and her husband meet and undergo tests with a genetic counselor to understand genetic risks for their child-to-be and any future children. The results indicate to the counselor that the husband is not the father of the mother’s fetus. Is it ethical for the counselor to only tell the mother of the misattributed paternity related to her pregnancy? Please answer this question by doing the following: First, briefly describe a few of the best ethical reasons for believing that it would not be ethical for the counselor to only tell the mother of the misattributed paternity in such a case. Use reasons from Ross’ article. Secondly, on the other side, what are a few of the best ethical reasons for believing that it would be ethical for the counselor to only tell the mother of the misattributed paternity in such a case? Last, but not least, what do you think? In a separate paragraph, argue for one central reason – pro or con – in response to the ethical question above, and defend it in a paragraph. In defending your argument, imagine someone who would disagree with it. You may mention the counter-argument you’ve imagined, but either way, offer reasons in defense of your argument that would speak to the main concerns of an opponent. Be convincing. Tips: Please use reasons from the Ross article, as least in part, in the first two paragraphs. The last paragraph should be your own reason, beyond what you have read. If needed, start with an argument you like in the book, but then defend it with your own reasons and examples. Make it your own. Make sure to use ethical reasons. Practical issues (or legal, economic, etc.) may be relevant, but your focus should be on the ethical questions about what is right. So, the structure of your assignment may look like this: A paragraph defending the con position on the ethical question. A paragraph defending the pro position. A paragraph defending your own argument – an argument that goes beyond those arguments found in the article. Please let me know if you have questions about the assignment. Good luck!
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