Write an essay (Minimum 1200 words; Maximum 1500 words) that responds to one of the following prompts. You may discuss your views/arguments with other students, but do not share your written answers with others. You may discuss your views/arguments with your TA (and you are encouraged to do so), but please note that drafts of exam answers cannot be reviewed.
- Explain how liberals, such as Singer and Sagan, defend the idea that embryos do not have moral status. Explain an important challenge to the liberal perspective on the moral status of embryos? How might the liberal perspective be defended against such a challenge? What arguments motivate the ‘gradualist’ view of the moral status of embryos? Explain an important challenge to the gradualist view. How might gradualism defend itself against this objection? Which position do you think is correct in this debate (defend your view by responding to the arguments considered by gradualists and/or liberals; limit this discussion to 500 words Max)?
- Is it permissible to commodify embryos (i.e. sell embryos)? What feminist arguments have been given in favour of this view and how has this position been disputed by other feminists? What arguments are given in favour of the ‘gradualist’ view of the moral status of embryos? Would gradualists agree with the commodification of embryos? Which position do you think is correct in this debate (defend your positions by responding to the arguments considered by gradualists and/or feminists on this issue)?
- Explain the concept of ‘competency’ (or ‘capacity’)? What examples do Brock and Buchanan give to illustrate the idea that competency is decision relative? Freedman and Brock/Buchanan disagree that competency varies based on the stakes of the decision. They are also disagree that competency varies based on informational complexity. Explain these disagreements and what principles underlying their views explain the source of this disagreement? Assess this disagreement by evaluating the advantages and disadvantages of seeing competency as a general characteristic of a person (as opposed to the view that competency is decision-relative).