To explain what research you have done thus far, where you expect to go next and what sources you plan on using.



Here, you simply review what research you have done (the sorts or searches you’ve done, what sorts of sources you’ve looked at, what you’re reading, etc.) and what you anticipate doing next (start writing, continue research, etc.).


You need to include a bibliography with at least 3 different philosophical references.

About the references:

Your sources for all segments of the final paper project must be drawn from academic philosophy sources like journals, anthologies, and books.

Important: no encyclopedia entries will not count towards your references. You need to use original research, rather than summaries of others’ work. For the same reason, textbooks or dictionaries also will not count towards your references.

Furthermore, writings in science journals and popular sources (magazines, newspapers, etc.) will not count towards your references, or websites about philosophy (unless you are accessing a philosophy article from a philosophy journal’s website).

If you are working from journals and if the journal has “philosophy” or “ethics” in the title or subtitle, that is generally a good sign that it is philosophy (there are exceptions to this like The Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society. This is an excellent science journal). If you have questions, let me know.

You need to rely on well-developed philosophical arguments. For this reason, all sources must be a minimum of 5 pages long. References shorter than this will not count towards your total.

To ensure that you have a diversity of sources, no more than 1 source can from any particular anthology or issue of a journal(having sources from different issues of the same journal is acceptable).

Lastly, for the update, no readings from the course will count towards your total references.

About the summary:

In addition to the reference, you need to summarize the main points of the reference.

This should be a somewhat long paragraph (at least 350 words.  Don’t worry about including a word count).

Both the summary and relevance should be straightforward: The reference discusses x, y, and z. It is relevant for the following reason. It is related to the other sources of the paper in the following way.


Conclude the update by explaining how you anticipate using your sources in the final paper.   This includes clearly explaining:

What sources will be used as background and what sources will be used as the core philosophical positions you will discuss;

How the sources fit together (specifically how you expect to compare their arguments).


I recommend the following layout for your update:



Summary + relevance


Summary + relevance


Summary + relevance


You should have the summary of the reference immediately following the bibliographic information for that reference.

Assuming that the source you included in your proposal was acceptable and it works with your other sources, then including it in the update (along with a summary that meets the criteria described above) is encouraged.

In putting your sources together, be sure that the sources deal with the same ethical issue in ways that can be compared and contrasted straight-forwardly.

This is because almost all of the final paper will be devoted to explaining the writings of philosophers and then developing your own position with respect to those writings.  If the philosophers go in different directions, this will make writing the paper more difficult.

For example: if all your sources discuss genetic engineering, but one emphasizes questions about dignity and another the economic dimensions, finding a way to contrast them will be very hard.

I highly recommend aiming at presenting two contrasting philosophical positions, given the word limit on the Final Paper.

Just focusing on one position doesn’t work given the structure of the final paper.  More than 2 is possible, but risky because you are expected to thoroughly explain the arguments for each position.

I leave up to you how exactly you distribute your sources, but I recommend the following approach: having one source on each side of the issue and another providing philosophical background

Other approaches would include: you might have two from one side and one for another or having two very different positions and then the last source representing something in-between.

Lastly, except for the conclusion the final paper must be all new research, so do not fall back on the philosophical writings covered in the course (Fukuyama, Bostrom and Janicaud).  You should not even mention their assigned writings in the final paper.


a) you can use other writings from Bostrom if they were not assigned to the course (he has written a lot);

b) in the conclusion you will be expected to discuss one of the last four philosophers we read (Anderson, Harding, Feyerabend, Dewey).  More will be said about this when we get to the draft.


There will be no mandatory citation format, but whatever format you use (APA, MLA, Chicago) must be:

Consistent across the update;

The bibliography must be informative (author, year of publication, title, publisher, journal, pages if a journal, etc.)

Aside: be sure to include the date of publication in addition to date accessed for online sources.

Also, I am only concerned about citations and bibliography.  Other aspects of APA formatting, like page layout, are not a big deal.


The update will be graded on whether you meet the minimum requirements or not.

If you meet the minimum requirements (you include: the statement about your research; a bibliography with at least 3 different philosophical references that includes a full, proper bibliography entry and a summary/relevance that is at least 350 words [note: all sources, including those beyond the 3 required sources, included must have full, informative bibliographical references]; the explanation about how you will use your sources), you will receive full credit (6 points).

If you fail to meet any of these requirements, you will receive half credit (3 points).


Provide an analysis of a particular problem with science, society, and values.


Your paper should include the following:

An introduction to the paper;

A presentation of philosophical arguments on the topic from the relevant philosophical literature;

An analysis of the issue in which you explain your position on the subject, including:

How you position yourself with respect to the arguments from the philosophical literature;

Provide reasons for why someone should agree with your position.

A conclusion in which you explore how your paper connects to one of the final philosophers discussed in the course.

The exact structure of the paper will depend on your topic, but you must address all of these.

Remember, your paper should be written from start to finish as a single coherent argument.

In the conclusion, you must use the assigned reading from one of the following philosophers: Anderson, Dewey, Feyerabend, or Harding.

Basis of Evaluation:

Quality of the presentation of the philosophers’ arguments.

Quality of the argument you give in support of your position.

Clarity and organization of your overall argument.

You must include a bibliography that has at least 4 complete, informative philosophical references.  If you fail to include this, you will lose 1 point per missing reference.

For every quotation without a proper citation, you will lose 1 point per missing citation.

For every 50 words you are above 3000, you will lose 1 percentage point (penalty begins at 3001 words).


Do not use a cover page.

Use double-spacing.

The paper should be no longer than 3000 words.  List the word count at the end of the prose part of your paper.