Posted: August 29th, 2022

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For this extra credit assignment, you’ll write a short reflection on a film with ethical content and apply one of our theories to one scene in the film. This assignment is very similar to the Film Analysis Paper, with one notable difference. Instead of choosing two ethical theories, one of which had to be feminist ethics, you choose one ethical theory from our course. This theory can be a recent one; or you might go back to the first few weeks. You decide. But you need to make a good argument how it applies.
So, here’s the assignment: Choose one film from among several on the list already provided (You can watch the same film from the original assignment; be sure to choose another scene). Watch the film and choose one scene that you believe reflects an issue of ethics we’ve discussed in class, readings, lectures. Much like the Film Analysis Paper, you can focus on an ethical dilemma; the moral values of one of the characters; and conflict between characters. Once you have your chosen scene, critique through the lens of one ethical theory, from the first weeks of the course (Natural Law, Divine Commend Theory, Ethical Egoism) to the middle and end of the course (Utilitarian, Kantian, Aristotelian, Feminist Ethics, Indigenous Ethics). The idea is for you to bring the theory into conversation. Bottom line: you want to draw out the ethical problem in the scene and understand it through the theories we discussed in ethics. Your paper should proceed in the following way (much like the Film Analysis Paper):
Describe your chosen scene as clearly and succinctly as you can. In your response, you don’t want to spend too much time on this, but give enough description so I know what your scene is. There is no need to describe the plot of the film or background of the characters. Don’t give background information; or a “film review” here. You simply want to isolate the ethical problem, dilemma, or issue in the scene. Describe this well. This will help set up your analysis.
Explain your choice of an ethical theory that you think your scene reflects. Suppose you focused on a character and intended to argue that the character reflected some various of Kantian ethics. Here you would provide some language about Kantian ethics, using our lectures, readings, videos or any other materials we’ve used in the course. In what ways is the character Kantian, you might say? Be clear and concise. I’m looking for your ability to explain well what this approach means to you.
Apply the theory to your scene. How does your ethical theory help us understand the scene, the character, plot, dilemma, etc.? Make sure you bring the theory closely together with your chosen scene.
Recall that Stronger papers always use text!
Format & Grading
The format for the assignment is as follows: Papers need to be between 1 – 2 pages, written in Times New Roman, double spaced, written clearly and with correct grammar. All responses should have a brief description (emphasize brief) of the film scene. Once described, the remaining paragraph should be a demonstration of how the scene relates to the philosophical concepts discussed in class or readings. Strong papers utilize the course materials, find ways to weave text, lectures, videos and other content into the writing. This means you want to avoid just reflecting on the film. How can the textual materials help you?

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