The Goal of a Position

Throughout the course of the semester, we will be discussing topics that are highly debated and
have ethical considerations regarding medical, ethical, and spiritual stances. The position
papers in this class are a way to get you thinking critically about a topic, and how well the
arguments for specific viewpoints on a given topic are demonstrated in the literature. We will
cover how to recognize and evaluate an ethical argument in the first week of class. Below are a
list of relevant topics and the basic questions related to each. Some are pro/con topics, while
others are a bit more complex (e.g. who should partake in End Of Life Planning decisions).
Position Paper Topics (you may email me with other topics you would like to write about)
Radical Life Extension

Mind Uploading
Artificial Intelligence (as applied to digital immortality)
Mandatory Organ Donation
Right to Life Movement (Consider the case of Jahi McMath)
Right to Die (Consider the case of Brittany Maynard OR evaluate the Death with Dignity Act)
End of Life Medical Decisions (who should make them, patients, families, doctors)
Criteria for Brain Death

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Your audience for this paper is the general public. You are trying to convince them to see your
point of view. You will need to use at least 3 outside sources for this paper. These sources
should be credible, academic sources that support your position. This paper should be at least
3-4 pages long, not counting the title page. The title page should have your Name and title of
the paper. You should use New Times Roman font size 12. The paper can be double-spaced. If
you have any questions, please contact me.
Writing a Position Paper
A position paper presents an arguable opinion about an issue. The goal of a position paper is to
convince the audience that your opinion is valid and worth listening to. Ideas that you are
considering need to be carefully examined in choosing a topic, developing your argument, and
organizing your paper. It is very important to ensure that you are addressing all sides of the
issue and presenting it in a manner that is easy for your audience to understand. Your job is to
take one side of the argument and persuade your audience that you have well-founded
knowledge of the topic being presented. It is important to support your argument with
evidence to ensure the validity of your claims, as well as to address the counterclaims to show
that you are well informed about both sides.

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