Ethics are: "The rules or standards governing the conduct of a person or the members of a profession," according to Dictionary.com. A course in ethics may focus on business and modern science ethics, along with humanities, management and social sciences. Writing an ethics paper is a task you will be given during your ethics course, which requires you to choose a topic and argue whether it is ethical or not, using facts such as statistics to back your position.
Eye for an Eye
The common idea of "an eye for an eye" applies to murder. It follows the theory that if a person murders someone, it is acceptable to kill the perpetrator for the crime. It also applies to injuries. Research ancient history and include documented cases of implementation of the philosophy and how it has impacted current laws. It was originally a part of Hammurabi's Code, who was the King of Babylon from 1792 to 1750 BC. It was also a part of the Christian Bible as Matthew 5:38, which stated "Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth."
Physician-assisted suicide occurs when a doctor, due to the request of a patient, ends the patient's life in extreme cases of pain and suffering. The only state where it is legal is Oregon, which passed the Death with Dignity Act in 1997. Who decides when it is acceptable to end a patient's life? Will the right be abused by doctors or family members? In addition, people must consider whether the patient is in his right mind to make such a permanent decision. On the contrary, others argue that humans should have the right to decide how they want to leave the Earth and those who are not suffering should not decide how another person dies.
Stem Cell Research
Scientists are constantly working through research and experiments to find cures to diseases which result in pain, suffering and death for individuals on a yearly basis. Stem cells "have the remarkable potential to develop into many different cell types in the body during early life and growth," according to the definition provided by the National Institutes of Health resource for stem cell research. Scientists are interested in how basic cells develop into individualized cells to carry out the body's functions, such as what determines when a blood or muscle forms, for example. The controversy erupts because the stem cells would eventually form into an embryo, which closely relates to the abortion debate. Others believe that it is not a human until it has developed and can sustain life on its own. Many also question the effectiveness of stem cell research and whether it has any potential to find cures for diseases such as cancer, AIDS or Parkinson's.
Animal testing is an ethical issue that many individuals argue both for and against. Many question whether there is a difference in animal testing for vain reasons, such as with cosmetic products, or testing for pharmaceutical drugs. Also, individuals question the issue of whether one type of animal life is more valuable than another. For example, is a frog less important than a mouse or dog? Those focusing on the benefit of testing argue that morality does not apply to animals in the same way it does for humans and benefits outweigh the consequences.
About the Author
Amanda Rumble has been writing for online publications since 2000, primarily in the fields of computing and technology. She holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Buffalo in information technology. Rumble also focuses on writing articles involving popular video games and Internet culture.