What we ought to do in a given situation (eg.

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HLTH 551
Page 1 of 2
REFLECTION PAPER: ABSOLUTES AND ETHICAL THEORIES ASSIGNMENT
INSTRUCTIONS
OVERVIEW
An ‘absolute’ is an immutable universal truth about reality, and is regarded as the transcendent
basis of all thought, perfect and complete. It was most notably introduced as part of modern
philosophy by philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel in the 19th century. Absolutes have
been the basis of moral philosophy; a branch of philosophy dealing with the context of morality
in terms of principles that guide us in our decision making regarding what is right and wrong.
There are 3 branches of Moral philosophy: meta-ethics, normative ethics, and applied ethics.
Meta-ethics examines the big pictures of life such as “what is truth,” or how can you justify your
beliefs when in conflict with what others believe. Normative ethics considers the question of
what we ought to do in a given situation (eg. Keeping a promise is a morally good thing to do,
but are there circumstances where a promise should be broken?), thus providing a framework by
which to make moral decisions. Applied ethics explores practical issues that one may face on a
daily basis that can be morally challenging (eg. Is it ethical to lie under certain circumstances if it
will help save a life?). There are 5 general ethical theories that fall under the umbrella of moral
philosophy: Utilitarianism, Kantian ethics, Ross’s ethics, Rawl’s theory of Justice, and Natural
Law Theory/Ethics. Absolutes help to define each theory, thereby distinguishing them from one
another. Each of these theories provides basic principles that can be employed as a guide in
decision-making (Munson & Lague, 2017). While we don’t often sit and reflect on which theory
to use in a given situation, the decisions or choices that we make indirectly reflects one or more
of these ethical principles.
INSTRUCTIONS
Employing the definition that “an absolute is an immutable, universal truth about reality,”
integrate the course reading and video presentation to develop a detailed paper on: The
absolutes which provide a basis for the 5 ethical theories presented in the Munson text.
 Length of the assignment: 4-5 pages and should be organized according to the following
format using Part I-Part IV as the subheading:
o PART I- Provide a brief Introductory Summary (Must include a clear Thesis
Statement).
o PART II- Present the five theories and explain in detail a primary “absolute” for
each theory.
o PART III- Identify the absolutes and theories that most correlate to Christian
tradition or biblical references. Please be sure to provide clear, biblical support
for your rationale.
o PART IV- Select the ethical theory which is most appealing to your personal
belief system and explain why. (This is the only section of the paper which should
include any personal references.)
o A title page and reference section should be included as part of the assignment,
however these are not to be counted as part of the 4-5 pages. The assignment

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