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The basic elements of ethical reasoning include the “preeminence of reason,” supporting moral judgments with good reasons, the “principle of universalizability,” and the principle of “impartiality.” This assignment aims to evaluate your ability to implement the philosophical theories covered in the text and in class in order to analyze a practical problem/question.

You are to write a 1,400 to 1,800-word response to the prompt below. The paper must be in a standard academic format such as MLA or Chicago. Your grade will be significantly based on the quality of your analysis and the accuracy of your application of the relevant ethical theories. (See below for grading rubric.)


Get informed

First, read all of the listed articles concerning the labor practices around chocolate production.

John Robbins, “Is There Slavery In Your Chocolate?,” April 19, 2010 (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.
Sara Peck, “Certifying ‘Blood Chocolate,’” In These Times, June 25, 2010 (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.
Kai Huschke, “Chocolate: The Bitter and the Sweet,” Fair World Project, March 1, 2011 (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.
Lloyd Alter, “This Valentine’s Day, buy slave-free chocolate,” TreeHugger, February 13, 2013 (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.
Fair Trade Resource Network, “What is Fair Trade?” (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.
Infographic on Fair Trade labels: “Fair World Project Overall Assessment of Multi-Ingredient Labeling Policies,” (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.
Optional: The History of Authentic Fair Trade (in comic book form) (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. Watch part or all of the BBC’s expose on the subject, and/or the hour documentary, Dark Side of Chocolate.
BBC Investigative report
1/5: (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.

2/5: (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.

3/5: (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.

4/5: (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.

5/5: (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.

Dark Side of Chocolate (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.

Analyze Explain and implement at least two different ethical theories to examine consumers’ morally required response to dominant labor practices involved in the production of chocolate.


Then, respond to the prompt below by implementing two of the following ethical theories from class readings: Kant’s categorical imperative, Utilitarianism (Act and/or Rule), or Care Ethics. You may draw on and must cite relevant readings and lecture notes.

According to each specified moral theory, how are individual U.S. chocolate consumers morally obligated to respond to these practices?

What, if anything, does morality require U.S. chocolate consumers to do given the practices documented in the assigned readings and viewings?

Important Note/ Tips for Analysis:

A thorough and accurate analysis will discuss the facts of the situation and may well consider what morality requires of chocolate manufacturers and cacao farmers. Yet be sure to note that the fundamental question you are required to answer is not so much what morality requires of the industry; but rather, what does morality, as indicated in your application of each of two ethical theories, require of individual consumers? Discussion of the moral responsibility of the industry is related to this question, but do not lose sight of the focus on consumer responsibility.
Take your reader through each step of your thought process; explain the theory, scrutinize the facts using this lens, and then tell your reader what you see. Explain your thinking.
Do not provide simplistic one-sentence verdicts about what each theory determines on a given issue. Instead walk the reader through the thought process of applying the theory.
Strong papers additionally consider alternative applications of the theory and why those applications seem incorrect to you.
Mistakes to Avoid

Introductions that present the problem without providing a clear and specific thesis (i.e., a thoughtful answer to the fundamental question of this prompt)
Failure to include in-text citations.
Application of theory without sufficiently explaining the theory being applied.
Failure to explain how key ethical concepts result in an asserted conclusion. In other words, students sometimes fail to explain how theory x leads to conclusion y. Be explicit in your argumentation; walk us through your thought process.
Thesis addresses the wrongness/rightness of the chocolate industry’s conduct but does not answer the question fundamental to this prompt: what is the moral responsibility of the consumer?
Essay Format Option

(Original) Title Note: Not the word title! Be creative and come up with your own unique title.

Introduction and Thesis

Briefly summarize the objective or your paper (to consider the problem/prompt) and, most importantly, directly state the position you will be arguing (the result of your inquiry—the conclusion(s) you have come to).

Background on (Chocolate Production) Problem

Provide a one to two paragraph background on chocolate production and labor practices as reported on in the materials provided to you.

(Ethical Theory name) Analysis

Utilizing the first of your two ethical theories, here you are to begin to examine the moral obligation American consumers have to respond to the problem of chocolate production. In what way are we obligated to act when viewing the problem through the lens of Utilitarianism, the categorical imperative, or Care Ethics?

(Ethical Theory name) Analysis

Now proceed to examine the problem from the perspective of an alternative ethical framework.

Integrated Analysis

At this point you should integrate the analysis of the two previous sections. Perhaps it will be the case that your examination of the problem from two different perspectives produces different conclusions. Conversely, it may be the case that both ethical frameworks produce the same conclusion(s). In any case, this section should contain a consideration of the similarities and/or differences of each of the two ethical theories’ view on the problem at hand.

Given your above analysis, conclude by definitively stating your considered opinion (reasoned judgment) on the question at hand.

Breaking it Down

Step 1: What’s going on with children in the chocolate industry? (Background paragraph)
Step 2: Explain one of your ethical theories: What is it? What are the main ideas? And what would someone viewing the above problem from this perspective have to say about the problem? What would their interpretation of the facts be, and what would their response to the key prompt question(s) be?
Step 3: Follow step two using a second ethical theory.
Step 4: Take a step back and look at the conclusions reached in step two and three. Are they the same? What are the differences? Do they each provide unique, important insight? Do they reach different conclusions? Do you agree with their conclusions, or perhaps one over the other? (Integrated analysis)
Step 5: Write your introduction, introducing the issue and what you’ve determined; then write your conclusion, summarizing your paper.
Academic Paper Format

Students’ grade will be substantially based on academic writing assignments. These papers must be written in MLA format (Purdue’s MLA formatting and style guide (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.) or Chicago Style Author-Date (Parenthetical) System ( (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.). This means that papers must be double-spaced and must include citations among other features. Students are urged to take their papers to the University Writing Center (see below) prior to submission.

University Writing Center:

The University Writing Center (UWC) is a free resource for UCF undergraduates and graduates. At the UWC, a trained writing consultant will work individually with you on anything you’re writing (in or out of class), at any point in the writing process from brainstorming to editing. Appointments are recommended, but not required. For more information or to make an appointment, visit the UWC website at, stop by MOD 608, or call 407.823.2197.

Academic Dishonesty

Academic dishonesty in any form will not be tolerated. If you are uncertain as to what constitutes academic dishonesty, please consult The Golden Rule, the University of Central Florida’s Student Handbook ( for further details. As in all University courses, The Golden Rule Rules of Conduct will be applied. Violations of these rules will result in a record of the infraction being placed in your file and receiving a zero on the work in question AT A MINIMUM. At the instructor’s discretion, you may also receive a failing grade for the course. Confirmation of such incidents can also result in expulsion from the University.


Plagiarism is a form of academic dishonesty (see above) wherein one presents another individual’s words, images, music, and more generally, ideas as one’s own. Students are expected to turn in their own work for given assignments. Students are also required to cite (give credit to) the sources they utilize for all of their assignments. Sources include books, articles, websites, interviews, illustrations and images, art, conversations and email, class lectures, class notes, student papers, student assignments, and one’s own work done for previous classes. You must provide your readers with the information needed to retrieve the source for their use. The penalty for plagiarism is a minimum of a 0 for the given assignment with no opportunity to resubmit a new attempt. All clear cases of plagiarism will be reported to the Office of Student Conduct as a form of “Academic Misconduct (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site..”

Examples of plagiarism include: borrowing a friend’s paper, buying a paper, citing without quotation marks, cutting and pasting from the internet or other sources (email, other papers), paraphrasing without attribution, reusing papers or assignments without attribution and/or significant alteration.


Term Paper Rubric

Area of Evaluation



Content: Critical Analysis (64%)

ü Meaningfully and fairly acknowledges, articulates, and engages key, relevant course concepts and thinkers

ü Provides original analysis (does not simply summarize lectures and readings, but engages them, opening new lines of inquiry or contributing new ideas to the discourse)

ü Justifies claims: provides reasoned support for claims

ü Clearly explains the relationship between claims and supporting premises or reasons; clearly explains how premise A and premise B produce conclusion C.

ü Avoids dogmatic thinking; recognizes that one’s views are not inherently or obviously true and that others’ ideas are not inherently or obviously false

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