For the Unit 4 essay, you will select one of the issues below related to global inequalities and develop an essay (and also a video) focusing on three ethical issues raised by your choice of topic. You will use a variety of resources, including but not limited to course materials on ethics in Unit 4, official publications of governmental organizations, peer-reviewed research articles, maps highlighting global inequalities, and videos by governmental and/or other organizations.

On the basis of these materials and your own creative applications of ethical theories to your selected issue, focus on three ethical dilemmas that must be addressed in any adequate response to your topic and apply at least one of the ethical theories in Unit 4 to each of these issues in your analysis. For example, which of the theories — utilitarianism, virtue ethics, deontological, or another ethical framework — would provide the best analysis of and response to these dilemmas?


Topics (choose 1)

  1. Global Ethics of Vaccine Distribution
  2. Global Ethical Issues Related to World Poverty
  3. Use of Artificial Intelligence for Facial Recognition Techniques
  4. Global Ethics related to Contact Tracing
  5. Global Responses to Ebola Outbreaks, or COVID, or another public health concern
  6. Economic development of land in Africa and its impact on disease transmission(this link opens in a new window/tab)

Helpful Resources

The following resources may be helpful places to start for you. Please seek out other scholarly resources to help you respond to the topic.

Global Inequality and Its Impact on Well-Being

  • Facts about Global Inequality from This website explores almost all the possible topics listed and outlines the ethical dilemmas associated with each topic.
  • Stapleton, Greg et al. “Global Health Ethics: An Introduction to Prominent Theories and Relevant Topics.” Global health action vol. 7 23569. 13 Feb. 2014, doi:10.3402/gha.v7.23569
  • United Nations. Inequality in a Rapidly Changing World: World Social Report 2023. Available from the following website: 
  • World Health Organization. Global Health Ethics: Key Issues. Available at the following website:

Cross-Cultural Ethical Frameworks

Consider how different cultural approaches to ethics may impact decisions related to global inequalities.

  • Boland, Peter. The Confucian Virtues – Shu, Ren, and Li. Available at 
  • Elechi, O. Oko. “The Igbo Indigenous Justice System.” Colonial Systems of Control: Criminal Justice in Nigeria, by VIVIANE SALEH-HANNA et al., University of Ottawa Press, Ottawa, 2008, pp. 395–416. JSTOR,  21 Apr. 2021. (Please note that I edited the jstor link in the line above to remove the period at the end of the link, the link does not work with a period after the number 6.)
  • Gyekye, Kwame, “African Ethics”, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2011 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), 
  • Wong, David, “Chinese Ethics”, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Summer 2020 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), 
  • Watson, Virginia Bacay, “Five Coronavirus Success Stories: Different, but the Same”,   Daniel K. Inouye Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies, 2020. 

You will submit your Unit 4 essay in this assignment box.  Your paper should meet the following requirements


  • The body of the essay must be a minimum of 3-4 pages in length
  • Use 1 inch margins
  • Use 12 point, Times New Roman font
  • Use double spacing throughout, except where style guides dictate single spacing on the Works Cited page
  • Include a Works Cited Page – Properly use MLA in-text citations for paraphrasing and direct quoting (Purdue OWL MLA Formatting and Style Guide –  Here is an example essay with MLA citations

Writing Tips

In Philosophy papers, it is very important to include a thesis statement in your first paragraph. This is a statement of the view you will take on the paper topic. For example, do you believe that the Kantian view is correct, and ethics relates directly to the intention to do your duty? Or, do you believe that the Utilitarians (like Mill) are correct and we must evaluate the consequences of an action? Philosophy papers often use first person, with “I will argue that…” in the thesis statement. If you are concerned about using first person, use language like “One can conclude that…” or “We will prove that…”

In terms of sources for philosophy papers, you will notice that each unit includes readings by the philosophers in their own words, as well as a set of links to online encyclopedias to help you study. In papers, it is always much better to cite the philosophers’ own words, not the encyclopedias written as guides. Cite the readings in the unit, try not to cite online encyclopedias.

If you are not sure how to cite the readings in the unit, most of the readings have full bibliographic information on the page that opens when you click on them. For example, at the top of the reading by Mill in this unit, you will see: Utilitarianism, Chapters II and IVExcerpts from Chapter II and Chapter IV of “Utilitarianism”. By John Stuart Mill. Published in 1879. Released in 2004 by The Project Gutenberg.

John C. Bean, in his book Engaging Ideas (2011) cites three ways that students tend to avoid a thesis or write in spite of the ones they have developed. Take care not to commit any of the following mistakes in your writing of this paper.

  • “And Then” Writing – “And Then” writing is essentially chronological, narrating a person’s life or series of events. Students often do this when they are asked to analyze text(s). They, instead, just tell you what happened, event by event. Or, you might see this in a literature review in which a student just summarizes the articles in the order in which they are read.
  • “All About” Writing – “All About” writing strives to say EVERYTHING about a topic or issue. The paper may be somewhat organized because the student has addressed things topically but s/he has also failed to produce a thesis or position that guides the paper. The topics are, then, not reasons for the thesis. The structure is inappropriate and ineffective in a thesis-governed paper.
  • “Data Dump” Writing – “Data Dumps” on the other hand have no apparent structure. There is little transition or cohesion between the things that are stated and discussed. The student has no guiding thesis, no guiding idea, and so s/he goes to Google and grabs it all. These are often the most likely to be plagiarized because the student is just cutting and pasting from websites (and occasionally books or journals). It is incomprehensible and unoriginal.

Academic Honesty

Plagiarism in any form is unacceptable. Please ask if you have questions about what constitutes plagiarism. Your words and your ideas must be your own.

All papers submitted in this class are reviewed via, a proprietary software database that identifies unoriginal material in papers. Please review the syllabus statement regarding the penalty for plagiarism.