Dr. Alexander Gonzalez

LAS Department


PHI 2604 Format for Moral Argumentation


The format for argumentation that you will use to write the essay and you must label the parts of your essay accordingly:


1. Thesis Paragraph : Introduce the topic, explain the scenario and the ethical dilemma.

2. Defensible Moral Standards (Pro  Argument) : Present an argument for the side of the ethical dilemma you are taking by appealing to one or more moral standards as basis for your argument. [i.e., Aristotle’s formal principle for justice, Mill on injustice, the principle of no-harm, etc.]

3. Then present data and/or others’ arguments that support your position (use references, data, etc.).

4. Con-Arguments (arguments that challenge the moral standards you are appealing to) : Recite arguments (with reasons and data) that are against your position, that is against what you are arguing for. Be careful of straw man arguments.

5. Refutation of Con  Arguments : Using data and providing reasons, pick apart those arguments that are against what you are arguing for. Show why or how these arguments fail or are inaccurate (e.g., false premise[s], invalid reasoning, counterexamples exist).

6. Summary/Conclusion (Passage of moral judgment) : Summarize your argument and state why it is the fair and moral/just answer to the ethical dilemma.


Using this format you will have more than ample opportunity to express your grounded opinion throughout the essay.


This is a formal college essay, therefore avoid: colloquialisms (e.g., slang expressions), and remember that unclear writing signifies unclear thinking. Maintain clarity of thought, provide relevant premises, and proofread for proper grammar and syntax.

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