Outline for an Argumentative Essay

The outline should be in outline format. I’m not looking for full sentences or paragraphs here. No references either. This is an example, but the outline should be specific to my topic, which is: Cigarette smoking is still the #1 health concern in the U.S. Part of the strategy to prevent new smokers from starting and to get people to quit is to change the social acceptability of smoking. The thesis statement you will either defend or demolish with sound ethical argumentation is: Local communities should ban smoking on beaches and public parks. I am defending this. Please refer to uploaded document.


I. Introduction to the public health problem (figure out how best to introduce the topic you selected; Intro
no more than 1 pg.)

A. Data scope of the problem: incidence/prevalence data

B. Impact of public health problem

C. Who, what, when, how

D. Your thesis statement: state either exactly from the topic or slightly modify.


II. Proposed intervention and the ethical dilemma it creates (where is the tension? Is it between two deeply held values or “moral considerations?” Keep this to a paragraph or so.

A. How will the intervention be implemented

B. What are the major concerns raised by this issue


III. Ethical Analysis (you don’t need to use every point below. What you do want to do is come up with at least 3 strong arguments in favor of the position you are taking, discuss stakeholders and alternative positions and arguments, and then either agree that some of the arguments against your thesis are valid, or create arguments for why these concerns are invalid.

A. Assessing the facts
– is there evidence that this intervention will actually help the public health problem? Is there data?

B. Relevant Ethical issues or Moral Considerations (what values are in conflict? It won’t be all of these, but integrate ethics language.)

1. Will intervention produce benefits?

2. Will it avoid, prevent or reduce harms (are there any unintended consequences?)

3. Will it maximize benefits over harm; what about other considerations like cost?

4. Will the benefits and burdens be distributed fairly?

5. Will individual choices be respected (or is the public health benefit such that it should override individual liberty)

6. Are there concern about privacy or confidentiality?

7. promise keeping

8. disclosing accurate information; is there transparency in the process?

9. maintaining public trust


C. Who are the major stakeholders in the outcome and what positions will they take?

D. Are there features of the social-cultural-historical context are relevant?


IV. Justification for your conclusion (is this policy/intervention ethical?) In the US, we have a number of values such as liberty to do as one choses related to what one believes is a “good life” and a right to keep medical information private. Public health interventions sometimes clash with these values. If you are arguing in favor of a public health intervention that clashes with these values, there are a number of “justificatory conditions” that must be met to override these values. You may want to discuss them in
the paper.

Justificatory Conditions:

Effectiveness: it the action likely to accomplish the public health goal?

Necessity: Is the action necessary to override the conflicting ethical claims to achieve the public health

Least infringement: Is the action the least restrictive and least intrusive?

Proportionality: Will the probable benefits of the action outweigh the infringed moral norms and any negative effects?

Impartiality: Are all potentially affected stakeholders treated impartially (fairly)?

Public justification: Can public health officials offer public justification that citizens, and in particular those most affected, could find acceptable in principle?


V. Conclusion
A. Restate your three (or more) arguments and thesis statement.

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