PHI FPX 2000 Assessment 3 Applied Critical Theory

PHI FPX 2000 Assessment 3 Applied Critical Theory

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PHI FPX 2000 Assessment 3 Applied Critical Theory

Student Name

Capella University

PHI FPX 2000 Ethics

Prof. Name


Applied Critical Theory

Critical theory posits that power and control systems sustain social inequality and injustice. This paper employs critical theory to scrutinize the ethical conflicts arising when Rhonda, a transgender individual, requests her colleagues to use her preferred pronouns. Normative theory is subsequently applied to propose resolutions (Zaharin & Pallotta, 2022).

Primary Interests of the Stakeholders

Rhonda’s request introduces an ethical conflict involving stakeholders with divergent interests. Rhonda seeks recognition and respect for her gender identity, emphasizing the importance of using her preferred pronouns (she/her/hers) for self-expression and agency (Darby et al., 2020). Conversely, Phil, a colleague, resists this change due to his beliefs and identity, challenging his understanding of gender and personal values (Witt, 2021).

The stakeholders’ interests intersect through identity and beliefs, yet they are opposed, as Phil’s refusal undermines Rhonda’s identity and agency, denying her due recognition and respect (Duthie, 2019).

Applications of Critical Theory to the Ethical Conflict

Critical theory, a social theory analyzing power structures and oppression, offers insights into the conflict’s dynamics. Hegemony, a key concept, reveals how societal norms around gender identity shape the conflict, as Phil’s resistance reflects the enforcement of hegemonic norms (Holt, 2021).

Furthermore, the intersectionality within the community is considered, recognizing that Rhonda’s experience is shaped by various factors such as race, class, and sexuality, impacting her encounters with oppression and marginalization (Amelina & Schäfer, 2020).

Ethical Conflicts

Queer theory, a critical theory challenging heteronormativity, provides a lens for analyzing the conflict. It highlights the clash between Rhonda’s assertion of her identity as a transgender woman and Phil’s adherence to heteronormative and binary views of gender, showcasing broader societal norms limiting individual agency and expression (Lee, 2019).

Queer theory also underscores how power relations and social structures influence individual experiences of gender and sexuality, exemplified by Phil’s resistance reflecting societal norms enforcement (Ciszek et al., 2022).

Traditional Theory of Normative Ethics

Applying traditional normative ethics, virtue ethics suggests cultivating moral character traits. Resolving the conflict involves enforcing the use of Rhonda’s preferred pronouns, aligning with virtues such as compassion, kindness, and empathy (Guinebert, 2020). Deontological ethics further supports this resolution, emphasizing the moral duty to treat others with dignity and respect, irrespective of gender identity (Jalsenjak, 2019).

However, consequentialist ethics may pose a challenge, as Phil could argue that using Rhonda’s preferred pronouns might lead to confusion or discomfort, negatively impacting the committee’s work (Taggart & Zenor, 2022).


In conclusion, analyzing the ethical conflict through critical and normative theories reveals its complexities. Critical theory sheds light on power dynamics and societal norms, while normative ethics proposes resolutions aligned with virtues and moral duties. The scenario emphasizes the multifaceted nature of ethical conflicts, involving competing values and principles.


Amelina, A., & Schäfer, J. (2020). Intersectionality as critical social theory. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 43(8), 1–3.

Ciszek, E., Place, K., & Logan, N. (2022). Critical humanism for public relations: Harnessing the synergy of gender, race and sexuality research. Public Relations Review, 48(1), 102151.

Darby, M., Bolland, K., Cervantes, A., & Hitter, T. (2020). Ethical considerations in group work with transgender/gender diverse clients. International Journal of Group Psychotherapy, 70(4), 579–598.

Duthie, K. (2019). Ethical considerations for health leaders responsible for the care of transgender patients. Healthcare Management Forum, 32(2), 113–115.

Elligott, R. (2019). Policy Advocacy: Transgender students in a public school setting.

Guinebert, S. (2020). How do moral theories stand to each other? Zeitschrift Für Ethik Und Moralphilosophie, 3(2), 279–299.

Holt, M. (2021). Critical theory. Sexual Orientation Equality in Schools, 55–71.

Jalsenjak, B. (2019). Ethics and ethical theories. Encyclopedia of Sustainable Management, 1–5.

Lee, R. (2019). Queering lactation: Contributions of queer theory to lactation support for LGBTQIA2S+ individuals and families. Journal of Human Lactation, 35(2), 233–238.

PHI FPX 2000 Assessment 3 Applied Critical Theory

Nagoshi, J., Nagoshi, C., & Pillai, V. (2022). Transgender theory revisited: Current applications to transgender issues. Current Opinion in Psychology, 49, 101546.

Regan, P., & Meyer, E. (2021). Queer theory and heteronormativity. Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Education.

Rivera, D., & Nadal, K. (2020). The intersection of queer theory and empirical methods. Imagining Queer Methods, 191–206.

Taggart, G., & Zenor, J. (2022). Evaluation as moral practice: The case of virtue ethics. Evaluation and Program Planning, 94, 102140.

Witt, A. (2021). The use of preferred gender pronouns. Ethics & Medics, 46(2), 1–4.

PHI FPX 2000 Assessment 3 Applied Critical Theory

Zaharin, A., & Pallotta, M. (2022). Reclaiming transgender identity through intersectionality and decoloniality: A critical autoethnography of an academic-activist performance. Journal of Intercultural Studies, 43(1), 98–119.

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