NB: You will most likely note that the instructions that follow, while carefully specified as to what your term
paper should include and the steps you ought to take in writing it, are otherwise somewhat vague as which
contentious issue you must write about. This has been done intentionally to give you the maximum possible
latitude in terms of adapting the assignment to fit your interests and make it more enjoyable (or at least
more tolerable) to complete than it otherwise might be. You should not feel you have to stick to any one
interest, field, or method in your application of these philosophies either – feel free to explore a bit, and take
the philosophers along with you!
Your term paper should be written exactly according to the following technical guidelines:
Only papers submitted as Word (.doc/.docx) or Adobe (.pdf) documents will be accepted and graded.
At the top right should appear your full name, the date, and your course and section numbers. That’s it.
Typed, double-spaced, aligned left (not justified), paragraphs indented, with 1” margins all around, and
please – no titles.
12 pt. Times New Roman font (i.e., the same font this page has been done in).
I am looking for good, concise, cogent argument – not length – I’d rather the paper be somewhat short(er)
and to the point, than long and needlessly drawn out with pseudo-academic filler material gleaned from the
text, internet, etc. I want to know what you know; not what the authors you read (and I) already know.
You must cite at least 1 print source in addition to your text – books, journal articles, etc.
It should go without saying but bears repeating here that Wikipedia, Spark Notes, etc. are neither sound
nor reliable resources for collegiate academic work, and should neither be consulted nor “borrowed from.”
Any and all instances of academic dishonesty, i.e., plagiarism, will not be tolerated and will be dealt with
swiftly and appropriately harshly – at the very least it certainly will constitute a failing grade for the term
paper, and may result in a failing grade for the entire semester, and/or a referral to the academic dean.
Works cited in footnotes (if you don’t know how to do this correctly, then ask – it’s important to learn how to
do this correctly) with author, title, publisher, edition, publication date, pages referenced, etc. DO NOT cite
in parenthesis or on a works cited page. See Foolproof Footnoting.pdfPreview the document
Include quotes (properly cited and formatted) where appropriate, and absolutely no plagiarism.
Your paper is to be turned in via the assignment page in Canvas – no hardcopies are required, nor will they
be accepted. Make sure you’re familiar with the use of the assignment upload page well ahead of the due
Your term paper should be written with following in mind:
You are to write, using any one of the particular philosophers’ theories or concepts that you have read,
been taught, or that have been discussed throughout the entire semester, a practical and applied use in the
real world. Specifically, you are to summarize one philosopher’s most prominent theories, and those theories’ potential for practical application in your area of personal, professional, or academic interest.
(Choices of philosophers are Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, Aquinas, Hobbes, Hume, Kant, Marx, or
Nietzsche please only use one philosopher.)
Your term paper should take the form of:
1) Introduce your paper. We’re studying the great moral philosophers, and all of our philosophers have
been included for very good reasons; your introduction should indicate your understanding of the main
reason(s) for your philosopher’s inclusion, as well as what makes them worthy of our attention.
2) Summarize the key concepts (at least one; no more than three) posited and developed by that
philosopher – this should include what their philosophy replaced and/or what has replaced it since, if
applicable, and should show a well-rounded understanding of their work both in and of itself, as well as
within the context of the overall academic study and applied practice of Ethics.
▪ 2A) Included in your summary of their work should be topically accurate citations of and quotations from
their written work that support the focus of your summary of their main ideas.
◦ 3) Discuss the possibilities of practically applying your chosen philosopher’s work to a contentious issue
within a personal, professional, or academic area of your own choosing, most often the one in which you
are working in or toward currently, but it could also be an area or topic of merely casual interest to you.
▪ 3A) Included in your section on practical application should be at least one example of a case study or
hypothetical situation in your chosen field in which the philosopher’s work could be applied, as well as a
discussion of the means by which it would be applied, and, if applicable, resolved.
◦ 4) You should wrap up your term paper by summarizing and tying together the salient points of what
you’ve presented in terms of the philosopher’s key concepts and potential for practical application. In most
cases, this will be something of a rehashing of your introduction; in other words, tell me what you’re going
to do, do it, then tell me what you just did – this is a helpful way to stretch papers to the required length.
Don’t think of it as being redundant – think of it as being thorough.
This is NOT a biographical paper – in fact, I will count off if you include extraneous biographical
information, especially considering that it (more often than not) will have come from an online source.
Your term paper should be written from an academic perspective, and should assume that your audience
(me) understands the basics of ethical theories and you don’t need to flesh them out, but should instead
focus on the “meat” of the philosopher – their key concepts, and their relevance to you and your course of
study, profession, or personal interests. To do this, you will most likely need to call on additional information
that may not be available in your text – may I suggest you check out the Philosophy section of our campus
or local library and consult a few or several of the excellent books that are found therein?