Classical Ethical TheoryAutumn 1999

Note: This course has been cancelled for the Spring 1999 semester. Look for it to be offered in Autumn 1999.

Term Paper Requirement

Term Paper:
An important part of this course is the term paper. There is no specific length requirement, but before you hand in a five-page paper, recall that one quarter of your grade is determined by this paper. You should type (or have a computer print out) your paper, if possible. Electronic submissions to are welcome (either as attachments or as in-line text).

The topic of the term paper is to be chosen by the student with the advice and consent of the instructor. The topic should, of course, be something relevant to the course. It should not be a rehash of something we have done in class, although it could take significantly further some issue that arose in class. From time to time during the semester I may suggest possible term paper topics.

The paper could be a close critical examination of some argument or position that appears in a reading in the text. It could be a careful look at some broad issue. Typically it will involve some research, but it should also involve significant thought on your part. It should not simply be a report of facts of some case or of the thoughts of other people. You should grapple with the issues.

Any use of sources should be footnoted adequately. If you got an idea from somewhere, indicate that. If you refer me to a book or an article be sure to give me enough information (title, author, edition, page number) for me to find the reference. If you think I may not have access to the article, you should consider providing a photocopy of it. Failure to provide adequate citations may hurt your grade.

Term paper proposal:
Besides the term paper being due on a specific date, a "proposal" is due much earlier. In the proposal I would like you to offer a description of the problem or topic you will be addressing. You should, in addition, indicate how you plan to go about exploring the topic (e.g., what sources you plan to consult, which theories you plan to appeal to, etc.). Requiring such a proposal is designed in part to encourage you to get to work on your term paper much earlier in the semester than you otherwise might. A term paper should not be written in a single weekend. The proposal also serves to give the instructor a chance to offer feedback. I can provide suggestions for how to develop the topic, where to look for related reading material, and can help you to avoid mistakes and inappropriate topics. I expect this proposal to be at least a page in length and to be written after you have done some preliminary exploratory work. You will not be graded on the proposal itself. However, I will accept no term paper from a student until I have had a chance to review that student's proposal. Since the grade on the term paper may be adversely affected by lateness, it is in your best interest to get the proposal to me without delay. Of course quite apart from the threat of refusal to accept the term paper itself, it is to your advantage to have early feedback on your ideas for a term paper.

I also ask that you submit a draft of the term paper. Conferencing on this should help you write a much better final product.

Richard Lee,, last modified: 5 October 1998