Paper Instructions

Paper Instructions


You are expected to write a 1000-1250 word paper. (That is about 4-5 pages.) Please try your best not to go outside the word limit.

A draft is due 3 weeks before the final version on April 18th. The final paper is due Monday, May 9th by midnight. There is a “turn-it-in” link for both the draft and the final in the “Paper Process Draft” section on Blackboard. Please submit your work there.

Please choose ONE topic to focus on. The focus questions help you to build an outline/skeleton of your paper. The draft is a first run. The final draft should be a smooth, seamless version with no errors/typos.

The grading criteria is posted on Blackboard in the paper instructions section. You should focus on these questions, but try to write in such a way that it is not a list of answers.

The topics are as follows:

1.   Presocratics and Substance

a.    Questions to be answered – What was the main project the Presocratics were involved with?

b.   Who are the Presocratics?

c.    What is the issue of substance/first principle? Why is this important to them?

d.   How did they go about investigating and establishing their proposal for their version of substance/first principle?

2.   Zeno’s Paradox

a.    Explain one of Zeno’s paradoxes.

b.   What is a paradox? Why is it paradoxical?

c.    Why is it significant?

d.   Is there a solution?

3.   The Socratic Method in Euthyphro

a.    How is the Socratic Method implemented?

b.   What is the method? And where/how is it displayed in the literature?

c.    What importance or value does it have?

d.   Should this method be continued? Why or why not?

4.   Socrates and the Laws (Crito)

a.    Why is Socrates in prison and why doesn’t he escape?

b.   What is his reasoning for not escaping?

c.    Are there any problems with his reasoning?

5.   Plato’s Ethics

a.    What is Glaucon’s challenge to Socrates?

b.   How does Socrates answer the challenge?

c.    Do you think it is a successful reply, why or why not?

6.   Aristotle’s Ethics

a.    What principle does Aristotle use to judge whether or not a person is a good person?

i.   You should explain how he arrives at “what good” means. b.   What are virtues?

c.    Do you agree or disagree and why?

Note: You are not restricted to these topics, questions, or outlines. They are guides for writing. If you have a particular interest or a question you want to investigate, I encourage you to do so. But! Before you do so, please email me your plans.

An important note on writing: I do not like pompous pretentious writing. I do not write that way, nor do I

speak that way. I am not trying to pander to an elite audience trying to make myself appear

“intellectual”. I don’t care about that. What I care about is whether or not you can clearly state the issue, describe the theories and the arguments, and, most importantly, if you have formed some thoughts of your own and reasoned through some of those thoughts. You are an intelligent student trying to wrangle and understand, literally, ancient ideas. That is all you’re tasked to do. If you want to do more than that, then by all means.

Outline  sample  breakdown: Aristotle’s Ethics

a.   Main issue – what does it mean to be a good person, according to Aristotle?


“For Aristotle, to be a morally good person, you must be a virtuous person.” (directly answers the question)

-     State whether you agree or disagree.

-      Present one or two main reasons why you agree or disagree. (To be discussed in further detail in the body.)


-     You must include his definition of virtue in the intro. (1-2 sentences)

-     You must include a bit about how he comes to this definition. (1-2 sentences)

-     Describe and explain the parts of the definition in detail.

o List out the major parts and reserve a paragraph or two to describe them.

-     Present your argument for why you agree or disagree.

-     Explain your reasons for agreeing or disagreeing. Conc:

-     Basically sum everything up.