Moral Life, 2014
Paper topics and required format
Topics (only these topics are allowed; pick one)
1. The role of intention in Kant’s ethics (use pp 240-247 in our text)
2. The place of happiness in Kant’s ethics (use pp 240 to 247 in our text)
3. Kant’s first formulation of the Categorical Imperative as a tool to generate rules of moral conduct (use pp
247 to 253)
4. Kant’s second formulation of the Categorical Imperative and its relation to his utopia, the Kingdom of
Ends (use pp 253-255)
Format: 3 to 3.5 pages, space and a half, standard margins (1.0” top, bottom, left, right), Times New Roman 10-to-
12 point font, no bulleted text.
Outline: Your paper MUST follow this basic outline—
I. Introductory paragraph—a succinct summary of Kant’s ideas on the topic, followed by your thesis
statement. The thesis statement must be the last sentence of your introductory paragraph. A thesis MUST be your
strong, clear, robust, muddle-free opinion in favor of (agreement) OR against (disagreement) Kant’s ideas on the
A. Right way: I disagree with Kant’s view on [topic], because [your reasons presented succinctly]
B. Right way: I agree with Kant’s view on [topic], because [your reasons presented succinctly]
C. Wrong way: In this paper I will discuss Kant’s views on [topic].
D. Wrong way: Kant has some good points and some points that are not so clear.
II. Descriptive section—2 to 5 paragraphs describing Kant’s ideas and only his ideas. Your opinion should not
appear anywhere in this section; you must use 3 to 4 pithy, well-selected quotes from Kant in this section—no long,
chunky quotes to fill space.
III. Thesis explication section—2 to 5 paragraphs in which you:
A. Reiterate you thesis
B. Present arguments for your thesis
1. If you agree with Kant on the topic, you will present at least 2 supporting arguments for
his views on the topic (these have to be different from the arguments Kant himself uses to support
his view, which you describe in section 2).
2. If you disagree with Kant, you will present at least 2 counterarguments to Kant’s views on
the topic, which show why you disagree with Kant.
IV. Entertaining objections section—1-2 paragraphs in which you consider how someone might try to refute
(argue against) your thesis and the supporting arguments or counterarguments you presented in section 3.
V. Conclusion—1 paragraph in which you summarize/restate Kant’s ideas and your thesis; optional: offer
ideas for further study and examination.
Kant, I. “The Moral Law.” The Moral Life: an Introductory Reader in Ethics and Literature, 5th edition. Ed. Louis P. Pojman
and Lewis Vaughn. New York: Oxford University Press, 2011, 2014. 239-255. Print.