In general, you will write a paper that addresses a topic relevant to our general discussions on political philosophy, not necessarily strictly on contract theory. You need to use at least two academic journal articles (preferably published since 2010). Your paper should follow the format below.

  1. Introduction: one paragraph or so, no more than one page

Identify author and journal article titles you will be critiquing (2010—current)

Briefly explain what the problem is and your proposed solution

Narrow your scope (since you can’t cover everything said in the articles)

Include your thesis (ideally, last sentence of first paragraph)

Roadmap so readers know what to expect (e.g., First I will…. Second I will….. etc)

  1. Exposition of Arguments in the Journal articles that you are addressing

Summarize and paraphrase and charitably reconstruct main arguments in article

Be sympathetic

Be comprehensive (within your scope)

Go through author’s main claims, key concepts, etc

Do not put your own view or any objection in this section

Do not assume your reader has read the article

III.       Your Critique of the arguments in the articles

This is your argument against the article’s arguments

Give reasons for every conclusion you draw

Specifically say what your objection is (this is your main thesis)

Distinguish which parts of article’s argument you agree with and which not

(e.g., you may agree with one author and not the other, agree with parts of each, or decide they are

Both wrong)

Possible critiques: one or more of their reasons are false or irrelevant; or

Not enough to support their conclusion; or

Conclusion is undesirable for some reason, or leads to unwanted implication, etc

You are not resolving a major issue, you are simply showing why the article’s

proposal is not enough (moving discussion forward one step)

  1. Response to Potential Objections

Imagine how the authors of the articles (or someone else) might respond

to your critique (you are anticipating an objection to your view)

Explain how you would respond to such an objection

Brief conclusion wrap – up

  1. Proper CITATION is required! You must properly cite every direct quote or

Paraphrase. Remember you cite IDEAs, not mere words. Two methods:

  1. Use any standard style (MLA, APA, Chicago, eg)
  2. Include a pdf or link to articles you are citing and then you only need to cite parenthetically by
    1. Articles page number
  3. Remember that ANY plagiarism carries a default penalty of FAILURE OF


Social Contract Theory