Option one: Comparison paper on two figures or schools of thought
This is, generally speaking, a �compare and contrast� paper. In it you will take up the positions
regarding leadership and its ethical content of two thinkers, one and only one of whom is part of
our reading list. The other is someone you will research on your own. I expect you to go beyond
just the readings we�ve done in class, and your text should draw on between 3 and 8 outside sources,
which must be cited and listed in a bibliography (works cited page). At least 3 of your sources
must be PRINT (i.e. not from the internet).
Compare and contrast the two thinkers you have chosen by asking and answering questions like
these: in what ways do they overlap, in what ways do they conflict? Is one influenced by another?
Do they share some common root? How do they view human nature differently? How do they view
the ultimate source of ethical value? What does each one claim constitutes a �good leader?� Note
that these are just examples of questions you could ask/answer; a good paper will not attempt to
answer them all but will focus closely on a concise, specific issue.
Key point: your paper must present an argument and defend a conclusion about the relationship
between the two thinkers you are comparing/contrasting. It is not enough to say that one thinker
says X while the other says Y. You could argue that one thinker�s position on an issue is stronger
than the other�s, or that two positions that appear very different are actually quite similar, or that
two positions that appear quite similar are actually significantly different, etc.
The philosophers we considered in this class are:
� J. S. Mill � N. Machiavelli
� Plato � I. Kant
Some other figures you might wish to take up:
� David Hume � Cicero
� John Locke � G. W F. Hegel
� Paul Tillich � Marcus Aurelius
� Aristotle � Confucius
� Seneca � Karl Marx
� John Rawls � Hannah Arendt
� Julius Evola � Benjamin Franklin
� Robert Nozick � Milton Friedman
This is not a comprehensive list. If you have other ideas I encourage you to pursue them.
Option two: Application of theory
In this paper, you will take up one of the key philosophical thinkers (Plato, Mill, Kant, or
Machiavelli) from this class, and apply his theoretical or historical approach regarding leadership
to some particular contemporary issue. I expect you to go beyond just the readings we�ve done in
class, and your text should draw on between 3 and 8 outside sources, which must be cited and listed
in a bibliography. At least 3 of your sources must be PRINT (i.e. not from the internet).
Some questions you could ask and answer in this paper: How are these theories applicable to
contemporary issues? Are there elements of today�s society that are so different as to make these
ideas untenable? How might we make use of philosophical insights into leadership to address
contemporary problems? Note that these are just examples of questions you could ask/answer; a
good paper will not attempt to answer them all but will focus closely on a concise, specific issue.
Key point: your paper must present an argument and defend a conclusion about the issue/thinker
you choose. You might argue that Plato has a particularly strong position on leadership in education
that could inform contemporary education reform, or that Mill�s utilitarianism is a weak basis from
which to build a theory of corporate citizenship capable of addressing a specific contemporary
corporate problem, or �the possibilities are endless!
Some issues you might wish to take up:
� Leadership in Religion � Corporate Citizenship
� Capitalism and Democracy � Leadership in Education
� Minorities in Leadership � Leadership at home and abroad
� Parenting as leadership
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