philosophy research paper critically examine john stewart mill s position on justice how does he balance individual freedom with the general welfare of the greatest good for the e greatest number use primary sources in the words of mil

Assignment Description

Suggested Length: (5-6 paragraph, essay format)

Research: 1 primary source, 3-4 secondary sources in addition to the textbook

Documentation: Cite sources within essay using parenthetical citations. Match full sources in Works Cited or References page following MLA or APA format.

See the Writing Resources module in this course for further details about writing and research.

The Final Research Essay will be an expository exploration into an issue or problem in philosophy. Choose a topic we have covered so far in philosophy that you find interesting from the Possible Topics for Final Research Essay to further research in a short expository essay using at least 1-2 primary source quotations from philosopher(s) in addition to 3-4 secondary sources about your topic.

See: Directions for Final Research Essay

Directions for Final Research Essay

Select a topic from the Possible Topics for Final Research Essay to research using PRIMARY (Like words/quotes from the philosopher, make sure to use in text citations) and secondary sources from philosophical literature.

Written and graded feedback on your Midterm Research Essay will be provided, which you can use for your Final Research Essay.

Please use the following academic structure for your Final Research Essay, which requires a formal tone that was not required in Discussions:

  • Keep formal academic style by using third person, objective voice. Avoid first and second person (I and you). Instead, use third person, one for reflective pronoun.
  • Begin with an introduction leading into a thesis statement. Introduce your topic by providing general background and leading into a particular assertion in your thesis statement.
  • Then, develop and support your assertion through 3-4 body paragraphs with primary and secondary sources. (Primary sources are in the words of the philosophers and secondary sources are commentary about their ideas.) Introduce sources in your own words and then follow sources with commentary and interpretation in your own words.
  • Note: At least 70% of your writing should be in your own words. ******Use direct quotes for primary sources and paraphrase secondary sources in your own words.***** (Review your Turnitin Originality Report for percentages after you submit your essay. View the Reviewing a TurnItIn/Originality Report tutorial.) Be sure to follow both primary and secondary sources with parenthetical citations that include author or title and date.
  • Conclude with a summary/concluding paragraph in your own words by summarizing your main points and then re-formulating your thesis statement.
  • Match all of your parenthetical citations in your Reference or Works Cited page at the end of your essay. Be sure to cite complete information following MLA or APA style.

Choose one topic to research and develop into a multi-paragraph research essay: Use primary sources in the words of the philosophers as well as secondary sources explaining their ideas as you organize and develop body paragraphs.


  • Critically examine John Stewart Mill’s position on justice. How does he balance individual freedom with the general welfare of the greatest good for thee greatest number? Use primary sources in the words of Mill, as well as secondary sources about his philosophy. Consider how Mill’s philosophy of would relate to any contemporary social issues today.
  • Explore the ethical theories of several key philosophers, such as Aristotle, Kant, Mill, Sartre, Singer and others. What are right actions according to each theoretical approach? Which ethical theories do you find the most relevant or convincing and why. Be sure to use primary sources from the philosophers as well as secondary sources about them.
  • How have ideas of social justice changed from ancient to modern philosophers in the attempt to envision the ideal or just society? Consider the evolution of modern values such as the individual, the state, economics, culture, race and gender. Be sure to identify philosophers and use primary sources in the words of the philosophers in your supporting research about these values.
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