24.01 | Spring 2016 | Undergraduate

Classics of Western Philosophy


Exercise 1 (PDF) Session 4
Exercise 2 (PDF) Session 8
Paper 1 (PDF) Session 13
Paper 2 (PDF) Session 19
Paper 2 Rewrite Session 24
Paper 3 (PDF) Session 26


Over the course of the semester you will write three papers. All papers must be double-spaced, stapled, with page numbers, and include a cover sheet with your identifying information (name, recitation number, TA). No further identifying information should be included. Preferably papers should have 1"–1.25" margins and 11–12pt standard font.

MIT students revised Paper 2 in light of feedback from their TAs. The rewrite was graded as an independent assignment. Paper 2 and the rewrite together counted as a compound assignment for the purposes of the final grade: The grade for the compound assignment was a weighted average of the grades on Paper 2 and the rewrite (1 / 3 x Paper 2 + 2 / 3 x rewrite). Note that revised papers were held to a higher standard.

  • Paper 1 (600–1200 words)—this paper will involve both exegesis and analysis (as in exercises).
  • Paper 2 (1500–2100 words)—this paper will involve exegesis and analysis, but will require you to engage even more deeply with some text(s) and theme(s) studied in the course.
  • Rewrite of Paper 2
  • Paper 3 (2100–2700 words)—this paper will be similar in form to Paper 2 but, as you’ll note, a bit longer.

Note: Papers 1, 2, and 3 together must total at least 17 pages. (This does not include the rewrite.)

How to Cite a Source

In this class, you may refer to the assigned texts without full citation if it is clear what text you are drawing upon. You must, however, give page numbers in parentheses after all quotes and in support of your claims about the text.

There are four guidelines for using sources in your essays:

  • There is never a good reason to paraphrase a source—either summarize it in your own words or quote it exactly (citing the source in either case);
  • When you quote, quote exactly, use quotation marks, and cite the source;
  • When you use information that might not be considered common knowledge, cite the source;
  • When in doubt about whether or not to give a citation, always give a citation.

If your essay discusses a single source that was assigned for the course and if you make clear, in the body of your text, which source you are discussing, then you may cite any quotations or discussions of that source by giving, in the body of your writing, the page number of the quotation or paraphrase in parentheses next to the stretch of text.

If your essay discusses multiple sources or if you use or consult sources not assigned for the course, you need to provide full references in a bibliography. Citations of those sources in the body of your paper should follow a standard format, such as that of the APA, MLA, or CMS.

Example Student Work

Paper 2

Idea Copy Machine (PDF) - (Courtesy of Janice Lee. Used with permission.)

Course Info

Learning Resource Types
Lecture Notes
Written Assignments with Examples