How to Write a Philosophy Paper (with Pictures) - wikiHow

 

how to write a philosophy essay

Three Stages of Writing 1. Early Stages The early stages of writing a philosophy paper include everything you do before you sit down and write your first draft. These early stages will involve writing, but you won't yet be trying to write a complete kovntikis.cf should instead be taking notes on the readings, sketching out your ideas, trying to explain the main argument you want to advance, and. Good writing is the product of proper training, much practice, and hard work. The following remarks, though they will not guarantee a top quality paper, should help you determine where best to direct your efforts. I offer first some general comments on philosophical writing, and then some specific. Mar 11,  · Knowing how to write a good philosophy paper is a useful skill. It teaches to analyze data, come up with personal judgments, and convince others of your truth. Students involved in philosophy, political science, sociology, psychology, literature, or law classes may face the need to write a philosophy paper sooner or kovntikis.cf: Jacob Quigley.


How To Write A Philosophical Essay, List of Topics, Structure


Good writing is the product of proper training, much practice, and hard work. The following remarks, though they will not guarantee a top quality paper, should help you determine where best to direct your efforts.

I offer first some general comments on philosophical writing, and then some specific "do"s and "don't"s. One of the first points to be clear about is how to write a philosophy essay a philosophical essay is quite different from an essay in most other subjects.

That is because it is neither a research paper nor an exercise in literary self-expression. It is not a report of what various scholars have had to say on a particular topic. It does not present the latest findings of tests or experiments.

And it does not present your personal feelings or impressions. Instead, it is a reasoned defense of a thesis. What does that mean? Above all, it means that there must be a specific point that you are trying to establish - something that you are trying to convince the reader to accept - together with grounds or justification for its acceptance.

Before you start to write your paper, you should be able to state exactly what it is that you are trying to show. This is harder than it sounds. It simply will not do to have a rough idea of what you want to establish. A rough idea is usually one that is not well worked out, not clearly expressed, and as a result, not likely to be how to write a philosophy essay. Whether you actually do it in your paper or not, you should be able to state in a single short sentence precisely what you want to prove.

If you cannot formulate your thesis this way, odds are you are not clear enough about it. The next task is to determine how to go about convincing the reader that your thesis is correct. In two words, your method must be that of rational persuasion. You will present arguments. At this point, students frequently make one or more of several common errors.

Sometimes they feel that since it is clear to them that their thesis is true, it does not need much argumentation. It is common to overestimate the strength of your own position. That is because you already accept that point of view. But how will your opponent respond?

It is safest to assume that your reader is intelligent and knows a lot about your subject, but disagrees with you. Another common mistake is to think that your case will be stronger if you mention, even if briefly, virtually every argument that you have come across in support of your position. Sometimes this is called the "fortress approach. There are several reasons for this. First, your reader is likely to find it difficult to keep track of so many different arguments, how to write a philosophy essay if these arguments approach the topic from different directions.

Second, the ones that will stand out will be the very best ones and the very worst ones. It is important to show some discrimination here. Only the most compelling one or two arguments should be developed, how to write a philosophy essay. Including weaker ones only gives the impression that you are unable to tell the difference between the two. Third, including many different arguments will result in spreading yourself too thinly. It is far better to cover less ground in greater depth than to range further afield in a superficial manner.

It will also help to give your paper focus. In order to produce a good philosophy paper, it is first necessary to think very how to write a philosophy essay and clearly about your topic. Unfortunately, your reader likely your marker or instructor has no access to those thoughts except by way of what actually ends up on the page.

He or she cannot tell what you meant to say but did not, and cannot read in what you would quickly point out if you were conversing face to face. For better or for worse, your paper is all that is available. It must stand on its own. The responsibility for ensuring the accurate communication of ideas falls on the writer's shoulders.

You must say exactly what you mean and in a way that minimizes the chances of being misunderstood. It is difficult to overemphasize this point. There is no such thing as a piece of good philosophical writing that is unclear, ungrammatical, or unintelligible. Clarity and precision are essential elements here. A poor writing style militates against both of these.

There is much more that could be said about clear writing. I have not stopped to talk about grammatical and stylistic points. For help in these matters and we all need reference works in these areas I recommend a few of the many helpful books available in the campus bookstore.

Both of these books have gone through several editions. Some final words should be added about proofreading, how to write a philosophy essay. Do it. After that, have someone else read your paper. Is this person able to understand you completely? Can he or she read your entire paper through without getting stuck on a single sentence? If not, go back and smooth it out. In general terms, do not be content simply to get your paper out of your hands.

Take pride in it. Clear writing reflects clear thinking; and that, how to write a philosophy essay, after all, is what you are really trying to show, how to write a philosophy essay. We're saying hello to a new cohort of MA What do you get when you mix philosophers with a lab full of jellyfish? May 28, Do science and philosophy mix? Do jellyfish and philosophers mix? Here in the Department of Writing A Philosophy Paper. These are entirely unnecessary and of no interest to the informed reader.

There is no need to point out that your topic is an important one, and one that has interested philosophers for hundreds of years. Introductions should be as brief as possible. In fact, I recommend that you think of your paper as not having an introduction at all, how to write a philosophy essay. Go directly to your topic.

Lengthy quotations. Inexperienced writers rely too heavily on quotations and paraphrases. Direct quotation is best restricted to those cases where it is essential to establish another writer's exact selection of words. Even paraphrasing should be kept how to write a philosophy essay a minimum. After all, it is your paper. It is your thoughts that your instructor is concerned with.

Keep that in mind, especially when your essay topic requires you to critically assess someone else's views. Fence sitting. Do not present a number of positions in your paper and then end by saying that you are not qualified to settle the matter. In particular, do not close by saying that philosophers have been divided over this issue for as long as humans have been keeping record and you cannot be expected to resolve the dispute in a few short pages. Your instructor knows that. But you can be expected to take a clear stand based on an evaluation of the argument s presented, how to write a philosophy essay.

Go out on a limb. If you have argued well, it will support you. Good philosophical writing usually has an air of simple dignity about it. Your topic is no joke. No writers whose views you have been asked to read are idiots.

If you think they are, then you have not understood them. Name calling is inappropriate and could never substitute for careful argumentation anyway.

Begging the question. You are guilty of begging the question or circular reasoning on a particular issue if you somehow presuppose the truth of whatever it is that you are trying to show in the course of arguing for it, how to write a philosophy essay. Here is a quick example. If Smith argues that abortion is morally wrong on the grounds that it amounts to murder, Smith begs the question. Smith presupposes a particular stand on the moral status of abortion - the stand represented by the conclusion of the argument.

To see that this is so, notice that the person who denies the conclusion - that abortion is morally wrong - will not accept Smith's premise that it amounts to murder, since murder is, by definition, morally wrong. When arguing against other positions, it is important to realize that you cannot show that your opponents are mistaken just by claiming that their overall conclusions are false. Nor will it do simply to claim that at least one of their premises is false.

 

Writing A Philosophy Paper - Department of Philosophy - Simon Fraser University

 

how to write a philosophy essay

 

Three Stages of Writing 1. Early Stages The early stages of writing a philosophy paper include everything you do before you sit down and write your first draft. These early stages will involve writing, but you won't yet be trying to write a complete kovntikis.cf should instead be taking notes on the readings, sketching out your ideas, trying to explain the main argument you want to advance, and. Reformational Philosophy etc. How to write a philosophical essay. Philosophical essay writing must be done with a clear idea in mind and, for that, some structure is needed. The writer must have all knowledge related to the idea. The trick to successful philosophical writing is to know how the whole essay will look before writing a single word. essay-writing in philosophy. It is now presented to you as a handbook for students on the basics of philosophical writing. As supervisors ourselves, the four of us began the project out of a desire to offer extra assistance to broader audience of students experiencing difficulty with their essay-writing skills.