How to Write a Philosophy Paper Professor Amy Kind Students often find philosophy papers difficult to write since the expectations are very different from those in other disciplines, even from those of other disciplines in the humanities. What follows is some general advice about how to go about writing short 4 - 5 page philosophy papers on pre-assigned topics. Before starting to write Make sure that you have read all of the relevant texts very carefully.
Descartes says that Q; however, the following thought-experiment will show that Q is not true Descartes says that Q. I find this claim plausible, for the following reasons There are a variety of things a philosophy paper can aim to accomplish. It usually begins by putting some thesis or argument on the table for consideration.
Then it goes on to do one or two of the following: Criticize that argument; or show that certain arguments for the thesis are no good Defend the argument or thesis against someone else's criticism Offer reasons to believe the thesis Offer counter-examples to the thesis Contrast the strengths and weaknesses of two opposing views about the thesis Give examples which help explain the thesis, or which help to make the thesis more plausible Argue that certain philosophers are committed to the thesis by their other views, though they do not come out and explicitly endorse the thesis Discuss what consequences the thesis would have, if it were true Revise the thesis, in the light of some objection No matter which of these aims you set for yourself, you have to explicitly present reasons for the claims you make.
Students often feel that since it's clear to them that some claim is true, it does not need much argument. But it's very easy to overestimate the strength of your own position. After all, you already accept it.
You should assume that your audience does not already accept your position; and you should treat your paper as an attempt to persuade such an audience.
Hence, don't start with assumptions which your opponents are sure to reject. If you're to have any chance of persuading people, you have to start from common assumptions you all agree to.
A good philosophy paper is modest and makes a small point; but it makes that point clearly and straightforwardly, and it offers good reasons in support of it People very often attempt to accomplish too much in a philosophy paper.
The usual result of this is a paper that's hard to read, and which is full of inadequately defended and poorly explained claims. So don't be over-ambitious. Don't try to establish any earth-shattering conclusions in your page paper. Done properly, philosophy moves at a slow pace.
Originality The aim of these papers is for you to show that you understand the material and that you're able to think critically about it. To do this, your paper does have to show some independent thinking.
That doesn't mean you have to come up with your own theory, or that you have to make a completely original contribution to human thought.
Writing is especially important in philosophy because it allows you to clarify your ideas and arguments. Often times writing your ideas down reveals problems or areas that need improvement. Order essay online at the our writing service to forget about college stress and struggle. Free plagiarism checker and revisions included. Despite the fact that, as Shakespeare said, "the pen is mightier than the sword," the pen itself is not enough to make an effective writer. In fact, though we may all like to think of ourselves as the next Shakespeare, inspiration alone is not the key to effective essay writing.
There will be plenty of time for that later on. An ideal paper will be clear and straightforward see belowwill be accurate when it attributes views to other philosophers see belowand will contain thoughtful critical responses to the texts we read.
It need not always break completely new ground. But you should try to come up with your own arguments, or your own way of elaborating or criticizing or defending some argument we looked at in class.
Merely summarizing what others have said won't be enough. 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 paper.
You should instead be taking notes on the readings, sketching out your ideas, trying to explain the main argument you want to advance, and composing an outline. Discuss the issues with others As I said above, your papers are supposed to demonstrate that you understand and can think critically about the material we discuss in class.
One of the best ways to check how well you understand that material is to try to explain it to someone who isn't already familiar with it. I've discovered time and again while teaching philosophy that I couldn't really explain properly some article or argument I thought I understood.
This was because it was really more problematic or complicated than I had realized. You will have this same experience.
So it's good to discuss the issues we raise in class with each other, and with friends who aren't taking the class. This will help you understand the issues better, and it will make you recognize what things you still don't fully understand.Quality academic help from professional paper & essay writing service.
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Writing is especially important in philosophy because it allows you to clarify your ideas and arguments.
Often times writing your ideas down reveals problems or areas that need improvement. Although we are no longer accepting new essays on our website, we thought we would share these essay writing suggestions in case you wished to write an essay for your own benefit.
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, .