Even though you have probably read these texts previously, it is a good idea to reread them in light of the question you plan to answer. Also make sure that you have spent some time thinking about the question itself. Answer the question, the whole question, and nothing but the question. First, address the question that is asked. This again points to the need to understand what the question is asking. Second, be sure that your answer is complete.
If the question has different parts, be sure that you have addressed each part. Third, make sure that you do not pursue tangential issues. Your answer will be evaluated in connection with the question that was asked. Even a brilliant essay cannot get a good grade if it does not answer the question. Philosophy papers usually involve both exposition and evaluation. In the expository part of the paper, your task is to explain the view or argument under consideration.
Make sure that your explanation is as explicit as possible. The evaluation part of the paper is your chance to do some philosophy of your own. You should engage with her reasoning. Some questions you might consider: Which premises are the weakest points of the argument? What objections might be raised to these premises? Are there any ways that her argument could be bolstered to defend against such objections?
As you write, think about your intended audience. Instead, imagine your audience as someone who is intelligent and interested in the subject but has not studied it.
Think of yourself, before taking this class, or perhaps of your roommate. In general, a thesaurus is not the friend of a philosophy student.
Do not be afraid to re-use the same terms over and over, especially when they are key terms in an argument. If you mean to talk about the same concept throughout, use the same term throughout. As a rule, you should not use quotes. A series of quotes strung together, even creatively strung together, is not a paper.
The main reason to quote a passage is to make it more convenient for you to talk about what the passage says and to make it more convenient for your reader as well. Thus, you should not rely on a quotation to answer a key part of the question.
Answer in your own words instead. You should, however, include textual references. Whenever you make a claim about what is said in the text, it is appropriate to provide a specific reference to back up your claim. For short papers using class texts, footnotes are not necessary; it is sufficient to make parenthetical references, such as Meno 77b. Write until you have said what you need to say, not until you hit the page limit. The problem should be to confine your paper to the page limit, not to stretch out your paper to the minimum required.
You may end up with a first draft that is too long, but at a later stage you can go back through your work and see whether there are sentences or paragraphs that are not really necessary or that can be made more concise.
The point is that you will be better able to evaluate what is truly important if you have included everything on your first draft. It will also help to give your paper focus. In order to produce a good philosophy paper, it is first necessary to think very carefully 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. 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. More advanced students might do well to read Philosophical Writing: An Introduction , by A. Some final words should be added about proofreading.
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, after all, is what you are really trying to show. Summer News August 13, DR. Lisa Shapiro who was awarded the first Ulrike Detmers Honorary degrees, news and appointments April 30, Congratulations to faculty, former faculty and alumni this month.
Professor Emeritus Steven Davis 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. Go directly to your topic. Inexperienced writers rely too heavily on quotations and paraphrases. Even paraphrasing should be kept to a minimum. After all, it is your paper. It is your thoughts that your instructor is concerned with.
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.
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. 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. 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. 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.
You must demonstrate these sorts of things, and in a fashion that does not presuppose that your position is correct. Before you start to write make an outline of how you want to argue.
There should be a logical progression of ideas - one that will be easy for the reader to follow. If your paper is well organized, the reader will be led along in what seems a natural way. If you jump about in your essay, the reader will balk. It will take a real effort to follow you, and he or she may feel it not worthwhile.
It is a good idea to let your outline simmer for a few days before you write your first draft. Does it still seem to flow smoothly when you come back to it? If not, the best prose in the world will not be enough to make it work. Use the right words.
Structuring a Philosophy Paper Philosophy assignments generally ask you to consider some thesis or argument, often a thesis or argument that has been presented by another philosopher (a thesis is argument, you may be asked to do one or more of the following: explain it, offer an argument in support of.
Philosophy paper. Help. anncou. Main. Similar Questions. Field: Reading homework help. Report Issue. Address the following in your paper: Mind/Body Dualism: Compare/contrast Cartesian rationalism and at least one version of empiricism. You may draw upon your analysis of the Cartesian Method in this week’s discussion assignment. Remember to.
It will also help to give your paper focus. In order to produce a good philosophy paper, it is first necessary to think very carefully 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. A philosophy paper consists of the reasoned defense of some claim Your paper must offer an argument. It can't consist in the mere report of your opinions, nor in .
Avoid getting off on tangents that are not crucial to your topic, and avoid sweeping generalizations you can't support in the paper. In addition to the quality of exposition, one of the central things we look for in a philosophy paper is how well the thesis in question is supported. An essay on philosophy begins with a thesis statement which can be an introduction to a wider topic or can be a simple argument that you wish to elaborate in the essay. A thesis statement is essential in all kinds of custom essay papers because it is the starting point to your essay therefore it needs to be impressive enough to catch attention.