The following remarks, though they will not guarantee a top quality paper, should help you determine where best to direct your efforts. One of the first points to be clear about is that 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.
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.
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.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.
Notice that only the second presents an actual thesis statement. Revise the thesis, in the light of some objection 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. A thesis statement is that sentence or two that asserts your position on a given issue, specifically, the position that you will be arguing for in your paper.
This thesis statement should appear somewhere in the introduction to your paper. In philosophy papers, your thesis will state a position or claim.
The thesis is the most important part of your paper; it tells the reader what your stance is on a particular topic and offers reasons for that stance. Oct 17, · How to Write a Philosophy Paper.
Your thesis states your position for the paper and you will need to make sure that you stay focused on your thesis and support it throughout your entire paper. Keep in mind that a strong thesis states your position as well as why you hold that position%(33).
While writing a worthy paper on philosophy does pose quite some challenges, it is not so complicated when you know what you are doing.
Of course, writing a paper on philosophy, you are expected to follow the same general guidelines as with most other papers.