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. Dai Heide who is one of the recipients of this year's 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 SFU Philosophy's collection of 'be employable, study philosophy' web content: 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. 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 to 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. 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.
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. 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. Once you have determined your outline, you must select the exact words that will convey your meaning to the reader.
A dictionary is almost essential here. Do not settle for a word that you think comes close to capturing the sense you have in mind. Notice that "infer" does not mean "imply"; "disinterested" does not mean "uninterested"; and "reference" does not mean either "illusion" or "allusion. Notice that certain words such as "therefore," "hence," "since," and "follows from" are strong logical connectives.
When you use such expressions you are asserting that certain tight logical relations hold between the claims in question. You had better be right. Finally, check the spelling of any word you are not sure of. This is why your paper needs to stand on its own. To achieve this, you have to doubt every statement that you make throughout your writing. For each of your arguments, ask yourself — why should my reader accept this?
Or better yet — why should I accept this? It is no secret that people often consider philosophy too vague to even matter. We will not go into detail about why it happens or whether such assumption is true. Our point is that your task as an essay writer is to avoid this vagueness by all means. For that, be strongly encouraged to pick your words very carefully.
After you have your first draft, look up every single term that you use in a trusted thesaurus to make sure that it means exactly what you need it to mean. Every essay writer who has a clear idea about how to write a philosophy paper knows just how enormously powerful tool they are to make your writing more convincing by rendering the narration smoother and more consistent.
Needless to say that you cannot just drop these conjunctions randomly across your text — you need to make sure that they indeed form logical connections between the given units.
Naturally, such razor-sharp clarity can only be achieved through tedious work and multiple rewrites. Therefore, make sure that you have your first draft ready as soon as possible to secure enough time for all the rewrites.
It is true that a philosophy paper suggests primarily logical persuasion, i. While such rational persuasion is indeed the ultimate goal of a philosophy paper, a seasoned essay writer might point out that we are not formally restricted to logos here. However, when inserting quotes in your philosophy paper, there are two critical points of implementation to remember about:.
How to Write a Philosophy Paper How to write a philosophy paper? To ease your task, here are a few tips specifically for writing papers in philosophy: This method of persuasion appeals to emotion.
We could use it here by adding something emotional, like a joke or some play with stylistics. This will seem quite off-topic and inappropriate and undermine your authority without helping to cover the issue. So, it is best to cross pathos out. This method of persuasion appeals to the ethics and works by solidifying the authority of the speaker. We know that your reader is your professor — someone who is well informed on the subject and has some authority in it.
You can appeal to your reader more effectively by seamlessly letting them know that you also have a well-grounded standpoint on the issue in question. You can achieve this by carefully placing several quotes — both direct and indirect — throughout your philosophy paper.
So, it is possible to consider employing ethos alongside logos in a philosophy paper. However, when inserting quotes in your philosophy paper, there are two critical points of implementation to remember about: You need to know exactly how to write an article title in a paper to cite it appropriately.
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.
The basic purpose of your conclusion is to restate your thesis and summarize your argument, but it should not just be a copy of your introduction. In your conclusion, you should make a final effort to convince the reader that you have both established your thesis and .
Students who study political science, sociology, psychology, law, and literature may be interested in how to write a philosophy paper. You may be asked to prepare a philosophy essay on one of the related topics. We offer the step-by-step guide to writing it and 15 brilliant topics to consider. An inexperienced essay writer who has a very vague idea about how to write a philosophy paper is very likely to fall into a trap. The trap lies in assuming that your position on the issue is obviously right. Assume that you are writing for an intelligent reader who just so happens not to share your standpoint.
A Brief Guide to Writing the Philosophy Paper The Challenges of Philosophical Writing The aim of the assignments in your philosophy classes is to get you doing philosophy. But what is philosophy, unobvious conclusion. A negative argument is an objection a claim that may be true or false). Given this thesis or that tries to show that a claim. A title: nothing fancy, no need to be cute, just a title A Sample Philosophy Paper annotated This contains all the required information. If your prof likes to grade anonymously, make sure .