Skip Nav

How to Write a Philosophy Paper: Recommendations, Topics, and Free Examples

What is a Philosophy Paper?

❶For short papers using class texts, footnotes are not necessary; it is sufficient to make parenthetical references, such as Meno 77b. Present to your audience.

1. Constructing a Thesis Statement

Check Out the Official Book
Search Here:
How to Write a Thesis for a Paper to Grab Reader’s Attention?

I included my student number and the page number on every page. This way my prof won't accidentally staple the first half of my paper to the second half of someone else's. The entire paper leads to my argument for my thesis. I'm still explaining Frege's view here. Road mapping along the way, so the reader knows what's going on. This is Frege's argument that I will address! I'm very careful to present it clearly. Even though I will argue against it, I try to make it sound as plausible as possible.

I use an example to explain Frege's argument. I just used Frege's example, but I could have been more creative and used my own. I try to explain Frege's argument explicitly. Writing it out like this is probably overkill. The important thing is that I identified the key premises and the conclusion. I tell you exactly where I disagree with Frege's argument. This is my argument for my thesis.

I try to be clear, using language in a controlled way, and using examples to help the reader along. I restate my conclusion at the end of my argument. I assess the damage to Frege's overall position. Here I respond to a possible objection to my argument. My conclusion is short and sweet. I recap my main points. An unfortunate page break. Luckily my prof doesn't mind. Most philosophy profs don't care what format you use, as long as all the information is there. NEVER use tab to achieve a hanging indent.

But I also explained it in my own words afterwards. The University of Western Ontario amendel5 uwo. Popular presentations See more popular or the latest prezis. 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. 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.

Downloading prezi...

Main Topics

Privacy Policy

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. How to write an introduction. Don’t .

Privacy FAQs

How to Write an Introduction for a Philosophy Paper? We have discussed how to develop a thesis statement for a paper. It is time to explore how to develop an introduction for a philosophy paper.

About Our Ads

Of course, writing a paper on philosophy, you are expected to follow the same general guidelines as with most other papers. You should know how to conduct your primary research effective, you should know how to outline your paper before you can proceed to writing it, you should know how to write an article title in a paper to cite it properly. 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, indicating in her introduction which term in Smith’s argument is ambiguous, or by indicating why she thinks others may have overlooked the.

Cookie Info

Writing A Philosophy Paper. Most first attempts at writing philosophy essays fall down on this point. Substantiate your claims whenever there is reason to think that your critics would not grant them. More advanced students might do well to read Philosophical Writing: An Introduction, by A.P. Martinich. Some final words should . How to write a philosophy paper. How to write a philosophy paper Skip to content; Skip to main navigation This thesis statement should appear somewhere in the introduction to your paper. It can be the first sentence, although that’s often a rather simplistic and unexciting way to begin your paper. It is imperative that you clearly.