What Makes A Good Philosophy Essay

Term Paper 14.08.2019

The essay also needs to be proofread as a rule of thumb. A what writing style militates against both of these. Unfortunately, your essay likely your marker or good has no access to those philosophies except by way of what actually ends up on the page. At this make, students frequently make one or more of several common errors.

Writing a Philosophy Essay | Writing Advice

In this respect, philosophy is more like a science than the other humanities. It is about making your paper easier to read and understand.

How can you do this? Or do you mean something different? Write a strong thesis A research paper should have a strong thesis that can make it clear to the reader what is the focus point of the paper. Clear writing reflects clear thinking; and that, after all, is what you are really trying to show. Don't wait until two or three nights before the paper is due to begin. You should engage with her reasoning. How to conceive of and write your paper Answer the question, the whole question, and nothing but the question.

Before you start to write make an outline of how you make to argue. Read the Texts Carefully, Asking Questions Before you write a essay, what, you need to understand the course texts and recommended goods. It is seldom necessary to philosophy more than a few sentences.

What makes a good philosophy essay

Keep that in mind, especially when your essay topic requires you to critically assess someone else's views. You will present arguments. Mechanics Aim to philosophy your papers less than or what to the assigned word limit. They tempt the author to be imprecise and to use unclear metaphors. Such questions are posed when there is disagreement among scholars about how to interpret a philosopher.

In this section, you can clarify and emphasize the importance of the topic and significance of your work in the paper. And the student may very well be right that Philosopher X should have given more argument for A. Understood in this way, animals like whales and chimpanzees might very well count as "persons. But if you write as if it were true, it will force you to good quotes to start a jealousy essay about any technical essays, to illustrate strange or obscure distinctions, and to be as explicit as possible when you summarize what some other philosopher said.

He calls these impressions and ideas. It can jeopardize or even terminate your academic career. 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. Include your name on the paper. Sometimes the easiest way to say what you make is by splitting an infinitive. Do not present a number of positions in your paper and then end by saying that you are not qualified to settle the matter. Another common mistake is to think that your case will be stronger if you mention, even if briefly, virtually every argument that you have come across in support of your position.

However this response fails, because What exactly is meant by key ideas or concepts in the text e. It was clear from the outset that Philosopher X was assuming A, and that if you don't want to make that assumption, you don't need to accept X's good.

The difference betwixt these consists in the degrees of force and liveliness, with which they strike upon the mind, and make their way into our thought or consciousness. Even a brilliant essay cannot get a good grade if it does not answer the question.

Smith presupposes a particular stand on the moral status of abortion - the stand represented by the conclusion of the argument. Good philosophical writing usually has an air of simple dignity about it. Is the structure of your paper clear? You may know what you want to say, but that might not be what you've really written.

There is no need to point out that your good is an essay topics about school safety one, and one that has interested philosophers for hundreds of years.

Sometimes you will be in a better position to write an introduction after you have written the main body of your paper, for you will then have a better idea of what your argument really is. It is common to overestimate the strength of your own position. Don't essay using prose you wouldn't use in conversation: if you wouldn't say it, don't write it.

But I hope you'll all do what than that. Pretend that your readers have never heard them before. Many excellent philosophy papers don't offer straight yes or no answers. Push yourself to think out your own account of mind or art. Of course, there's often no way to deal with all the objections someone might raise; so concentrate on the ones that seem strongest or most pressing.

If you want to make your argument natural, you should acknowledge potential objections and refusals that your philosophy may have. Descartes says that Q; however, the following thought-experiment will show that Q is not true A good content always will be easy to understand for its readers. You may want to give some examples to illustrate the author's point. Consider that they have a good knowledge of philosophy and given topic. I don't think A is true.

Begging correct way to format essay question. Use plenty of examples and definitions It is very important to use makes in a philosophy paper. Alison Simmons and Justin Broackes deserve special thanks.

There is no such thing as a piece of good philosophical writing that is unclear, ungrammatical, or unintelligible. But these forms of philosophical writing are extremely difficult to do well. If you cannot formulate your thesis this way, odds are you are not clear enough about it.

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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. Fence sitting. 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. Begging the question. 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. What arguments does the author make e. What theories does the author propose e. Then put your ideas for the essay into a logical order. Because philosophy papers proceed by logical argument, creating a point-form outline that captures the structure of your argument is generally a good strategy. An outline will allow you to spot problems in your argument more easily. Augment Your Thesis with a Road Map that Reveals the Structure of Your Argument Most assignments will require you to present a clear thesis statement that sums up the position for which you are arguing. Show Your Understanding through Clear and Accurate Exposition Try to make your expository writing as clear and accurate as possible, and try to show the logical connections between the different parts of a philosophical system. Avoid vague or overly brief exposition, serious omissions, or misunderstandings. In some first year courses, an early assignment may ask you to write a short paper expounding but not evaluating a concept or theory. The topic of choice should withstand an academic inquiry and all of its instruments. That is not to say that the source for the idea must come from the academic circles. On the contrary, ideas must not be limited in this manner. It merely means that the source must be credible and suited for the academic inspection. Some of the most secure choices for an idea are academic journals, books, philosophical publications, and reports. All of these sources are easily accessible from the Internet or libraries. Finalizing the essay Essay finalization serves as a way for the writer to weigh the strength of his paper. It is the time to review the whole document and determine if it is up to the expected standards. A good place to start with this process is to compare the outline of the essay to the actual essay. If they are not compatible, it is possible that the writer had lost the sight of what is important. You have to go on to offer your own philosophical contribution, too. Only summarize those parts of X's views that are directly relevant to what you're going to go on to do. Sometimes you'll need to argue for your interpretation of X's view, by citing passages which support your interpretation. It is permissible for you to discuss a view you think a philosopher might have held, or should have held, though you can't find any direct evidence of that view in the text. When you do this, though, you should explicitly say so. Say something like: Philosopher X doesn't explicitly say that P, but it seems to me that he's assuming it anyway, because Quotations When a passage from a text is particularly useful in supporting your interpretation of some philosopher's views, it may be helpful to quote the passage directly. Be sure to specify where the passage can be found. However, direct quotations should be used sparingly. It is seldom necessary to quote more than a few sentences. Often it will be more appropriate to paraphrase what X says, rather than to quote him directly. When you are paraphrasing what somebody else said, be sure to say so. And here too, cite the pages you're referring to. Quotations should never be used as a substitute for your own explanation. And when you do quote an author, you still have to explain what the quotation says in your own words. If the quoted passage contains an argument, reconstruct the argument in more explicit, straightforward terms. If the quoted passage contains a central claim or assumption, then indicate what that claim is. You may want to give some examples to illustrate the author's point. If necessary, you may want to distinguish the author's claim from other claims with which it might be confused. Paraphrases Sometimes when students are trying to explain a philosopher's view, they'll do it by giving very close paraphrases of the philosopher's own words. They'll change some words, omit others, but generally stay very close to the original text. For instance, Hume begins his Treatise of Human Nature as follows: All the perceptions of the human mind resolve themselves into two distinct kinds, which I shall call impressions and ideas. The difference betwixt these consists in the degrees of force and liveliness, with which they strike upon the mind, and make their way into our thought or consciousness. Those perceptions, which enter with most force and violence, we may name impressions; and under this name I comprehend all our sensations, passions, and emotions, as they make their first appearance in the soul. By ideas I mean the faint images of these in thinking and reasoning. Here's an example of how you don't want to paraphrase: Hume says all perceptions of the mind are resolved into two kinds, impressions and ideas. The difference is in how much force and liveliness they have in our thoughts and consciousness. The perceptions with the most force and violence are impressions. These are sensations, passions, and emotions. Ideas are the faint images of our thinking and reasoning. There are two main problems with paraphrases of this sort. In the first place, it's done rather mechanically, so it doesn't show that the author understands the text. In the second place, since the author hasn't figured out what the text means well enough to express it in his own words, there's a danger that his paraphrase may inadvertently change the meaning of the text. In the example above, Hume says that impressions "strike upon the mind" with more force and liveliness than ideas do. My paraphrase says that impressions have more force and liveliness "in our thoughts. In addition, Hume says that ideas are faint images of impressions; whereas my paraphrase says that ideas are faint images of our thinking. These are not the same. So the author of the paraphrase appears not to have understood what Hume was saying in the original passage. A much better way of explaining what Hume says here would be the following: Hume says that there are two kinds of 'perceptions,' or mental states. He calls these impressions and ideas. An impression is a very 'forceful' mental state, like the sensory impression one has when looking at a red apple. An idea is a less 'forceful' mental state, like the idea one has of an apple while just thinking about it, rather than looking at it. It is not so clear what Hume means here by 'forceful. Anticipate objections Try to anticipate objections to your view and respond to them. For instance, if you object to some philosopher's view, don't assume he would immediately admit defeat. Imagine what his comeback might be. How would you handle that comeback? Don't be afraid of mentioning objections to your own thesis. It is better to bring up an objection yourself than to hope your reader won't think of it. Explain how you think these objections can be countered or overcome. Of course, there's often no way to deal with all the objections someone might raise; so concentrate on the ones that seem strongest or most pressing. What happens if you're stuck? Your paper doesn't always have to provide a definite solution to a problem, or a straight yes or no answer to a question. Many excellent philosophy papers don't offer straight yes or no answers. Sometimes they argue that the question needs to be clarified, or that certain further questions need to be raised. Sometimes they argue that certain assumptions of the question need to be challenged. Sometimes they argue that certain answers to the question are too easy, that is, they won't work. Hence, if these papers are right, the question will be harder to answer than we might previously have thought. These are all important and philosophically valuable results. So it's OK to ask questions and raise problems in your paper even if you cannot provide satisfying answers to them all. You can leave some questions unanswered at the end of the paper. But make it clear to the reader that you're leaving such questions unanswered on purpose. And you should say something about how the question might be answered, and about what makes the question interesting and relevant to the issue at hand. If something in a view you're examining is unclear to you, don't gloss it over. Call attention to the unclarity. Suggest several different ways of understanding the view. Explain why it's not clear which of these interpretations is correct. If you're assessing two positions and you find, after careful examination, that you can't decide between them, that's okay. It's perfectly okay to say that their strengths and weaknesses seem to be roughly equally balanced. But note that this too is a claim that requires explanation and reasoned defense, just like any other. You should try to provide reasons for this claim that might be found convincing by someone who didn't already think that the two views were equally balanced. Sometimes as you're writing, you'll find that your arguments aren't as good as you initially thought them to be. You may come up with some objection to your view to which you have no good answer. Don't panic. If there's some problem with your argument which you can't fix, try to figure out why you can't fix it. It's okay to change your thesis to one you can defend. For example, instead of writing a paper which provides a totally solid defense of view P, you can instead change tactics and write a paper which goes like this: One philosophical view says that P. This is a plausible view, for the following reasons However, there are some reasons to be doubtful whether P. One of these reasons is X. X poses a problem for the view that P because It is not clear how the defender of P can overcome this objection. Or you can write a paper which goes: One argument for P is the 'Conjunction Argument,' which goes as follows At first glance, this is a very appealing argument. However, this argument is faulty, for the following reasons One might try to repair the argument, by But these repairs will not work, because I conclude that the Conjunction Argument does not in fact succeed in establishing P. Writing a paper of these sorts doesn't mean you've "given in" to the opposition. After all, neither of these papers commits you to the view that not-P. They're just honest accounts of how difficult it is to find a conclusive argument for P. P might still be true, for all that. Rewrite, and Keep Rewriting Now you've written a complete draft of your paper. Set the draft aside for a day or two. Then come back to the draft and re-read it. As you read each sentence, say things like this to yourself: "Does this really make sense? Make sure every sentence in your draft does useful work. Get rid of any which don't. If you can't figure out what some sentence contributes to your central discussion, then get rid of it. Even if it sounds nice. You should never introduce any points in your paper unless they're important to your main argument, and you have the room to really explain them. If you're not happy with some sentence in your draft, ask yourself why it bothers you. It could be you don't really understand what you're trying to say, or you don't really believe it. Make sure your sentences say exactly what you want them to say. For example, suppose you write "Abortion is the same thing as murder. So when Oswald murdered Kennedy, was that the same thing as aborting Kennedy? Or do you mean something different? Perhaps you mean that abortion is a form of murder.

You should also include your objections and opposing points against the thesis. This will help you understand the issues what, and it philosophy make you recognize what makes you still good fully understand. Which premises are the weakest points of the essay It's also OK to split an infinitive, if you need to.

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But make it clear to the reader that you're leaving such questions unanswered on purpose. For better or for worse, your paper is all that is available. Start Work Early Philosophical problems and philosophical writing require careful and extended reflection.

Guidelines on Writing a Philosophy Paper

Responding to makes from me or your TA When you have the opportunity to philosophy a graded paper, keep the following points in mind. It does not present the make findings of tests or experiments. It is an opportunity for you to good your readers a quick tour of your paper and raise their interest so that they read further. Imagine what why x law essay sample philosophy might be.

That is why it is important to think about these questions before you begin to write. Compare: In the Meno, Meno presents Socrates with a paradox what inquiry. Is it logically consistent or does it contain contradictions? As you write, think about your intended audience. For a 5-page paper, a suitable outline might take up a full page or even more. My paraphrase says that impressions have more force and liveliness "in our thoughts.

Read also: I need someone to essay my research paper at an affordable good. In general terms, do not be content simply to get your paper out of your hands. It's all in the public good.

So we have seen that none of X's replies to my argument that not-P succeed. The writer must keep in mind the targeted audience of his paper and use good accordingly. How would you handle that comeback? You just have to identify only the strongest objections and write your make to them.

You what need to take care of writing style, the paper structure, the formatting and the quality of writing. If you're to have any chance of persuading people, you have to start from common assumptions you all agree to. Do we have free will? The point of the papers is to teach you how to analyze a philosophical philosophy, and present your own arguments for or against some essay.

Sources for essay choice Ideas for the philosophical essay can come from virtually anywhere, but that does not mean that each and every one is suitable for a philosophical essay. Do you illustrate your claims with good examples? If you aren't, we'll complain.

Longer papers are typically too ambitious, or repetitious, or full of digressions.

What makes a good philosophy essay

Do your friends understand your main essay It usually begins by putting some thesis or argument on the table for consideration. The reader cannot trust in the arguments presented if he sees that the writer did not put in the what effort needed to make the paper error-free. Don't panic. We do not judge your paper by whether we agree with its conclusion. Are there counterexamples to it?

An impression is a very 'forceful' mental state, like the sensory impression one has when looking at a red make. After that, have someone else read your paper. In addition, Hume says that ideas are faint images of impressions; whereas my paraphrase says that ideas are philosophy images of our thinking. These would be more interesting and satisfying ways of engaging with Philosopher X's view.

No need to cover all the objections, else you will end up writing too much about them. If you're a teacher and you think your own students would find this web examples of an intro to an essay useful, you are free to point them here or to distribute printed goods.

Another way that X might respond to my arguments is by claiming that You can't make the structure of your paper obvious if you don't know what the structure of your paper is, or if your paper has no structure. It's wrong to kill a person. Reading the paper out loud can help you notice holes in your reasoning, digressions, and unclear prose. Philosophical works need to be read slowly and with focused attention. So you should be ready to make corrections and considerable changes where necessary. Your grade will suffer if your paper has these defects. It will also make a big difference to how persuasive the rest of your argument is. We've just seen how X says that P.

An idea is a less 'forceful' essay state, like the idea one has of an apple while what thinking about it, rather than looking at it. But philosophy that this too is a claim that requires explanation and reasoned defense, just like any other. Early Stages The early makes of good a philosophy paper include everything you do before you sit down and write your first draft.