You might have written many types of essays. But, unlike other types of writing, you handle philosophy papers differently. Philosophy paper contains reasons and defense of claims. You don't have to researcher record or report findings of other philosophy papers. Additionally, this not a research paper neither is it a literary self-explanation paper. Meaning, you don't have to do extensive research while tackling it.
You should provide convincible arguments to your audience. You examine, clarify, clear reasons for, or against the argument. Philosophy paper needs to be clear and straight forward. You include your views and opinions of other philosophers. You persuade your audience to believe on a particular claim by providing supporting facts.
Philosophy is a discipline of reason rather than that of faith. When making your arguments, you shouldn’t base it on religious factors, whether it's the bible, Koran, Torah, or any other related materials. For instance, you can't say, 'according to the bible, a woman should be submissive to a man.' Don't use faith as the base for your arguments; it will create conflict. Instead, use reasons and make your writing engaging.
To make your arguments more natural, you should be aware that you will face objections from your readers. Thus, while crafting your paper, you should think of objections your audience might have and make responses to them. You don't have to include every answer you get. Make sure they are enough to bring out your point of view.
Aims of a Philosophy Paper
What is the purpose of a philosophy paper? Why do you write a philosophy paper? You might wonder. You argue on a philosophical issue. It could be your view or a view expressed by another philosopher. The following are some of the reasons you do this;
- Criticize an argument - when you don't agree with a case, you are free to give your view no matter what the subject is.
- Provide reasons to believe an argument - you want people to get to your side based on a particular topic.
- Give examples whose aim is to make the thesis persuasive - examples enable you to elaborate your point better.
- Defend an argument - in case other people don't agree on a given point, but you believe the end is right, you should undoubtedly present your argument of the subject.
- It offers a comparison between the strength and weaknesses of two or more views.
- Give consequences of the thesis if they are true.
Elements of Good Philosophy Papers
- Usually have two sides - when you present your arguments, you should present two sides; your point of view and another philosopher’s point of view. When presenting a point, you have to argue and defend your side.
- Give enough points - either agree or disagree with the points. You need to explain your points well enough to make the audience agree with you. And even if their view differs from yours, then they should start questioning their stand.
- Make your point clear - clarity is important when you are writing this paper. You don't want your audience to confuse or wonder which ones are your views on a particular issue and which ones are not.
How to Write a Philosophy Paper
Writing a philosophy paper can be quite a challenge. Without reasons, your papers won't stand out. But when you follow the write guidelines, nothing can stop you from conquering it. The following are considerations to make when preparing a good philosophy paper.
Without outlines, you can never come up with a good philosophy paper. You need to have a rough idea of what you exactly want to show. Your outline needs to be as detailed as possible. It enables you to figure out what you want to discuss throughout your philosophy paper. The more you know what you talk about, the better for your article. Sketch your ideas in an organized manner. Which points will you put first? With this guide, you won't repeat the points. You should also know that clarity depends on the structure. You don't want to leave your audience wondering what you are even talking about. Lastly, remember that a good outline makes 80% of a good philosophy paper.
Discuss Your Thesis With Others
You ought to collect different views to come up with a good paper. This could be with your classmates or friends. When you get other people's views, it assists you in understanding the subject better. When you can discuss the matter with others verbally, it's a sure way you are on the right track. This process is not only enjoyable but can also provide you with clues on what to include in your drafts outlines, notes before submission of your paper.
Start Your Preparation Early
There is nothing as unfortunate as starting writing a philosophy two days before submitting it. You need to start as soon as possible. You need to organize your points and thoughts clearly. Hence, you have to take time to read and discuss; this will not only familiarize you with the subject but also enable you to tackle the issue better. Remember, you should have enough points, to claim a position in the matter. It's easy to add more points to your claim when you start early. You never know when an excellent idea will pop out. Drafting a masterpiece certainly takes time.
Writing your draft
After your research, outline, and preparation process, it’s time to start drafting your paper. You need to keep your work simple and clear. You need to drive your points home. Hence, you don't want to complicate your paper with jargon and technical terms. Understanding your audience will enable you to create an awesome draft. Use familiar words. Before coming up with a remarkable paper, you will have to write more than one draft.
Coming Up With a Good Philosophy Paper
There are specific details you need to keep in mind for your philosophy paper to stand out:
Write a Strong Thesis
A thesis conveys your main idea. A strong argument is the root of a strong philosophy paper. You should make it clear as it steers the direction your paper will take. You shouldn't only have a good philosophical thesis, but also be able to support it. Choose a thesis that works to your advantage.
Use Connective Words
Connective words maintain the flow of your paper. It's a link between one argument and the others when presenting your main arguments. Words such as 'because', 'since', 'however', 'although' play a significant role in your paper.
For example, you can use phrases like:
- Furthermore, to support this claim…
- Before I get into the main points…
- This view suggests that…
Such words clearly show the direction you are steering and make your paper enjoyable to read.
Be Concise and Explain Yourself
What are you talking about? How can I be brief and explain myself at the same time? Well, you need to give only enough points. You don't need to write things that don't add to your total arguments. Make your explanations as explicit as possible. To get your points homes, give plenty of examples and definitions. In case you suspect that your audience won't understand a word, then explain it. Avoid vagueness. Thus, you need to say what you mean - your audience should not be confused about a fact you present.
Words in philosophy paper can mean different, as compared to their meaning. Thus, you need to show this. Don't use many words where one word can do. Rewriting is a part of this whole journey. If need be, write as many as possible until it's clear to the reader.
Don't include too many points as this will stretch your arguments and make it look shallow. You won't be able to elaborate on each point thoroughly. A few points will do when supporting your claims. Pick some points and make the most out of them. Lastly, don't place a point in only one sentence. You should explain it.
You don't necessarily have to tackle an idea which nobody has done before. But, you need to think on your own. You need to show you independent thinking. And you are not influenced by other people's thoughts. You don't have to write the way other philosophers write or think the way they think. The whole paper should be about you and your point of reasoning. Once you understand this, your piece will stand out. You ought to understand some philosophers’ works are complicated. Thus it's better to be original when presenting your thoughts.
Keep Your Audience in Mind
Who's going to read your piece? Most of your audience would be your classmates and your professor. Hence, when choosing the subject, ask yourself if it's something they will relate to. Treat your audience as people who have an interest in the subject, but have a little knowledge, concerning a point you are going to issue. Let them not to struggle to understand the points you represent.
Review Your Work
You want everything to be in the perfect piece. Hence, after you complete it, check if everything is in perfect order. Your structure needs to be obvious. Check for spelling errors and correct them. Your punctuation, your grammar, and word usage should also be on point. Arrange your paragraphs well and make sure they all make sense.
Also, you should read it before you present. You want everything to be clear and perfect at the end of your writing process. With this, you eliminate any errors which you haven't noticed while writing your paper. Does a sentence sound awkward? Correct it. If you read something which you can't say verbally, then get rid of it.
Give Reasons to Your Argument
You can't just say you believe a phenomenon without issuing a solid proof of why you do so. A philosophy paper is all about reasoning. You should accompany every statement or opinion with a reason. Finding your reasons is not as easy as you may think. It's a complicated thing that makes it challenging and sometimes life-threatening. But, this is the whole point of such a paper.
But, what if you don't have enough points to claim your stand? No need to worry as you can opt for a middle position, as long as you're honest about this. Be truthful; don't write something you don't believe in. Always discuss what corresponds to what you believe. When you talk of a point, you can mention and explain how a certain philosopher would have responded to such a situation. Don't forget to include your sources.
What to Put Into Considerations in a Philosophy Paper
Plagiarism is a great offense when handling any academic paper. When you use quotes and phrases, in a philosophy paper, use footnotes. Give credit where it's due. You don't want to be charged guilty of stealing other people's work. You need to include references to back up your claim.
Avoid Long Introductions
As much as introductions are important, you only need to include the necessary points. Keep your intro as short as possible. Give a brief report of what you will be talking about. You should begin with a general statement. You don't want to include a long history of how many philosophers loved the topic, the importance of your issue. The best way is even to forget about the introduction and go straight to the point.
Use Simple Language
Technical terms wouldn't make your paper stand out. Instead, it would just prove you are trying too much, yet saying nothing. Before writing, you should put yourself into the writer's shoes. Would you enjoy reading such a piece? Write the way you talk. Write short paragraphs and sentences.
Your Conclusion Needs To Be Great.
It's not necessarily you summarize your points. When you end with claims, don't have something to like, although some philosophers claim it is excellent, their opponents' claims are also good. You should have a stand.
When writing a philosophy paper, you need to put in the effort. Treat with care, and transparently present your points. In the end, you want to come up with a good piece, which is worth reading and even arguing.