- The point of having you write a philosophy paper is for you
develop the ability to
- evaluate, and
- Also, to articulate your thoughts in a
- concise, and
- well-organized manner.
- Clearly define your thesis before you begin writing.
- Your thesis should not be trivial.
- You must support your views by presenting arguments.
- Avoid the use of inflammatory language and
- Your arguments must ultimately rest upon assumptions that even
reasonable person of the opposing view would accept.
- The following are two of the most common strategies for
- Reductio ad Absurdum,
- Presenting a Counter-example.
- To criticize an argument, state it first in a fair and
way. Even make charitable revisions.
- A word must be defined if:
- it is a technical term,
- it's meaning is not sufficiently clear or precise;
- it is used to mean something other than what it ordinarily
- Unless it provides necessary background or supports your
it is irrelevant.
- State your thesis.
- Explain the order in which you will argue.
- Always make and retain a photocopy of your paper.
- Rough drafts shouldn't be "rough" at all.
- Choose an issue that intrigues you, about which you have
- Review the materials and jot down your ideas about them.
- Develope your own take on the issue. If not, then consider two
viewpoints and try to work out which one has the more plausible
and why. Your thesis can be that philosopher X's argument is
- Outline all your arguments and the structure of your
- Take a break for a week.
- Go over the arguments you outlined a week ago and look at
the perspective of someone with the opposing viewpoint. Would she
your premises? Your reasoning? What objections might she
to respond to potential criticisms, and incorporate your responses
- Write your paper. Save the introduction for last. The
and conclusion should mirror one another.
- Take a break again for a few days. Then read your paper out