Your thesis states your position for the paper and you will need to make sure that you stay focused on your thesis and support it throughout your entire paper. Keep in mind that a strong thesis states your position as well as why you hold that position. One reason that you may cite might be that beautiful people are not always virtuous. An outline can help you to stay on track as you draft your paper and ensure that you include everything that you need to include.
Write how you speak. Writing in a flowery, overly complex way will not make you appear to be more knowledgeable about philosophy. It is better to write in your own voice and use simple, direct language to get your point across. Imagine that you are explaining the concept to a friend and making an argument for why you agree or disagree with this concept. What would you say? What examples would you use? This makes it hard for your readers to understand what you mean.
Look up new words before you used them. If you like to use the thesaurus feature of Word when you write, just make sure that you are looking up the meanings of these words before you include them.
The thesaurus does not always provide suggestions that are grammatically correct or equivalent in meaning to the original word. Introduce your paper with relevant details. Your introduction is important because it gives readers a first impression of your paper. That is why it is important to use your introduction wisely. After your introduction, you will need to explain the philosophical argument or concept that you are planning to refute or support. Otherwise, your professor may consider your argument to be less effective.
Stick to the relevant details of the argument. Do not explain things that you do not plan to argue against in your paper unless they are absolutely necessary for understanding your point.
After you have provided a clear explanation of the philosophy, you will need to move on to your evaluation. Your evaluation should work to support your thesis at all times.
Do not go back and forth between positions or contradict yourself at any time. Stick to your position no matter what. For example, if you are arguing that beauty and virtue are unrelated, then you might give an example of a convicted criminal who many consider to be beautiful. Anticipate objections to your argument.
Try to identify the strongest objections that an opponent might use to refute your argument and develop responses to these objections. Focus on handling the three biggest objections that your opponents might raise. For example, if you are arguing that beauty and virtue are not related, then you might identify an objection that some studies have demonstrated that some men are less attracted to women with undesirable personality traits, despite their beauty.
Conclude your paper in a meaningful way. Conclusions are also important because they provide an opportunity for you to summarize, clarify, and emphasize one or more important parts of your paper. Try to conclude your paper in a way that will help your readers to see the relevance and significance of your paper.
Put your paper aside for a few days. Revising is easier if you can take a break from what you have written for a few days. After you return to the paper again, you will have a fresh perspective that should help you to improve the content of your work more easily than if you had attempted to revise it right away.
If possible set aside your paper for at least three days, but keep in mind that even setting aside your paper for a few hours before you revise is better than nothing. Read your paper with an eye towards content and clarity. Revision is not about fixing typos and grammatical errors. Revision is about seeing what you have written with new eyes and being willing to make major changes, additions, and deletions if it will improve the content of your paper.
Do your arguments hold up? If not, how might you improve them? Are the concepts in your paper clear and easy to understand? If not, how might you clarify these concepts? Ask someone to read your work. Having someone else take a look at your paper can also help you to improve your work.
Clear writing reflects clear thinking; and that, after all, is what you are really trying to show. Summer News August 13, DR. 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 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. Even paraphrasing should be kept to a minimum.
After all, it is your paper. It is your thoughts that your instructor is concerned with. 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.
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. There is no excuse for "existance" appearing in any philosophy essay. Assume that your reader is constantly asking such questions as "Why should I accept that?
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. When quoting or paraphrasing, always give some citation.
Indicate your indebtedness, whether it is for specific words, general ideas, or a particular line of argument. Plagiarism is against the rules of academic institutions and is dishonest. It can jeopardize or even terminate your academic career. Why run that risk when your paper is improved it appears stronger not weaker if you give credit where credit is due?
That is because appropriately citing the works of others indicates an awareness of some of the relevant literature on the subject. If your position is worth arguing for, there are going to be reasons which have led some people to reject it. Such reasons will amount to criticisms of your stand. A good way to demonstrate the strength of your position is to consider one or two of the best of these objections and show how they can be overcome.
The trick here is to anticipate the kinds of objections that your critics would actually raise against you if you did not disarm them first. The other challenge is to come to grips with the criticisms you have cited. You must argue that these criticisms miss the mark as far as your case is concerned, or that they are in some sense ill-conceived despite their plausibility.
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