Writing a philosophy paper? It can seem intimidating to tackle at first, but with the right approach and attitude, you can turn your philosophy paper from an annoying task into a rewarding intellectual endeavor. Here’s how to write a kick-ass philosophy paper in seven steps.
Do your research
Philosophy essays are typically assigned in college courses on philosophy. They usually ask the student to write about a specific philosophical topic and how it applies to their own lives. Sometimes, they also ask students to analyze or contrast two different philosophies in relation to one another.
It is important for you as the writer not only to know your subject but also to be able to demonstrate that you have an understanding of philosophy as well as its relevance in the world today. For example, if you are writing about John Rawls’ theory of justice and applying it, you will need to do some research on the basics of Rawls’ theory before moving on and applying it yourself.
As you dig deep into your topic, it is useful to observe the writing styles of various philosophers. It will help you polish your own writing skills. You will notice that some philosophers use verbose language whereas some philosophers write as if they are writing elementary school books.
Also, you may want to skip Hegel.
Choose a narrow focus
The question of how to write a philosophy paper is best answered by looking at the specifics of the assignment. However, it can be helpful when tackling any academic writing project to consider some general guidelines.
The best way to learn how to write a philosophy paper is by reading and analyzing other papers in your field. How do they format their arguments? What are their primary and secondary sources? Do they use footnotes or endnotes? It’s important to keep these things in mind as you craft your own philosophy essay, since the style will inform how others view it. You don’t want someone judging one of your arguments as weak because you didn’t cite something properly!
Make a clear argument
A good way to start your paper is by introducing the problem or idea that will be discussed. Don’t just say what the problem is, explain why it’s important, and maybe even compare it with other problems like it. For example: Does death prevent us from living authentically? Compare this question with…
What does authenticity mean? Remember that you’re writing an essay–not giving a lecture! Keep it short and concise, as there are only so many pages for a philosophy paper.
A good rule of thumb for structuring your paper is answering these questions: What do I want to argue? Why should I believe my argument? How am I going to prove my argument is true?
Support your argument with evidence
The best way to write a philosophy paper is by following the philosophy essay format. This format will help you organize your thoughts and make it easier for your readers to follow your line of reasoning. In addition, this helps you stay on topic and avoid straying off into tangential areas. Furthermore, it makes it easier for you to organize your thoughts so that you can clearly articulate what you want to say in an organized manner.
Another benefit is that this format makes it easier for other philosophers who read your work after you publish it because they can more easily identify the different parts of the essay such as the introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion so they don’t have to wade through all of your thoughts in order to find what they’re looking for.
Engage with the opposition
Perhaps you disagree with your sources because they lack facts to support their arguments. It would be important to explore this further and see what evidence they have collected that led them to their conclusions.
You could also argue that the author’s arguments are not valid because they don’t take into account the relationship between such and such events or phenomena.
Remember, it is your job as the writer of a philosophy paper to counterargue the claims. That is the key to a truly kick-ass philosophy essay. Don’t just lay your argument but also argue against the other side. In short, it is important to identify why you agree or disagree with the other literature on your chosen topic.
What does this mean? If you agree with the author then what do you like about their argument? If you disagree then why do you think they were wrong in their argument?
Be clear and concise
The best way to write an excellent philosophy essay is by following the guidelines of a good philosophy paper format. When writing your introduction, you should provide a thesis statement that gives insight into the question posed in your title. The body of your essay should explore the topic by providing definitions and explanations, as well as examples, evidence, and analysis.
The final paragraph of your paper should summarize what you have said and draw any conclusions you find relevant. You can then end with an interesting quote or personal reflection on the topic. A philosophy essay requires many citations from both credible sources and your own thoughts. Finally, you will need to complete the works cited page at the end of your paper.
Edit, edit, edit
Lastly, you need to edit your paper. Remember, writing it was just 50% work, the real task now it to edit it. I say, edit it to perfection. Look for loopholes in your argument. See where you lack credible sources, and which sentence is unclear. Once you are done editing your piece, you will see a huge difference in the first draft and the edited version. Needless to mention, cut out the typos, grammatical errors, and extra words. Philosophy instructors are usually very sensitive about grammar – so keeping it flawless will help you in getting a better…
List of philosophy paper topics
- Are humans born good or evil?
- Is life meaningless?
- Is it better to do the right thing and suffer, or do the wrong thing and be happy?
- Do we really know what justice is, or are we just making assumptions about how it should look?
- Does there have to be an ultimate truth for anything to be considered knowledge?
- If a tree falls deep in a forest without anyone to hear it fall, does it make a sound?
- Is Philosophy really dead? Stephen Hawking’s Perspective.
- Can someone believe something that’s not true without knowing it’s not true?
- It is possible for people to know things without being able to prove them (e.g. we all know that the Earth isn’t flat)?
- Does God Exist?
- What is beauty?
How do you structure a philosophy essay?
A philosophy essay or philosophy paper, is an in-depth discussion of a philosophical issue. The format of the paper is similar to that of an academic essay, with an introduction, three sections (thesis statement, argument, and conclusion), and references.
How do you start a philosophy research paper?
There are many ways to start writing your research paper, but the best way is the one that suits you best. The first step is coming up with an idea for what you want to write about and finding some sources.
Once you know what you want to research and find some sources, it’s time for organizing your thoughts by doing some preliminary reading.
For this stage, it’s important not just reading the material, but also to take notes on everything that interests you in order to organize your thoughts before writing.
How to write a philosophy paper conclusion?
Your conclusion should summarize the main points of your paper and show how they are important. You can also use this as an opportunity to call for further research or reflect on what you’ve learned.
What style do philosophy papers use?
Philosophy essays can be written in different styles, but the most common is the APA style. For example:
- Author’s last name, first initial. (Date). Title. Title of Journal or Book Name. Volume(Issue), Pages Used.
Did you enjoy reading this piece? Feel free to share it for there is no fun in knowing and not sharing.