Step-by-step Guide to a Philosophy Paper

 

philosophy paper outline

The best philosophy paper outline is straightforward in its intent, takes up a position, and is uncomplicated in its language. A proper outline makes drafting easier and less time-consuming. Moreover, philosophical writing with a clear-cut outline will lend assurance that your end result is condensed yet enlightening. Give your outline your full attention. It should be fairly detailed. (For a 5-page paper, a suitable outline might take up a full page or even more.) I find that making an outline is at least 80% of the work of writing a good philosophy paper. If you have a good outline, the rest of . This handout was originally prepared for a paper writing workshop in which students constructed a philosophical argument for or against the position that teachers should be required to take a philosophy of education course. You may find the skeletal outline to be a .


How to Write a Philosophy Paper (for Beginners) (with Pictures)


Your paper must offer an argument. It can't consist in the mere report of your opinions, nor in a mere report of the opinions philosophy paper outline the philosophers we discuss. You have to defend the claims you make. You have to offer reasons to believe them. So you can't just say: My view is that P. You must say something like: My view is that P. I believe this because Similarly, don't just say: Descartes says that Q. Instead, philosophy paper outline, say something like: Descartes says that Q; however, the following thought-experiment will show that Q is not true I find this claim plausible, for the following reasons There are a variety of things a philosophy paper can aim to accomplish, philosophy paper outline.

It usually begins by putting some thesis or argument on the table for philosophy paper outline. Then it goes on to do one or two of the following: Criticize that argument; or show that certain arguments for the thesis are no good Defend philosophy paper outline argument or thesis against someone else's criticism Offer reasons to believe the thesis Offer counter-examples to the thesis Contrast the strengths and weaknesses of two opposing views about the thesis Give examples which help explain the thesis, or which help to make the thesis more plausible Argue that certain philosophers are committed to the thesis by their other views, though they do not come out and explicitly endorse the thesis Discuss what consequences the thesis would have, if it were true Revise the thesis, in the light of some objection No matter which of these aims you set for yourself, you have to explicitly present reasons for the claims you make.

Students often feel that since it's clear to them that some claim is true, it does not need much argument. But it's very easy to overestimate the strength of your own position.

After all, you already accept it. You should assume that your audience does not already accept your position; and you should treat your paper as an attempt to persuade such an audience. Hence, philosophy paper outline, don't start with assumptions which your opponents are sure to reject. If you're to have any chance of persuading people, you have to start from common assumptions you all agree to. A good philosophy paper outline paper is modest and makes a small point ; but it makes that point clearly and straightforwardly, and it offers good reasons in support of it People very often attempt to accomplish too much in a philosophy paper.

The usual result of this is a paper that's hard to read, philosophy paper outline, and which is full of inadequately defended and poorly explained claims. So don't be over-ambitious. Don't try to establish any earth-shattering conclusions in your page paper. Done properly, philosophy moves at a slow pace.

Originality The aim of these papers is for you to show that you understand the material and that you're able to think critically about it. To do this, your paper does have to show some independent thinking. Philosophy paper outline 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.

There will be plenty of time for that later on. An ideal paper will be clear and straightforward see belowwill be accurate when it attributes views to other philosophers see belowand will contain thoughtful critical responses to the texts we read. It need not always break completely new ground. But you should try to come up with your own arguments, or your own way of elaborating or criticizing or defending some argument we looked at in class.

Merely summarizing what others have said won't be enough. Three Stages of Writing 1. Early Stages The early stages of writing a philosophy paper include everything you do before you sit down and write your first draft. These early stages will involve writingbut you won't yet be trying to write a complete paper.

You should instead be taking notes on the readings, sketching out your ideas, trying to explain the main argument you want to advance, and composing an outline. Discuss the issues with others As I said above, your papers are supposed to demonstrate that you understand philosophy paper outline can think critically about philosophy paper outline material we discuss in class.

One of the best ways to check how well you understand that material is to try to explain it to someone who isn't already familiar with it.

I've discovered time and again while teaching philosophy that I couldn't really explain properly some article or argument I thought I understood. This was because it was really more problematic or complicated than I had realized. You will have this same experience. So it's good to discuss the issues we raise in class with each other, and with friends who aren't taking the class. This will help you understand the issues better, and it will make you recognize what things you still don't fully understand, philosophy paper outline.

It's even more valuable to talk to each other about what you want to argue in your paper. When you have your ideas worked out well enough that you can explain them to someone else, verbally, then you're ready to sit down and start making an outline.

Make an outline Before you begin writing any drafts, you need to think about the questions: In what order should you explain the various terms and positions you'll be discussing? At what point should you present your opponent's position or argument? In what order should you offer your criticisms of your opponent? Do any of the points you're making presuppose that you've already discussed some other point, first? And so on. The overall clarity of your paper will greatly depend on its structure.

That is why it is important to think about these questions before you begin to write. I strongly recommend that you make an outline of your paper, and of the arguments you'll be presenting, before you begin to write. This lets you organize the points you want to make in your paper and get a sense for how they are going to fit together. It also helps ensure that you're in a position to say what your main argument or criticism is, before you sit down to write a full draft of your paper.

When students get stuck writing, it's often because they haven't yet figured philosophy paper outline what they're trying to say. Give your outline your full attention. It should be fairly detailed. For a 5-page paper, a suitable outline might take up a full page or even more. Philosophy paper outline you have a good outline, the rest of the writing process will go much more smoothly. Start Work Early Philosophical problems and philosophical writing philosophy paper outline careful and extended reflection.

Don't wait until two or three nights before the philosophy paper outline is philosophy paper outline to begin. That is very stupid.

Writing a good philosophy paper takes a great deal of preparation. You need to leave yourself enough time to think about the topic and write a detailed outline. Only then should you sit down to write a complete draft, philosophy paper outline.

Once you have a complete draft, you should set it aside for a day or two, philosophy paper outline. Then you should come back to it and rewrite it. Several times. At least 3 or 4. If you can, show it to your friends and get their reactions to it. Do they understand your main point?

Are parts of your draft unclear or confusing to them? All of this takes time. So you should start working on your papers as philosophy paper outline as the paper topics are assigned. Write a Draft Once you've thought about your argument, and written an outline for your paper, then you're ready to sit down and compose a complete draft.

Use simple prose Don't shoot for literary elegance. Use simple, straightforward prose. Keep your sentences and paragraphs short, philosophy paper outline.

Use familiar words. We'll make fun of you if you use big words where simple words will do. These issues are deep and difficult enough without your having to muddy them up with pretentious or verbose language. Don't write using prose you philosophy paper outline use in conversation: if you wouldn't say it, philosophy paper outline, don't write it.

You may think that since your TA and I already know a lot about this subject, you can leave out a lot of basic explanation and write in a super-sophisticated manner, like one expert talking to another, philosophy paper outline. I guarantee you that this will make your paper incomprehensible.

If your paper sounds as if it were written for a third-grade audience, then you've probably achieved the right sort of clarity. In your philosophy classes, you will philosophy paper outline encounter philosophers whose writing is obscure and complicated. Everybody who reads philosophy paper outline writing will find it difficult and frustrating.

The authors in question are philosophically important despite their poor writing, not because of it. So do not try to emulate their writing styles. Make the structure of your paper obvious You should make the structure of your paper obvious to the reader.

Your reader shouldn't have to exert any effort to figure it out. Beat him over the head with it. How can you do this? First of all, use connective words, like: because, philosophy paper outline, since, given this argument thus, therefore, hence, it follows that, consequently nevertheless, however, but in the first case, on the other hand These will help your reader keep track of where your discussion is going.

Be sure you use these words correctly! If you say " P. Thus Q. You had better be right.

 

Home - How to Write a Philosophy Paper - LibGuides at Lebanon Valley College

 

philosophy paper outline

 

Jun 25,  · "A philosophy paper presents a reasoned defense of some thesis. So a philosophy paper typically does at least one of the following: Defend a thesis by offering plausible reasons to support it; Defend a thesis by showing that arguments against it are unconvincing; Criticize a thesis by showing that the arguments for it are unconvincingAuthor: Donna Miller. Writing is an art, but writing a paper on philosophy takes more than just a writing skill. In this type of paper, you have to explain a philosophical concept and support or oppose it with relevant thoughts and points. Read this article for tips on how to write a philosophy paper. turn. Good philosophy proceeds with modest, careful and clear steps. Structuring a Philosophy Paper Philosophy assignments generally ask you to consider some thesis or argument, often a thesis or argument that has been presented by another philosopher (a thesis is argument, you may be asked to do one or more of the.