Philosophy is a discipline that cherishes wisdom and growth. If you want to know how to write a philosophy paper, you are in the right place. Stay tuned and keep on reading.
From the olden time of Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle, all notable figures that remain prominent today, the idea of philosophy has been in full bloom. It is a thought-provoking subject that prompts an individual to break away from the shackles of life and assess it as a spectator.
One wonder of philosophy is the mere fact that it does not claim to provide the answers. Instead, it focuses on finding plausible explanations. Life’s mysteries are far beyond our reach, and with philosophy, one can explore multiple dimensions residing within it.
As dull and as dry as it may sound, inquisitive minds and curious souls look for answers and sign up for this subject to taste the multiple possibilities various philosophical thinkers present. These philosophers left a riveting impact on the world with their ideas and perception, prompting people to think.
Students eager to learn about philosophy and the underlying foundation behind thought have enrolled themselves in this expansive field. As a result, students must meet expectations and write a philosophy paper filled with arguments. It might sound easy, but in a world where questions have loose answers and no good end, a philosophy paper takes a lot of time to understand and tackle.
But fret not, for here we shall tackle the question and find out how to write a philosophy paper. Keep on reading, and you will find your answer.
What does a student do in a philosophy paper?
Other than the famous Socrates and his students, Rene Descartes, Immanuel Kant, and Confucius are some of the many people who have left an impact on the world of philosophy. It is worth noting that they did not just relay these thoughts just as is but conducted extensive research and gave logical ground for their observations.
However, where one might follow the teachings of Plato would also disagree with Aristotle. Such is the mystery of understanding philosophy. The teachings of these philosophers are a wonder as it helps individuals grow and become skeptical. You start to see intricate moments in life and wish to answer the questions that erupt inside your brain.
If you are a philosophy student, chances are you have been tasked with writing a paper in the subject. You might wonder how one can do that. Frankly, it is a question that many people ask about to this day and we have the answer to, what do you write in a philosophy paper?
As far as the initial data is concerned, you do not have to conduct research like in any other field. Philosophy is all about understanding the world around you and the impact it has on your thinking. So what does one write?
In a philosophy paper, a student is asked to give a reasoned defense of any claim made by former philosophers. Because it intricately takes apart elements of philosophy and gives plausible opinions over it, the paper is argumentative in nature. You must provide logical grounds for why you have either sided with or criticize the philosophical concept.
As a student immersed in writing a philosophy paper, you would be expected to either criticize the argument posited in the question or defend it against others’ criticism. While doing so, you must remember that your teacher will focus on the evidence and logical ideas you put forth.
Moreover, you should be able to convince the reader and give them reasons to believe the thesis while also evaluating it. Furthermore, it is extremely important that you present why you posited the claim in the first place. Good background information would make your thesis statement much more believable and plausible.
Lastly, a student writing a philosophy paper should remain original and become an independent thinker. They live a life of wisdom when they practice these problematic but not impossible ideas.
How is a philosophical paper different from a normal essay?
One aspect similar to a philosophical paper and a typical essay is the structure; the introduction, body, and conclusion. These three are eminent parts of any essay. However, the difference lies in its nature as a subject.
Subjects like literature, arts, or issues of sciences and engineering prompt students to explore more. They ask the student to look beyond the horizon and provide a new concept. For instance, a literature student would have to apply theories and understanding of a piece of literature in order to find and establish a new connection.
In philosophy, however, you are expected to draw on a current argument and provide your perception regarding it with logical explanations. This is your argument. You have to either agree with the statement or disagree with proper reasoning.
How to write a philosophy paper?
After we have learned the difference between a philosophical paper and a typical essay, the former is much more complicated and requires extensive research. Thus, writing one requires students to dive deep into the meaning behind the argument and present their own views with evidence.
If you want to learn how to write a philosophy paper, here is a step-by-step guide to making the process easier. With your knowledge and philosophy theories in mind, venture forward to understand the little elements that make a philosophy paper stand out.
Step 1 — Read the question
The first and most important thing you need to do is to read and understand the question your teacher has posed. These questions help form your argument and do half of the job; it enables you to focus on your opinion and find a more stable ground for your view.
Check and see if the question asks you to compare and contrast, outline, evaluate, examine, or other notable terms. These are different in nature and require different responses from the student.
- Outline: When asked to “outline” a specific philosophical understanding, you need to give a brief description or summary of what is asked in the question.
- Analyze: When you are asked to “analyze” something, you need to break down the idea in order to study the underlying essential elements.
- Compare: Give a detailed account of what similarities exist between the two philosophical thoughts posited in the question.
- Compare and contrast: Provide extensive research with apparent similarities and differences between two or more ideologies asked in the question.
- Discuss: Here, you will have to offer a balanced review of what you are required to focus on in the question.
- Evaluate: Evaluating a question, or philosophical question, would require you to present plausible strengths and weaknesses visible with reasoning while also referring to other theories.
- Examine: If a philosophy question asks you to examine something, you need to dive deep into its meaning and give the nitty-gritty details.
Knowing which is essential for you to write a paper that answers the question.
Step 2 — Read and understand
If you are assigned to write a philosophy paper, you would also have been given former material. It can be in the form of notes, lectures, articles, or other videos that relay valuable information. You need to read through each one of them and understand the implications behind them.
Only if you read and grasp its understanding will you be able to write a compelling philosophy paper. Find it in yourself to act and think like a philosopher to answer the question. You want to dive deep and understand what the philosopher is addressing and what are the key ideas or concepts.
When you begin to assess these questions, you would automatically learn the language each philosopher employed, how they are different from the rest, and the significance it has. To better understand what you are reading, make notes and try to take apart each line.
Step 3 — Make an outline
Outlining your philosophy paper is essential as it helps you organize your paper’s structure and content. The thesis, introduction, body, and conclusion are just the basics of any document. You need to design and outline what you wish to write in each section and what significance they play. We will learn more about the outline in the sections ahead.
Step 4 — Make your thesis claim
You are ready to venture forth and start your first writing work, the thesis statement. A thesis claim largely depends on you and how you shape your idea when understanding the text. You may want to specify what you would explore and how you plan to answer the question posited.
Step 5 — Provide extensive information on the theory
As a person who has started to write a philosophical paper, you would have chosen a theory of focus. You must describe every nook and cranny of the theory so that each and every element is assessed. Information like this not only clarifies the concept to the reader but also refreshes the two parties involved: the reader and the writer.
From what the theory is to its strengths and weaknesses, you will provide what criticism it faced and what plausible responses are to these criticisms.
Step 6 — Write the body paragraphs
Writing your body paragraph before your introduction is beneficial, as unconventional as it sounds. This is the center of the whole paper, so it needs to be detailed and written very clearly. In this section, you answer the question, give evidence and plausible counterarguments, and relay strengths and weaknesses.
Similar to other paper writing styles, you need to divide the paper’s body paragraphs when introducing a new idea, concept, or information. In case of an extensive report on the same concept, you would need to divide it into sections for clarity.
It would be best if you wrote the body paragraph first because not only does it strengthen the thesis statement you wrote but also the introduction. In some cases, it might also refine your current thesis claim. Because you are aware of the argument and your stance, the introduction gives a little sneak peek and makes the writing process much more convenient.
Step 7 — Write your introduction
After writing your body paragraphs, you need to start and work on your introduction. You need to ensure you do not overdo it, nor do you want to remove the reader’s attention altogether. It should be balanced, compelling, and evoke the reader’s desire to explore more about your paper.
Your thesis statement and what you hope to uncover are also mentioned in this section. You need to relay information they would later be explored in the body paragraph but not too much to bore them. It should contain details on what is asked, what the philosopher postulated, what you hope to find, how you want to counter the question, and what the conclusion can be.
Step 8 — It is time to conclude
A definite fact is that one can never find a proper and accurate conclusion when writing a philosophy paper. That is because philosophy propels you to think and assess, but the answer cannot be definite. However, a conclusion is necessary because you will surmise your argument.
It may be in favor of the philosopher or against them; either way, it should contain an overview of what was achieved and how. Though you may not be able to provide a definite answer, the goal is to assume a role where you provide an argument. You conclude your opinions and make the reader re-evaluate the whole perception on which the specific philosophy is based.
Step 9 — Revise, proofread, and submit
Look for those spelling mistakes, revise your argument to make sense of your writing, and make another person read it. These are the steps that come before you submit your paper.
You do not want to leave a wrong impression which is why you need to proofread the paper. An easy rule is reading from top to bottom to detect grammatical, sentence structure, and punctuation mistakes. To look for any spelling mistakes, read from bottom to up.
After proofreading the article, revise the concept and read it to yourself aloud to make sense of what you have written and remove any minute mistakes. Lastly, ask someone else to read it. Peer review is a great way to look past your own mistakes.
Sometimes you get tired of reading one thing repeatedly, which is why you might not find any mistakes and would easily be ignored. However, making someone else read it helps you to clarify what you have written and removes any blunders.
What to do when writing a philosophy paper?
We have learned the essence of writing philosophy, answering the how in great detail. But we have not looked at what you need to do. It would help if you did the following things when writing a philosophy paper. These things are integrated before, during, and after the philosophy paper and help you to keep a check on things throughout the writing process.
Keep reading to find out what you need to do when writing your philosophy paper.
Jumpstart your work
Do not prepare and work on your notes a day before writing your paper is due. It takes a long time to read, understand, and extract ideas relevant to your paper and cannot be done a day before the submission date. However, you can get a jumpstart if you cover these details before writing the essay.
Therefore, you must compile all your ideas before you start writing. Once the ideas are all clear and you have envisioned what your paper would look like, you can quickly report on your topic.
You don’t just sit down and write your philosophy paper in one go. It would be best if you went through numerous drafts until you found the perfect fix. You can write as many drafts as you want, but the point is to perfect your writing, context, and argument.
The last thing to do after writing your first, second, and even third draft, is to scavenge for perfection. The process is to re-write until you find the perfect write-up.
Finalizing would mean reading it to yourself, rechecking theories and ideas, and acquiring feedback from your peers. This will help strengthen the argument and remove any issues you might have missed.
Philosophy paper outline and structure
Every paper writing process requires an outline and structure that helps you before and during the writing process. You must lead with your paper using these two components as they reduce the hassle and make the writing process much easier.
A refined structure not only helps you to write but also keeps the reader hooked. Here is how you need to structure to write your philosophy paper.
- Write your introduction: Include a riveting hook statement and a thesis statement which is extremely significant and cannot be ignored, refer to the question, and establish your stance.
- Body paragraphs: Refer to the theory, define its aspects, provide your argument, and anticipate the objections you will refute further. After one section where one theory aspect is answered, move to the next point and continue the process.
- Conclude: Summarize, briefly explain your stance, and close the paper.
Your body paragraph is the essence of your paper. However, you need to be able to locate what you need to write and in what order. Will you explain the theories and then present your argument, or will you explain each idea with a statement.
Writing the introduction
It would be best if you outlined what you want to write in the introduction of your philosophy paper. This includes the aspects you want to cover refer to the question the teacher posed. Moreover, it would help if you wrote what you aim to do, how you hope to achieve the answer and gave a glimpse of your argument.
Introduce more information
In the introduction section, you can also provide information about the background of the theory or philosopher’s ideology to the reader. This can help refresh your mind and give the reader valuable information on basics before your start.
You can define the terms highlighted in the question or the terms you will utilize further in the paper to present your argument. Moreover, you need to take the question apart in order to explain the underlying details as well as help you understand what you need to do to write a perfectly composed paper.
Time to argue
You need to present your argument and promise an appealing paper when outlining your essay. You need to submit your reason while taking support from ideas from other philosophers. Chances are, you will find others objecting to your claim. In that scenario, you need to prepare and anticipate any future objection, counter and provide plausible reasoning, and start presenting your following argument.
How do you format a philosophy research paper?
There is a specific philosophy paper format you need to follow. The layout makes your arguments plausible, credible, and more believable. When we talk about format, it includes the reference you choose and the citation style as well.
Prominent citation and reference styles include APA, MLA, and Chicago styles. You can use it when writing your philosophical paper. Although each one of them has a different reference and in-text citation style, the goal is to provide plausible and believable arguments.
Strategies when writing a philosophy paper
We have carefully assessed how to write a philosophy paper and will now look at the strategies you can employ to write a perfect and riveting philosophy paper.
Read and study
You need to read, study, and prepare for your philosophy paper in order to present the perfect argument. This will help you perfect the art and make the writing process extremely easy. You must make sure you take your time reading through these notes and find the perfect fit for your argument.
Understand your audience
Make sure you write a philosophy paper that attracts your audience. You want to be able to hook them into your essay and make it easy to understand, as well as motivate them to read the article.
Make the outline
An outline will make the writing process much easier because you will know what to add and when. This clarifies the paper’s overall structure and the basis of your argument from start to finish while also helping the reader remain consistent too.
How is a philosophy paper graded?
Because a philosophy paper does not require you to conduct an experiment and draw a hypothesis, you are graded on your understanding of the theory and your argument.
The teacher would focus on how well you understand the issue and question, how logical and plausible your arguments are, and if the writing is clear. It does not matter whether the teacher agrees or not, and the idea is to present logical reasoning.
Here is what you need to do:
- State what you wish to accomplish in your paper, including your thesis paper.
- Make sure the reader understands the thesis statement clearly.
- Support your argument.
- Provide a clear and understandable structure.
- Write in simple English and check your grammar.
What not to do when writing a philosophy paper?
Where certain things are imperative when you are writing your philosophy paper, you need to refrain from other miscellaneous things. Here is what you do not need to do at all, regardless of how tempting it may seem:
Do not write a lengthy introduction
When introducing a new topic, we all love to add some flair and embellishments to make it enjoyable. But in a philosophy paper, that is a big fat no. Your introduction should be precise, concise, and easy to read. It should contain the main details and provide information that is not lengthy. You need to insert the thesis statement, the hook sentence, the nature of your paper, and what you hope to find and how.
Leave the rest of the details for the body paragraphs. Your body paragraphs should contain all the details and information. Several paragraphs should be dedicated to include a detailed account of the theory and your argument and provide reasoning for future objections to the discussion.
Do not fill your paper with quotations
A quote can make your paper plausible, reliable, and credible. However, the overflow of quotations in your report can become a distracting detour that would deflect the project’s real purpose.
Use small, referenced quotes to back up your claim instead. Not only does it leave a remarkable impression, but it also makes the reading process fun.
Do not overcomplicate the concept
When explaining your concept in the philosophical paper, you need to mention the theories that are related to your argument. Your job is to simplify the concept so that it is easy to understand and does not complicate the overall theme of the paper. Adding complicated words to explain the theory or adding ideas that are not relevant to the topic can complicate the philosophy paper.
Do not diverge from the topic or question
Make sure you read the question, and your answer resonates with it. Going off track not only distracts the reader but also confuses them. If it does not fit the overall narrative or if you are unable to further build on it, the effort would be futile.
When preparing to write a philosophy paper, one might be wondering how to write a philosophy paper. This paper is different from your typical paper. However, realizing that you can quickly move forward with the topic is essential once you know the differences. If you want to know the nitty gritty that goes into writing a philosophy paper, you have come to the right place.