Guidelines on Writing a Philosophy Paper

The standards for writing a good philosophy paper are like those for anyscholarly writing. The writer should discuss the issues or ideas that formthe subject matter of the paper in an orderly manner, omit needless redundancyand material irrelevant to the central issues of the paper, and providefootnote citations and quotations wherever necessary to support the viewsexpressed in the paper. If you are writing on a topic of your own choice,you will want to choose a topic that can be addressed adequately in thenumber of pages allotted, and develop a strategy for discussing the topicin a lucid manner. If the question you are writing on is assigned therewill be no need to search for an appropriate topic, but you will stillneed to decide upon the best strategy for addressing the issues involved.

A sarcastic essay on how not to write a philosophy paper by Professor James Lenman at the University of Sheffield in England.

There is, alas, no good recipe or formula for writing a philosophy paper. This makes it, for me, the hardest part of philosophy to teach. But over the years I’ve developed the following list of guidelines, which may answer some of your questions and save you from some common mistakes. From time to time I run across similar documents that other philosophers have put together, and some of them are well worth a look. The best I’ve seen is the one by James Pryor (); I also recommend the one by Diana Fleming (). Finally, believe it or not, there have been at least four books written about writing philosophy papers. I have copies of these books (one copy of each book), and I’m happy to lend them out upon request. (Just come by my office and ask.)

How to Write a Philosophy Paper (for Beginners): 11 Steps

How to Write a Philosophy Paper (for Beginners) There is no 'recipe' for writing a good philosophy paper. It canbe done in many different ways, since, as we noted above, it islargely a creative exercise in critical thinking. In spite of myhesitation about giving out a formula, it might be helpful toconsider one possible structure that your paper might take:

Tips on Writing a Philosophy Paper

So the objective of writing a philosophy paper is to put forward someparticular claim or argument for consideration. Now what do you do?You should take up at least one or two of the following strategies.(I owe this list to James Pryor's wonderful page .):

How to Write a Philosophy Paper - Rowan University


Writing a philosophy paper – whether for university study or for publication – requires studious attention to detail. But if you like argument, it can be enjoyable and fun. Here are some suggestions to guide your efforts when compiling a philosophy paper.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 the writing process will go much more smoothly. Philosophical writing is different from the writing you'll be asked to do in other courses. Most of the strategies described below will also serve you well when writing for other courses, but don't automatically assume that they all will. Nor should you assume that every writing guideline you've been given by other teachers is important when you're writing a philosophy paper. Some of those guidelines are routinely violated in good philosophical prose (e.g., see the , below). Be careful about definitions. Rather than breaking out Webster’s Dictionary, concentrate on the definitions the philosophers you are reading have carefully constructed for the terms they are using. Defining terms is an important part of all philosophical work, and part of your job in writing a philosophy paper will often be thinking about how different people have defined a term.