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Writing Philosophy Papers

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by

Seth Robertson

on 10 April 2014

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Transcript of Writing Philosophy Papers

Style
Good philosophy papers have:
a simple writing style - not like poetry.
an emphasis on argument - not a book report.
only absolutely neccessary background information - intended audience is a person who read the same text two years ago
roughly 80% argument / argument, 20% background information
No sentences that are vague or mysterious.
References
Be especially careful doing research for this paper. There are lots of untrustworthy resources on Asian philosophy. If you aren't sure about the quality of a potential resource, ask!
Thesis Statements
Samples:
"In this essay, I will argue that non-naturalistic or supernaturalistic interpretations of Confucius's political philosophy in the Analects fail to capture important, eminently practical, and thoroughly naturalistic aspects of Confucius's advice for rulers."

"I will discuss several potential worries for Street’s argument that heavy evolutionary influence on our moral belief and reasoning systems drastically undermines the justification for believing in moral realism"

"In my essay, I will argue that the theory of miraculous freedom is in fact incompatible with some of Leibniz’s philosophical commitments, which might explain why the theory does not seem to appear prominently in his other writings."
Structure
Introduction
Support 1
Support 2
Support 3
Counter-argument
Response
Counter-argument
Response
....
Conclusion
Writing Philosophy Papers
Introduction
Incorrect thesis 1
Diagnosis
Incorrect thesis 2
Diagnosis
Incorrect thesis 3
Diagnosis
Conclusion
Assignment:
1. Find a partner.
2. Trade papers.
3. Take turns reading your partner's opening paragraph out loud to your partner. Listen for clunky or unclear sentences.
4. Fill out the worksheet. Don't forget to write both your name and your partner's name!
Full transcript