How to Write a Philosophy Paper
Many scientists believe that philosophy is the mother of all sciences. Ordinary people often underestimate the role of philosophy in our life, but we know that it is much bigger than they think, that is why writing such a paper is a great possibility to discover interesting facts, go deep into the research, and change your point of view at different things.
- 1 How to Write a Philosophy Paper
- 1.1 The Type of Paper
- 1.2 Find and Read
- 1.3 Consider Your Audience
- 1.4 Create a Thesis
- 1.5 Outline the Paper
- 1.6 Draft Your Paper
- 1.7 Introduce the Paper to Your Readers
- 1.8 Provide the Facts
- 1.9 Write the Conclusion
- 1.10 Revising a Philosophy Paper
- 1.11 What to Do when Writing a Philosophy Essay
- 1.12 What not to Do
- 1.13 Philosophy Paper Topic Examples
The Type of Paper
The process of writing depends on the needed type of paper. If it should be an essay, then you must know whether it's a narrative, persuasive, or another kind of essay. If it's a term paper, ask your instructor or another responsible person about the required size and other guidelines for it. Look at your assignment and consider what parts of it you don't understand, ask your teacher to explain them to you and make sure you have the complete understanding of your task before doing it.
Find and Read
Do a research on your topic by reading and watching different sources. You can find many of them online, and if you still have a lack of sources, you can also find them in public libraries and university offline databases.
Write down the name of every source that you think is useful. It will help you to find it when it will be needed and add to the references lists, that is why you should write down not only the names of books but also the numbers of pages where you found interesting information.
Not all found sources are worth reading. Pay attention only to reliable books and articles, that are connected with your topic, they should contain the text or figures that can be used in your paper.
When you are looking for sources, it develops your skills of searching the information. This task is not very simple but if you have experience in using search engines, you will find everything you need for your content.
Except for books, you can also ask other people for their thoughts. Listen to their opinions, ask them questions to which you want to get answers, and write down what they think about your topic, make a questionnaire if needed.
You should also develop your skills of checking facts. There is a lot of unreliable information online and students tend to use it in their academic paper, this is a bad practice and you should check everything you read before you consider that it's true.
You shouldn't look only for books, because there are many different sources. Look for movies, short films, newspaper articles, and online pages that can be useful in your document. To use them, you just need to know the rules of formatting such sources in references.
Consider Your Audience
There are many groups of people that have different interests, the point of view, and social and political views. There are also people of different age, gender, and profession. You can't try to reach all of them by your paper, only the selected people.
If you are writing about the popular culture, and your audience is older people, they may not get a bigger part of it. Provide them explanations even if it's obvious to you. Do the same for the young audience - if your readers are students, they may not have the necessary background and experience and they need your guidance.
Figure out what is the knowledge of your readers. If your audience is very young, don't use too complex definitions and provide more information that would describe complex philosophy terms. If your readers are experts in philosophy, you shouldn't add obvious definitions or explanations, but focus only on the key ideas of your paper.
Create a Thesis
Everything you write in your paper is built around your thesis paragraph. It is the central part of the beginning of your paper. It also represents your opinion, gives your readers the understanding of your objectives, and lets them get what your position about the topic is.
You can find many tips on how to write this sentence, especially if you have to write a big paper. If you develop the thesis well, it will be easier to work with any other part of your document.
Outline the Paper
Make the structure of your document clearer, consider which sections it should include and how big each section would be. Find a place for the introduction, abstract, explanation and evaluation, objections and refutations, and the conclusion. The number and order of sections depend on the type of your paper, that is why you should read guidelines before making the outline for the big document.
Draft Your Paper
Write a draft for each section of the document. You shouldn't spend much time on grammar or logical flow of words, just write as you speak. After you finish drafting, you will be able to revise your work and rewrite it in a more formal style.
Introduce the Paper to Your Readers
When people start reading your essay, they don't completely understand what it is about. They need your help to get the purpose of this document, the history of its writing, and its significance for the science. If you introduce your paper well, they will keep reading to find something interesting on the pages of the document.
Explain yourself fully. Even if you have developed a clear topic and argument to it, people may not fully understand what you mean, make it clear by providing an explanation to them, giving them examples, and providing with the necessary information on what you are trying to prove, if they need it.
Provide the Facts
By using your list of sources, provide the most significant facts to support your thesis. If there are several ideas around your central point, you should create a section for each of these ideas.
Use all types of information if possible, including text and figures, pictures and tables, each fragment that you copy from sources should be formatted as a citation or quotation. The name of the original book has to be mentioned in the references lists. Doublecheck your facts before using facts to support your position. Unreliable and fake arguments are not accepted in the scientific community and it is not a good idea to use them in your document.
Think about counterarguments. If you will have a discussion with your opponents, they may have a lot of arguments against your position, and if you are writing a paper about your opinion, you should be ready to anticipate objections.
Write the Conclusion
Provide your readers with the summary of your work. Highlight the most significant ideas of it, and show their connection with the argument you provided at the beginning of your document, the good conclusion doesn't repeat all the content from previous parts of your paper but retells it originally.
Revising a Philosophy Paper
There are a few things you should do after completing your essay. Start with checking the grammar and punctuation by using the special software. Programs can do mistakes so you should read the essay several times even when it is checked by the software.
You should also check your paper for plagiarism. If there are fragments from other academic papers, provide citations and quotations to them, and make sure that you didn't do it wrong so your paper is not a copy of another document published online.
You need to check if your essay contains any logical errors — look at its formatting, logical flow, the page numbering. Look also in other places where you can find mistakes. The revision will help you increasing the quality of your paper and getting a good grade for it.
What to Do when Writing a Philosophy Essay
Develop a good writing style that is relevant to this type of essay. You should try to make your style concise and simple, with short sentences and paragraphs. Don't use too wordy sentences just to increase the number of words or make it seem more significant.
Clarity should be your goal when writing. In a philosophy paper, there could be many definitions that are not clear for most of the readers. By explaining them, you make your work much more understandable for readers and don't let them spend minutes or hours on considering what you wanted to say by your essay.
Read examples of similar documents. Find them online, look at how their authors organize ideas and work with arguments - it is the good practice even if the other works you read are not connected with your topic.
Provide references in all places where they are needed. If you write about books written by a philosopher, politician, or another person, you should help your readers find and read this book if possible. You can read more about making references and formatting them if you look for this information online.
Be original in your writing. It is your way to get a higher grade for your work, avoid plagiarism, and develop your writing skills. It is recommended to use a unique topic and your personal approach to analysis.
What not to Do
Don't provide too many different ideas and arguments. It would be hard for your readers to concentrate on all of them, so they will stick only to a few of these ideas, and you should consider which arguments to use in your document and then write the paragraphs.
Don't mess with your requirements. If there is a limited amount of words, you don't have to write more even if you have something to write, that is why you should work on planning your outline before writing the main content.
Don't provide definitions of the key terms that are clear for most of the readers. If they do not have this knowledge, they can gain it quickly by using a dictionary or special websites, you should give explanations if you have to use rare and not obvious terms.
Philosophy Paper Topic Examples
- How people saw the Justice in the Middle Ages and how it differs from the modern definition of justice?
- The disadvantages of democracy and how we can reduce them.
- How did ethical and religious aspects of abortion influence the behavior of your mothers in the 20th century?
- Is selfishness actually a good manner that leads to our evolution?
- Can a person alter their behavior in a short period on time if they want it?
- Human behavior is determined by genes much more than by advice from the parents.
- Although there are many churches, there is no religion in our world that is true and the religion can be different for each person.
- How the ethics of immigrants merge with the ethics of the residents of the country?
- The role of Cargo Cult in modern popular culture and do developed countries also have their cargo cults.
- How did feminist views change during the last 10 years?
- Is Greek philosophy still worth studying?