Tips to Writing Philosophy


Basic Rubric

Introduction of Thesis Statement

Explanation of Thesis Statement

Support the Thesis Statement

counter arguments of Thesis Statement

exposition (prove why your thesis is right. This is where the Philosophy happens)

1. Say what you are going to do in the introduction! Be explicit. A good introduction doesn’t need to be an entire dialectic or discussion. It is alright to simply start your essay in the following mold (This is also your thesis statement):

In this essay I will discuss soandso’s theory of “X”. First, I will offer an explanation for “X”, next I will examine counter-arguments against “X”, and finally I will argue for why “X” fails/succeeds in light of those counter arguments.

> KEEP IT SIMPLE. Philosophy is jumbled, confusing, and altogether difficult to understand. Only cover as much ground as you can sufficiently defend.

2. Be terse with rhetorical questions! One or two rhetorical questions are fine, but do not rely on them for arguments. For example:

I don’t think there exists any perfect theory of art. How would such a theory deal with new genres of art? What would such a theory look like? Who could employ such a theory? etc…

3. Philosophers aren’t always right! It is okay to completely disagree with their ideas or how they structure their arguments…. As long as you remember to offer your own arguments for why you think they are wrong! “I think soandso is wrong because I believe them to be wrong” is not an argument.

4. Your exposition is the final part of your paper and is where you do the “Philosophy” part of your paper. You want to have outlined the general idea of the paper before you begin writing your thoughts on the matter (see the introduction). It is difficult to explain something when it isn’t made clear what the motivation is. This is where its time to offer some original ideas which aren’t present in the explanation.

5. Read back to yourself.