Basic Rules to Write the Best Philosophy Essay

Writing philosophy papers is a bit different from other academic assignments. In a philosophy essay, students need to give their explanations of certain philosophical concepts and either refute or support them. This task requires your full understanding of these concepts and it’s also necessary to do some philosophy of your own to reflect them successfully. Although this essay seems challenging to students, you can easily write it with some hard work and careful planning.

The Main Purposes Served by This Paper

Any philosophy paper should consist of a reasoned defense of a particular claim. It must offer some strong argument, so this essay can’t be a mere report of your point of view or the opinions of famous philosophers. It’s necessary to defend the claim that you make in it and offer clear reasons to believe it. There are many things that this piece of writing can accomplish. Usually, it starts with putting some argument or thesis statement for its further consideration before doing the following:

  • Criticizing a central idea or showing that specific arguments for a thesis aren’t good;
  • Defending a thesis or an argument against the criticism of other people;
  • Offering counter-examples and reasons to believe your statement;
  • Contrasting the weaknesses and strengths of opposing views about it;
  • Arguing that some philosophers are committed to a thesis by their personal views, although they don’t come out to endorse it explicitly;
  • Giving examples to explain a central idea or make it more plausible;
  • Revising a thesis after considering some objection;
  • Discussing the consequences that it may have.

Important Considerations When Writing It

No matter what purposes you set for your philosophy papers, it’s necessary to explicitly present strong reasons for the claim you make. Some students make a big mistake because they think that their claims don’t need any argument if it’s clear to them that they’re true. However, it’s quite simple to overestimate the strengths of your stance, so you need to assume that readers are not ready to accept this position. That’s why a philosophy essay should be treated as your attempt to persuade them. Don’t start it with the assumptions that opponents will reject. If you have a chance to persuade other people, start this paper with some common assumptions that everyone will agree with.
A good essay of this type should be modest and make a small point, but this task must be completed straightforwardly and clearly, so offer strong reasons to support your claim. Many students tend to accomplish too much in their philosophy papers, thus making them hard to read. They end up with the assignments that are full of poorly explained and inadequately defended claims. Avoid being over-ambitious instead of moving at a slow pace.

The Importance of Essay Originality

The aim of any philosophy paper is to show that you understand given materials and can think critically about a topic. To achieve this goal, your essay must show some independent thinking. It doesn’t mean that you need to come up with your personal theories or make original contributions to human thinking. A perfect philosophy papers should be straightforward, accurate, and clear when attributing to the opinions of other philosophers. It also has to contain your thoughtful critical responses to the texts you read, so this essay shouldn’t necessarily break completely new grounds. Try to offer your personal arguments and ways of criticizing, elaborating, and defending ideas because just summarizing the words of other people is not enough.

How to Plan Philosophy Papers Effectively

  1. Give yourself enough time because this assignment takes careful planning and time, rational thinking and skillful arguments. Ensure that you start completing it as soon as you can. Write down interesting ideas and use spare time to decide what you will explore in your essay.
  2. Read many relevant materials. Before you start developing any ideas on paper, read reliable sources to get a solid understanding of the philosophy concepts covered in readings and create an effective essay. Otherwise, your personal explanations of philosophy will be flawed.
  3. Understand all assignment prompts. Get a clear idea of what your teachers ask you to do and ask for their clarifications if something is unclear.
  4. Think about your targeted audience as you plan a philosophy essay because some readers may have their understanding of the chosen subjects, while others are newcomers. So, if you introduce special concepts or terms, define them for other people.
  5. Select textual references. Use quotes from the text when needed because the main goal of philosophy papers is evaluating and explaining arguments or concepts in your own words. Don’t rely too much on paraphrased passages and quotes taken from relevant sources. Give citations for each one to avoid plagiarism.

Outlining and Developing a Thesis

All successful philosophy papers require a strong thesis statement. This is how students state their position, but it’s necessary to stay focused on it and support it. Your thesis must not only state your opinion, but it also needs to explain why you hold a particular position. Be sure to write it in the end of your essay introduction.

Outline your essay because this brief plan can help you stay on the right track while writing it. Another benefit is that your outline ensures that you include everything necessary, but make it as simple as possible. A successful essay outline should include the following elements:

  • A strong thesis statement;
  • Interesting ideas for the introduction;
  • The main points of your personal explanation;
  • Logical ideas or the essay conclusion;
  • The main points of your evaluation in addition to supporting proofs;
  • Possible objections and their refutations.

The Basics of Drafting Good Philosophy Papers

Write this essay how you speak because overly complex and flowery words won’t help you to appear more knowledgeable in this field. Write in your voice and use your direct and simple language to get all points across. Avoid padding this piece of writing with extra words because they will only make it difficult for readers to understand your point. Check new terms before using them to understand their meaning correctly.

How to Explain Your Argument Clearly

Introduce your essay with enough relevant details. Its introductory paragraph is important because it provides the audience with the first impression. Besides, it’s your great chance to catch their attention and offer a good preview of your main argument, so use this section wisely.

Explain your philosophical argument or concept that will be either supported or refuted in the main body. Be sure to present all the ideas of other philosophers in an objective and clear manner. Don’t leave out or add anything that may offer an extra advantage. Stick to the most relevant details of your argument and avoid explaining the things that you don’t plan to argue in your philosophy essay.

Tips to Support and Conclude

Once you give a clear explanation of specific philosophy concepts or ideas, move on to your evaluation to support a thesis. Don’t go back and forth between different positions and avoid contradicting yourself. Use interesting examples from your personal experiences and stick to the chosen position.

Anticipate possible objections to your argument because successful philosophy papers must refute and acknowledge them. Determine the strongest ones and develop your personal responses to them. Conclude this essay in some meaningful manner. Its concluding paragraph is essential because it offers a great opportunity to clarify, sum up, and emphasize key parts. Conclude your assignment in a way that helps readers see its significance and relevance.

Why Students Need to Revise Philosophy Papers

Put your essay aside for a couple of days because revising it becomes easier after a break. When you return to it, you get a fresh perspective to improve the entire content. Read your paper with a focus on its clarity and content because proofreading is not only about fixing grammar errors and typos, but this process also involves making the necessary additions, changes, deletions, etc.

Ask others to read your paper to improve its content and flow. Look for someone who isn’t too familiar with philosophy concepts to get more helpful suggestions. Finally, polish this essay with editing, so check for mistakes and correct them at once because they will only distract your readers and compromise future grades.