Short Philosophy Essays

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As I said above, your papers are supposed to demonstrate that you understand and can think critically about the material we discuss in class.That is why it is important to think about these questions before you begin to write. However, this objection does not succeed, for the following reason...I strongly recommend that you make an outline of your paper, and of the arguments you'll be presenting, before you begin to write. Isn't it easy to see what the structure of these papers is? A final thing: make it explicit when you're reporting your own view and when you're reporting the views of some philosopher you're discussing.When students get stuck writing, it's often because they haven't yet figured out what they're trying to say. If you have a good outline, the rest of the writing process will go much more smoothly. These demands might seem to pull in opposite directions.Philosophical problems and philosophical writing require careful and extended reflection. We'll make fun of you if you use big words where simple words will do. (It's as if the first said "Don't talk too much," and the second said "Talk a lot.") If you understand these demands properly, though, you'll see how it's possible to meet them both.It's even more valuable to talk to each other about what you want to argue in your paper.When you have your ideas worked out well enough that you can explain them to someone else, verbally, then you're ready to sit down and start making an outline.One of the best ways to check how well you understand that material is to try to explain it to someone who isn't already familiar with it.I've discovered time and again while teaching philosophy that I couldn't really explain properly some article or argument I thought I understood.Don't wait until two or three nights before the paper is due to begin. Writing a good philosophy paper takes a great deal of preparation. These issues are deep and difficult enough without your having to muddy them up with pretentious or verbose language. Another way that X might respond to my arguments is by claiming that... So we have seen that none of X's replies to my argument that not-P succeed. We tell you to be concise because we don't want you to ramble on about everything you know about a given topic, trying to show how learned and intelligent you are.You need to leave yourself enough time to think about the topic and write a detailed outline. If you can, show it to your friends and get their reactions to it. Are parts of your draft unclear or confusing to them? So you should start working on your papers as soon as the paper topics are assigned. Don't write using prose you wouldn't use in conversation: if you wouldn't say it, don't write it. Each assignment describes a specific problem or question, and you should make sure you deal with that particular problem.

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