How to Write a Good Philosophy Paper
Last Updated: 10 September 2019
A philosophy essay, research paper, or term paper deviates from the typical approach used in other subjects. Mainly, philosophy essays are not mere exercises to express yourself self; neither are they a research paper. Instead of just reporting or echoing what scholars have to say on an issue, it needs some reasoned, critical, and analytical defense of the thesis statement.
You understand by now that philosophy is the art of stating the obvious truth. It is a discipline that, in its entirety acknowledges, states, and embraces the beliefs held to make life meaningful. As a philosophy scholar, you are required to test whether the fundamental assumptions are either reasonable, true, or whether a revision is required. Under it, you will deal with branches such as ethics, metaphysics, epistemology, logic, aesthetics, and political philosophy, you name it.
If you think writing a philosophy essay is tough, this guide on how to write a good philosophy paper will do you justice.
It suffices to say that writing a philosophy paper is difficult. Instead of just approaching a philosophy paper with an open mind, you are supposed to come up with an argument, support it, and ensure the message is clear.
Even with the detailed instructions from a tutor on how to write a philosophy essay, this simplified version of a guide is all you need to write an A grade philosophy paper. To put it better, this is a guide on how to write a philosophy paper for dummies. Grab some water or coffee and let’s dive in already!
Beginning a Philosophy Paper
- Choosing the topic. One of the first philosophy essay writing or philosophy research paper writing steps is to select a topic. You can quickly get the topic or an idea of it by reading the philosophy essay prompt. It is by far the first step in writing a good philosophy paper.
- Creating an outline. Having chosen the topic, of course, through research, the next step is to create an outline for your paper. In the outline, identify some of the major arguments, topic sentences, thesis statement, essay hook, and concluding remarks. Outlines help you to organize ideas from the introduction to the conclusion. Include all the objections, oppositions, and supporting facts for or against the thesis.
- Write your strong thesis. Having identified the thesis in the outline. You can polish it based on research. A strong thesis makes a research paper or essay worth reading. The thesis comes as either a sentence or two sentences towards the end of the introduction paragraph.
- Write the body paragraphs. Based on your outline, fill in the body paragraphs. When writing the body, you should use both exposition and evaluation. When using exposition, you should explain the accepted view on an issue at hand. Then when evaluating, you can use thoughts from other scholars to make a presentation on some philosophical thoughts or ideologies. If there is an unfamiliar term, define it, and cite appropriately. Never use any quotes or a series of them strung together as that will be a weak paper. Instead, use textual references. You also need to consider the counterarguments and your personal arguments. As a rule, every paragraph in your philosophy research paper or essay should have only one idea. Organize the paragraphs such that they have a topic sentence, supporting facts, and closing sentence as well as a transition to the next paragraph.
Things to remember when writing a Philosophy Paper Introduction
- Always ensure that your introduction is packed. Avoid using very general and archaic opening statements. An example of a poor introduction, “John Locke is considered among the world’s greatest philosophers ever lived…”
- Express what your paper is about through a strong central thesis. It is the conduit that supplies freshness into your essay and invites the readers. Ensure you have a superior intro where you don’t just list what you will cover in the essay.
- You can always write the introduction after you are done with the main body of your philosophy paper. Then you will have had a good idea of what your major argument in the paper is.
- Always read the relevant texts and instructions and avoid abstractions.
For more information, take Michael O’Connor’s advice on writing a philosophy essay and let it be your rule book.
Also, check out the MIT guide on writing a philosophy paper.
You can also read the philosophy critical analysis paper example, from the Harvard guide on writing a philosophy paper.
Jim Pryor's Guide on structuring and writing a great philosophy paper is another resource you need to read.
The Do’s and Don’ts when writing a Philosophy Essay
Here are some things to do or avoid when writing a philosophy paper:
- Avoid writing lengthy and baseless introductions. Philosophy essays and research papers alike need you to go direct to the point.
- Do not use lengthy quotations in your text. When writing, unless your professor wants some direct quotes, use a paraphrased version, and cite.
- Support all your arguments with facts and evidence from philosophy scholars. It would help to have great scholarly sources.
- Good philosophical writing is careful not to use exaggerated vocabularies. Sometimes, simple is sophisticated and informative. So, when arguing your points go straight to the point.
- When arguing against other thoughts, ideas, and arguments, be very witty not to discard them. Instead, use evidence to show why such could be wrong.
- Do not begin your paper with a general opening statement.
- Don’t summarize all your thoughts in conclusion. Instead, be very critical.
- Avoid making hedged claims and making an empty prediction.
- Evaluate a philosophical theory critically.
- Use accurate exposition through your paper.
- Have a logical flow of ideas.
How to Critically Evaluate a Philosophical Theory
When writing about a philosophical theory either in a 100-word essay or in a 2500-word or 2000-word paper, there is always a catch. Instead of just defining and writing flat on it, here is what you should do:
- Explore the philosopher who coined the theory.
- Investigate some strengths of the theory by the philosopher.
- Evaluate the thoughts by the philosopher that support the theory and those that are unclear.
- Consider the criticisms of the theory and their bases.
- Evaluate how the philosopher addressed the criticisms and what arguments they used.
- If it is a comparison of two or more theories, be sure to indicate which theory is superior in your thesis.
- Use parenthetical in-text citation format.
And that is how to write a good philosophy paper. The same applies to essays.
Great Philosophy Topics for Essays and Research Papers
Here is a list of great philosophy topics for your research paper or essays. You can choose one and write the best philosophy essay.
- Regulation of birth control by the government
- Funding for scientific research by the government
- How Darwin influenced Hitler’s political philosophy
- Is virtual reality dangerous?
- The potential end of humanity in the age of technological advancement
- Decalcifying the Pineal Gland
- A comparison of ancient and contemporary philosophers
- Violence exposure of kids through cartoons and programs
- The concept of Islam and Terrorism
- Great reasons to believe God exists?
- Is there life after death?
- Discussing illusion versus reality
- Deconstructing the concept of happiness through the lenses of different philosophers
- Describe postmodernism in philosophy
- An ideal country and government
- Free will and religion
- Are wars justice?
- The source of Aids pandemic
- The big pharma and the pharmaceutical industry
- Application of moral theory in today’s life
- Aristotle and friendship
- Moral theory and contemporary problems
- The concept of compatibilism
- Is communism philosophy dead?
- A critique of pure reason
- The philosophy behind the Dodd-Frank Act and conflict minerals
- Is there good without God?
- Exploring Immanuel Kant’s Ideology on Enlightenment to humanity
- The Geneva Convention research paper
- Humanitarianism and Global Conflicts
- Understanding the Feudal system
- Explaining Feudalism in the Middle Ages
- Hedonists and hedonism
- International humanitarian laws
- Kant on ethics and utilitarianism
- Is there a just war?
- Exploring Max Weber’s ideology on bureaucracy
- Philosophy of Christianity
- Philosophy of Religion
- Philosophy school of thought
- Plato’s apology
- The Republic by Plato
- Socrates on Trial
- Subjective Idealism
- Technological Determinism
- The Western school of thought
- Right-wing and left-wing politics
- Immigration issues in Europe and America
- What is beauty?
- Subjective and transcendental idealism
- Philosophy of Thomas Aquinas
- Stoicism and Peaceful living
- Chinese philosophy
- Socratic confession of ignorance
- Social philosophy
- Realism in arts
- Pluralist theory and control over populations
- Evaluate Smith’s argument for the claim
- that people lack free will
- Plato and justice
- Kripke’s Paradox
- John Muir and conservation of the wilderness
- Infallibility of knowledge
- Ethical theories and decision making
- Discourse analysis in political philosophy
- Aristotle on Happiness and Friendship
- Morals, beliefs, and values
Notable Philosophers and Works
- What is America? By Hector Crevecoeur
- Thoreau’s Walden by Henry D. Thoreau
- Discussing Symposium
- Two Treatises of Government by John Locke
- The Social Contract
- The Republic by Plato
- Machiavelli’s Art of War
- Meaning and Sense by Emmanuel Levana’s
- Discourse on the Origin of Inequality
- Allegory of the Cave
- The Analects and Apology
- On the Soul
- On the Nature of Things
- On the Commonwealth
- Letters from a Stoic
- The City of God
- The Book of Healing
- The Praise of Folly
- Passions of the Soul
- The order of things
- Difference and Repetition
- Discipline and Punish
The list is ideally endless.
Frequently Asked Questions on Philosophy Paper Writing
What are good topics for philosophy papers? To get a good topic, you must read the assignment prompt. In addition, you can always get ideas for your philosophy papers by researching online. Also, use your class text or ask your tutor/professor.
Are titles relevant in philosophy papers? Yes, your philosophy research papers and essays have creative, succinct, and concise titles. The title comes to the essay cover page or the research paper title page.
Do philosophy papers need a thesis statement? Of course, having a strong thesis is obligatory in philosophy papers. The thesis comes at the end of your introductory paragraph and is best developed before writing the first draft. It precedes the topic, and you need to have it in the outline.
Does philosophy papers have references? Yes, like any other paper, you must use strong, credible, and scholarly sources to defend your ideas. Most philosophy papers are written in MLA and Chicago. In the case of the two, just follow the respective guidelines in writing academic papers (Owl Purdue)
How do I write a conclusion of a philosophy essay? Always ensure that your philosophy paper has a good conclusion. Avoid clichés and understand than when writing a philosophical essay, some issues can go unresolved. So, you have to defend your opinion. Here is a sample conclusion: “As Socrates’ discussion with the slave suggests, it is plausible to suppose that someone can discover, without being taught, a geometrical claim that they did not already know. However, as I have argued, we cannot generalize from the case of geometrical knowledge to knowledge of other sorts of facts. Thus, Socrates fails to provide an adequate reason to believe his claim that all learning is recollection.” By Professor Amy Kind
Is there a particular structure for a philosophy paper? Yes, a philosophy essay or research paper follow the structure below:
- Title/cover page. Your research paper title page or essay cover page. It can be in MLA, APA, Harvard, Chicago, or Turabian. It enlists the details of the paper, including personal details, title, topic, and date of submission.
- A unique set of sentences to invite the reader to read your essay. Always use a critical approach and avoid general opening sentences. Use facts, instead.
- Thesis statement. The main idea of your essay, which you will support with facts in the body paragraphs.
- The body. This section consists of supporting facts and ideas. You can also have objections and counters. Objections are the blood that keeps your philosophical thesis alive. The counters are used in your defense to refute the objections.
- Have a philosophy essay with a well-written conclusion. Re-invent the thesis, summarize major arguments, and give it your best. That is how you end a philosophy paper.
Can someone help with writing a philosophy paper? Yes, if you have read this guide on how to write a good philosophy paper, you understand how to write a philosophy research paper. However, you might be presented with a philosophy argumentative essay and just don’t know how to approach it. In that case, our philosophy assignment help service comes in handy. Gradecrest.com is a custom essay typing website. You can get your philosophy research papers written here at affordable prices. We write philosophy essays for money and can write the best paper for you. Our writers are experienced in writing short (1-10 pages philosophy papers) to lengthy philosophy research and term papers. Coupled with our affordable pricing, what more would you ask? Bring your papers and let us write them for you in the best way they deserve.
Remember that when writing a philosophy paper, you have to:
- Organize your thoughts carefully.
- Use the right vocabulary and terms. Use transitions such as “hence,” “therefore,” “since,” “fundamentally,”…etc to form a logical connection and flow of ideas in your philosophy paper.
- Support the claims in the paper using credible sources.
- Cite the sources used and when you paraphrase, ensure you give credit.
- Always write with anticipation of objections. In philosophy, no one is every right. It all depends on the reasoning, just like poetry.
- Edit your work boldly. Tie all the loose ends and leave no room for poor grades.
And that is just how you write an A-grade philosophy essay. You can reach out to us if you need help with writing a philosophy essay. You can always get assignments done by our experts.