Philosophical Arguments (WritePhilosophy Guide)

A philosophy paper consists of an argument for a thesis. The quality of your paper will be judged primarily on how well your argument supports your thesis. But what is a thesis? How specific should it be? How do we construct arguments, breaking them down into a series of premises and a conclusion? What makes an argument persuasive?

Validity and Soundness (WritePhilosophy Guide)

We laid out two criteria for a persuasive argument: that the conclusion follows from the premises, and that the premises are all true. But what does it mean for a conclusion to “follow from” the premises? In deductive inference, we want to know whether an argument is valid and whether it is sound. What do these terms mean and how are they used?

Abstracts and Introductions (WritePhilosophy Guide)

Where to start? Writing an introduction or abstract for your philosophy paper can be daunting – and with good reason. The first paragraph of your paper is also the most important. But how do you write a good introduction? What should you include and what must you leave out? And how can writing an introduction help you to structure your paper?

Reading Effectively (WritePhilosophy Guide)

It sounds odd to say that you don’t know how to read academic papers. You start at the beginning, keep reading until the end—right? But the problem of being unable to cope with academic reading is probably the most common complaint amongst students at all levels. The truth is that reading for academic purposes is just not the same as other kinds of reading. You have to read actively, selectively and purposefully.

Using Literature (WritePhilosophy Guide)

How many sources should a philosophy paper use? How do you cite these works and avoid accusations of plagiarism? How do you present other philosophers’ ideas and arguments in your paper? Should you include quotations? These are very common questions which students face. Let’s look at the ways you should and should not use literature in your essays.