Philosophy Essay Help: How to Write a Clear and Persuasive Philosophy Paper

Philosophy Essay Help: How to Write a Clear and Persuasive Philosophy Paper

Philosophy Essay Help

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Philosophy is a fascinating and challenging subject that explores fundamental questions about reality, knowledge, morality, and meaning. Writing a philosophy essay is a way of expressing your thoughts and arguments on a specific topic or issue clearly and logically. However, writing a philosophy essay is not easy. It requires careful research, critical thinking, clear structure, and persuasive style. If you are looking for help with a philosophy essay, you are in the right place. In this article, we will guide you through the steps of writing a philosophy essay, from choosing a topic and conducting research to writing and formatting your paper. We will also provide you with some tips and examples to help you improve your skills and confidence as a philosophy writer.

Step 1: Choose a Topic and a Thesis Statement for Your Philosophy Essay

The first step of writing a philosophy essay is to choose a topic and a thesis statement for your paper. Your instructor may assign you a specific topic or question, or you may have some freedom to choose one that interests you. Either way, you should make sure that the topic and the thesis statement are relevant to your course and the field of philosophy.

A topic is a general subject or area that you want to write about, such as ethics, metaphysics, epistemology, or political philosophy. A thesis statement is a concise and clear statement that summarizes the main point or argument of your paper. It tells the reader what your paper is about, what your position or perspective is, and what you intend to prove or demonstrate in your paper.

A good topic and a thesis statement for a philosophy essay should:

  • Be specific and focused on a particular issue or question that is relevant and interesting to you and your readers.
  • Be debatable and arguable, not obvious or factual
  • Be clear and coherent, not vague or confusing
  • Be original and creative, not boring or cliché

For example, a bad topic and a thesis statement for a philosophy essay on free will would be:

  • Free will. (This is too broad and general, not specific and focused)
  • Free will exists. (This is too simple and factual, not debatable and arguable)
  • Free will is a complex concept. (This is too vague and confusing, not clear and coherent)
  • Free will is awesome. (This is too extreme and cliché, not original and creative)

A good topic and thesis statement for a philosophy essay on free will would be:

  • The compatibility of free will and determinism. (This is specific and focused, debatable and arguable, clear and coherent, and original and creative)
  • The article by Smith and Jones (2023) fails to provide convincing evidence that free will and determinism are compatible, as it relies on a flawed definition of free will, a weak argument from analogy, and circular reasoning. (This is specific and focused, debatable and arguable, clear and coherent, and original and creative)

Step 2: Conduct Research on Your Topic and Thesis Statement

The second step of writing a philosophy essay is to research your topic and thesis statement. This will help you to deepen your understanding of the topic, find and evaluate relevant sources, and support your thesis statement with evidence and analysis.

You can use various sources for your research, such as books, articles, websites, podcasts, or videos, that provide information, arguments, or perspectives on your topic and thesis statement. You can search for these sources using keywords, titles, authors, or references related to your topic and thesis statement.

When conducting research, you should focus on finding sources that are relevant, reliable, and recent. Relevance means that the sources address the same or a similar issue or question as your topic and thesis statement. Reliability means that the sources are credible, authoritative, and accurate. Recent means that the sources are up to date and reflect the current state of knowledge or debate on your topic.

As you conduct research, you should take notes of the main points, arguments, evidence, and conclusions of the sources. You should also evaluate the sources using criteria such as purpose, perspective, methodology, results, implications, and limitations. You should compare and contrast the sources with your topic and thesis statement, as well as with each other, to identify similarities, differences, agreements, disagreements, gaps, or inconsistencies. You should also note any questions or comments you have about the sources.

Step 3: Write an Outline for Your Philosophy Essay

The third step of writing a philosophy essay is to write an outline for your paper. An outline is a plan or a blueprint that organizes the main ideas and supporting details of your paper. It helps you to structure your paper logically, coherently, and consistently. It also helps you to avoid repetition, omission, or digression in your paper.

An outline for a philosophy essay typically consists of three main parts: an introduction, a body, and a conclusion. Each part has its own purpose and components, as follows:

  • Introduction: The introduction is the first paragraph of your paper that introduces the topic, the thesis statement, and the main arguments of your paper. It should:
    • Provide some background information or context on the topic and the thesis statement.
    • State your thesis statement clearly and concisely
    • Preview the main arguments that you will present in the body of your paper
  • Body: The body is the main part of your paper that develops and supports your thesis statement with evidence and analysis. It should:
    • Be divided into several paragraphs, each with a clear topic sentence that relates to your thesis statement
    • Provide specific examples, quotations, or paraphrases from the sources to illustrate your points
    • Explain how the evidence supports or refutes your points and how it relates to the topic and the thesis statement
    • Address any counterarguments or objections that may challenge your points, and explain why they are weak or invalid
    • Use transitions and connectors to link your paragraphs and points logically and smoothly
  • Conclusion: The conclusion is the last paragraph of your paper that summarizes the main points and restates the thesis statement of your paper. It should:
    • Remind the reader of the topic, the thesis statement, and the main arguments of your paper
    • Synthesize the main points and evidence from the body of your paper
    • Emphasize the significance or implications of your paper for the field or the issue
    • Provide some suggestions or recommendations for further research or action on the topic

Here is an example of an outline for a philosophy essay on the same topic and thesis statement as above:

  • Introduction:
    • Background: Free will and determinism are two major philosophical concepts that deal with the nature and extent of human agency and responsibility. Free will is the ability to act according to one’s own choices and preferences, while determinism is the view that prior causes and conditions predetermine all events.
    • Thesis statement: The article by Smith and Jones (2023) fails to provide convincing evidence that free will and determinism are compatible, as it relies on a flawed definition of free will, a weak argument from analogy, and circular reasoning.
    • Preview: In this paper, I will critique the article by Smith and Jones (2023) by examining their definition of free will, their argument from analogy, and their circular reasoning. I will show that their article is not only unconvincing but also misleading and inconsistent.
  • Body:
    • Paragraph 1: Smith and Jones (2023) define free will as the ability to act in accordance with one’s reasons and motives, regardless of external constraints or influences. This definition is flawed because it conflates free will with rationality and motivation and ignores the possibility of internal constraints or influences, such as genes, hormones, or subconscious factors, that may affect one’s choices and actions. Moreover, this definition is too vague and broad, as it does not specify what kinds of reasons and motives are relevant for free will and how they are formed and evaluated.
      • Topic sentence: The first problem with the article by Smith and Jones (2023) is their definition of free will, which is flawed and inadequate.
      • Evidence: They define free will as the ability to act in accordance with one’s reasons and motives, regardless of external constraints or influences (Smith and Jones, 2023, p. 123).
      • Analysis: This definition is flawed because it conflates free will with rationality and motivation and ignores the possibility of internal constraints or influences, such as genes, hormones, or subconscious factors, that may affect one’s choices and actions. Moreover, this definition is too vague and broad, as it does not specify what kinds of reasons and motives are relevant for free will and how they are formed and evaluated.
      • Transition: The second problem with the article by Smith and Jones (2023) is their argument from analogy, which is weak and fallacious.
    • Paragraph 2: Smith and Jones (2023) argue that free will and determinism are compatible by using an analogy of a chess game. They claim that a chess player has free will to choose any move he or she wants, even though the rules of the game and the positions of the pieces determine the possible moves and outcomes. They suggest that human actions are similar to chess moves, as natural laws and causal factors constrain them but still reflect the agent’s free will. This argument is weak and fallacious because it ignores the relevant differences between chess and human life, such as the complexity, unpredictability, and moral significance of human actions and the role of chance, uncertainty, and ignorance in human decision-making. Moreover, this argument begs the question, as it assumes that the chess player has free will in the first place without providing any justification or explanation.