How to Write a Philosophical Essay
It is difficult and exciting to be a student at the Faculty of Philosophy. The subjects of the study of philosophy are abstract concepts. These are not numbers, not a constitution, not medicine. Philosophy seeks answers to questions about justice, equality, faith, and many others.
And if the physics student has the right solution to the problem, then the philosopher student does not. It seems that it is simple: you only need to think over questions and write in your work what comes to mind. Yes and no.
Student homework differs depending on the course of study. Young students can compare the work of great philosophers, find common and distinctive features. Later you need to draw your own conclusions. And students of the last courses can already build their work on their personal thoughts and conclusions.
The first step to writing a philosophical essay
Getting started on an essay is not the first line of text. It all begins with a question. Read your assignment carefully. What does the lecturer want to see? Make sure you understand the task correctly. If not, ask again. Perhaps in a dialogue with the lecturer, you will hear moments that you should rely on. But do not expect that you will hear from the lecturer the correct answer to your homework. You may not agree with him. This is the whole paradox of philosophy. In your paper, you are not looking for the right answer but only describe your theory.
In the beginning, there was an idea
They say that in the beginning was the word. But even the second stage of writing a philosophical essay is still far from words. You should formulate the idea of your paper. If you need to, write it down, but this is optional. The main thing that you understand:
- What do you think about your assignment?
- What theories exist on this subject?
- What arguments do you want to show your reader?
The last question is very important. It may seem to you that your point of view is the most correct and any other person will agree with you. This is a mistake. Philosophy is the science of theories and arguments. Do not forget that the main task of a philosophical essay is to show your point of view. An excellent paper differs from a good article in that it will be understandable to any reader.
Decide on the structure
A philosophical essay has its own differences. This is not a scientific work in which you describe your experiment. You do not analyze a literary work. There are many more “not.” Nevertheless, your paper needs structure.
Organize your ideas in a logical sequence. Your work will have three blocks:
- Exposition. This is the beginning of your work, in which you, as an artist, outline the facets of a future picture with large strokes. You enter the topic – show the reader the thesis, and hint at your position. In the first block, you formulate a roadmap to let the reader understand what stages your work will consist of.
- The base part. This set of abstracts, arguments, and congruences. In order not to get confused by yourself and not to confuse the reader, follow the logical sequence. Think about the strengths and weaknesses of your theory. Imagine that you are a very picky person who is first known for this theory. What would he ask about? What would he not understand?
But do not be afraid to put questions open. You are not expected to receive the correct answer, but only theory.
- Your findings. The final part of your paper will differ depending on what your task was. If you compare theories of scientists (for example, Plato and Aristotle), then you need to emphasize the similarities or differences. If your task is to analyze someone’s philosophical work (for example, the views of Marx), then in conclusion, you show what outcomes you can come to based on the arguments of the philosopher. If your task is to state your own theory (for example, what morality is), in the conclusions you concentrate your arguments in several sentences, indicating your position.
Get to work!
The extensive, lengthy preparation for writing an essay will greatly simplify your task. If you know exactly what you will write and how you will write, you just have to start doing it.
Remember the size of the article. If you have a task to fit in 1000 words, try to distribute all the arguments evenly throughout the work. The big mistake is to devote half the work of one theory and to fit the remaining four in the second half.
Also, avoid prolonged abscesses. This is unnecessary and uninteresting. Long quotes are also useless. Rephrase to a minimum. Be sure that your teacher has read Kant’s statements many times, write what he hasn’t seen yet.
Be careful about the words and epithets that you use. When you talk about abstract concepts, the reader must understand you correctly. Choose synonyms, this work will make your paper more interesting and increase your vocabulary. But do not overdo the terms, be sure to explain them in your text.
Take the time to edit
If you are a visionary student, you have time for corrections. Go through the list:
Be attentive. You have already done a great job, and it will be a pity if your reader just does not understand you. Bring your paper to the point where you will be proud of it. This is the surest sign that the work has a chance for success!