Comments, additions, and corrections are welcome.
Please send them to Michael Kagan
Le Moyne College Department of Philosophy
Syracuse, NY 13214
One Way to Write a Philosophy Paper
There are many ways to write philosophy. These include essays,
dialogues, and book length works. Here, I wish to provide an outline of
one way to write an adequate, understandable, and brief essay in
philosophy. The basic idea behind this outline is that a philosophy
paper should be written with your readers in mind, in the hopes of
convincing them of some philosophical insight or position [your
thesis]. I believe writers who attempt to communicate clearly show
respect to their readers by taking pains to make writer-reader
communication possible through considering readers' concerns and
I. State your own thesis regarding one of the theses in the
A. Explain your thesis if yours, or give an interpretation, if it's
B. Briefly state why you find this thesis convincing and important.
C. Briefly explain how you will argue for your thesis
II. Argue for your thesis.
A.  Support your first reason; justify it. Show its connection
with your thesis. Consider possible objections to this reason. Try to
show why, despite these objections, you maintain this is a
B.  Support your second reason, as above.
C. [3-n] As
D. [n+1] If there are potent objections to your thesis that your
above arguments do not address, consider these objections here, as
A Briefly restate your thesis
and explain how you believe yourself to have shown it.
B. Add your extra
insights related to the thesis with additional arguments as needed.