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need reference works in these areas) I recommend a few of the many helpful books available in the campus bookstore. Another good book, more general in scope, is William Zinsser's, On Writing Well. My favorite little book on good writing is The Elements of Style, by William Strunk and E. Both of these books have gone through several editions. Some final words should be added about proofreading.
I offer first some general comments on philosophical writing, and then some specific "do"s and "don't"s.
One of the first points to be clear about is that a philosophical essay is quite different from an essay in most other subjects.
As you read, ask yourself the following: Take notes as you read.
Then put your ideas for the essay into a logical order.
More advanced students might do well to read Philosophical Writing: An Introduction, by A.
, an ever-growing set of original 1000-word essays on philosophical questions, figures, and arguments.Third, including many different arguments will result in spreading yourself too thinly.It is far better to cover less ground in greater depth than to range further afield in a superficial manner. In order to produce a good philosophy paper, it is first necessary to think very carefully and clearly about your topic.That is because it is neither a research paper nor an exercise in literary self-expression.It is not a report of what various scholars have had to say on a particular topic.Because philosophy papers proceed by logical argument, creating a point-form outline that captures the structure of your argument is generally a good strategy.An outline will allow you to spot problems in your argument more easily. Try to make your expository writing as clear and accurate as possible, and try to show the logical connections between the different parts of a philosophical system.For better or for worse, your paper is all that is available. The responsibility for ensuring the accurate communication of ideas falls on the shoulders. Can he or she read your entire paper through without getting stuck on a single sentence? In general terms, do not be content simply to get your paper out of your hands. Clear writing reflects clear thinking; and that, after all, is what you are really trying to show.You must say exactly what you mean and in a way that minimizes the chances of being misunderstood. There is no such thing as a piece of good philosophical writing that is unclear, ungrammatical, or unintelligible. A poor writing style militates against both of these. It is common to overestimate the strength of your own position.That is because you already accept that point of view. It is safest to assume that your reader is intelligent and knows a lot about your subject, but disagrees with you.