How to Write a Philosophy Term Paper
A Philosophy term paper is often described as an investigation into important issues for all of humanity – justice, sense, truth, fact, mind, and understanding – which philosophy investigates logically, explicitly, and thoroughly. The philosophical inquiry established in western philosophy as a verbal exercise, taking the form of a dialogue (Socrates) or in written form (Aristotle, Plato, and plenty of philosophers who followed them). The main aim of any philosophical inquiry, in any type, is to develop a thesis and convince the audience to accept the thesis through rational, truthful, and detailed argumentation.
Philosophical writing, in contrast to other fields of research, is argumentative writing. Philosophy term papers do more than just report evidence, illustrate theories, or share the author’s beliefs. Philosophers study and practice philosophy by delving into particular philosophical topics or problems. Their writings usually deal with the following topics:
- investigate the existence of an issue or problem.
- Propose a solution or point of view on the problem.
- Arguing in favor of the point of view or solution.
Often the purpose of a philosophy term paper is to establish and defend a point of view on a topic or theory. Philosophical writings can also provide a critique of another philosopher’s point of view or a critique of opposing points of view when defending the author’s preferred point of view.
Difference Between A Negative Philosophy and a Positive Philosophy Term Paper
A good philosophical argument should take the reader through undeniable logical steps from obviously true premises to an unexpected conclusion. A negative argument is an objection that attempts to prove that a point, theory, or argument is incorrect; if it succeeds, we say it refutes it. A positive argument attempts to justify a proposition or principle, such as the belief in genuine free will. Positive philosophical arguments about ideal Big Questions are incredibly difficult to create, and philosophers interested in formulating or opposing such arguments typically end up addressing other issues that might seem pedantic or contrived at first.
Written assignments in philosophy courses are designed to get students doing philosophy, so they are required to write philosophical essays and term papers. They are not the same as academic papers needed in other schools. Your task is not simply to conduct research and provide an opinion on the topic; you must also develop and argue for your viewpoints on various important issues. Your goal is to persuade your audience that your ideas are correct and to persuade your readers that your point of view is correct. As a consequence, your philosophy term paper aims to provide a well-structured, persuasive defense of your position on a specific problem or to critically test a philosophical theory.
Choosing your Philosophy Term Paper Topic
If your professor has not assigned a subject for your term paper, you must select one on your own. The easiest way is to write about what you are interested in so that you can appreciate the writing process. Make sure the subject is both wide enough to write about and small enough to navigate.
For philosophy journals, there are two kinds of subjects: problem-focused topics and text-focused topics.
- Topics centered on an issue. These are about a certain philosophical topic or dilemma without referring to a specific philosopher’s text.
- Topics for research papers that rely on text. They are concerned with examining the writings of a single philosopher on a specific subject.
The distinction between these two categories of topics is insignificant since each philosopher’s text is dedicated to a specific philosophical problem or issue, and almost all philosophical issues have already been written about by philosophers. When writing on text-focused subjects, think about them as philosophers’ efforts to answer particular metaphysical questions or problems. You will need to engage in philosophy with other thinkers to consider the relevant topics.
As for problem-focused topics, you can use texts of different philosophers when you explore these topics. Of course, this approach is not obligatory but it may be helpful, especially, for beginners because texts can help you stay focused while you respond to the question.
Ideas and Topics for Your Philosophy Term Papers
A Balance between Peace and Conflict
The issue of peace and war is important to investigate because it has a determining role in the new international system. This topic should examine the major works on the subject of peace and conflict, including philosophers’ ideas and the official roles of developed countries and international organizations. The study paper should provide a thorough description of the subject as well as a definition of its functional use in current theories.
Contemporary Moral Theory
Morality is known as a core concept in many philosophies. Because of varying social contexts, modern attitudes to the concept of moral and morality differ from conventional ideas. The philosophy research paper should include a description of morality, a definition of previous ideas on the subject, and a review of past and present moral ideas.
Are Wars Justifiable?
Various philosophers investigated the issue of war justification and it can have a profound effect on international disputes. A scholarly paper could explain the concept of war justification and how various thinkers viewed it. Furthermore, it is possible to create an imaginary scenario with full war rationale and how it will affect the actual situation.
Postmodernism and Philosophy
Postmodernism is an era in which many new developments were introduced into different philosophies and ideas. This time has had an impact on philosophy, resulting in the development of new theories about life, humanity, environment, thoughts, and emotions. The study paper should include a description of postmodernism as a metaphysical age, an overview of how a philosophical thought evolved, and a comparison of the current theory to previous theories.
The Definition of Life After Death
Various thinkers of various eras considered this term. People tried to figure out what happened to them after death and created several metaphysical ideas about it. Both of these topics should be explored in the study paper, and they should be compared to current theories on the topic. Furthermore, both hypotheses should be analyzed to discover clear correlations and distinctions.
The Nature of Life
This subject is fascinating because it is at the heart of the great philosophical theories of antiquity. Various thinkers attempted to understand the meaning of human life, its intent, and its place on the world. The philosophical study paper should provide an accurate description of different hypotheses and points of view, as well as a comparison of these views.
Religion as a Concept
Various thinkers and theories have directly addressed the issue of belief. The paper can be focused on the core concepts concerning religion’s position in human lives, and it can be regarded as the basic collection of beliefs for humans. Furthermore, a comparison of these theories and an overview of how these ideas affected contemporary attitudes toward religion are possible.
Beauty Standards Are an Issue
This is an intriguing subject to examine since people often debate the issue of beauty ideals, and this issue is continually evolving. The most important aspect of such an article is demonstrating that beauty ideals are a highly relative construct that cannot be seen as the foundation for contemporary social interactions. The study paper should contain a variety of hypotheses on beauty standards and how they were presented in the major theories.
The Concept of People’s Duties.
Philosophers believe that people have unique roles and responsibilities to their family, institutions, and culture as a whole. The philosophical study paper should begin with a description of what an obligation is and how different philosophers view it. Furthermore, the duty can be seen as a state’s contribution on the international stage.
This concept was introduced by Jacques Derrida and is related to the comprehension of language and text. The problem is that people view different texts differently and interpret the text differently based on the meaning. The philosophy study paper should contain an interpretation of the hypothesis, a criticism of it, and a review of its effect on subsequent theories.
Steps in Structuring a Philosophy Term Paper
Begin by Formulating a Precise Thesis
In your introduction, state your thesis plainly and concisely so that your reader knows what your paper aims to accomplish. Get to the argument as soon as possible and without digression. Do not, for example, want to introduce the case into a grand historical narrative.
Define the Technical Terms used in your Thesis
You will need to describe any unique or ambiguous words that exist in your study or the topic at hand with your reader. Write in such a way that you can be heard by a student who has taken other philosophy lessons but not this one. Consider this fictitious reader if you need to determine how much to say to start a dialogue or assess the general clarity of your work.
Motivate the Thesis if Necessary
It is necessary to motivate your thesis, especially in long philosophy term papers. It acts as a guide to the reader on the way that you want the reader to perceive your work.
Explain how you Would Argue in Favor of your Thesis Statement
It is important to have your readers locked in on your side of the argument from the word go.
Explain the Argument you are Criticizing
If your task requires you to criticize someone else’s reasoning, you must first justify the argument before delivering your critique of it. Often the whole purpose of an assignment is to justify someone else’s point rather than to argue for your thesis. It also means you can clarify the case in your terms, based on the interpretation of the measures involved. It is necessary that you do not attempt and please your reader by summarizing anything in a specific article or anything you’ve heard about the topic: instead, stick to describing just the specifics that are important to the author’s claim.
for the same thesis, as well as your reasoning for your thesis Often, make it a point to explicitly show that you are speaking in your language and when you are elaborating on someone else’s statement or point of view but are not endorsing it yourself.
Make an Argument to Support your Thesis
This would be the primary subject of your article. To make the best possible argument, do not miss any steps and avoid basing your argument on any premises that your reader might be unable to consider. If you use an argument that your reader can find questionable. So, you must attempt to have compelling arguments for the reader to believe. It is almost certainly more powerful to use a single argument to make it as convincing as possible than to use multiple weaker arguments.
Anticipate Answers and Answer them
Many philosophy assignments would require you to include this as part of your paper; it serves to justify your key point and makes it more convincing. When presenting an objection, you must still have a justification or motives for believing it to be true; simply denying a thesis is not an objection to it.
You can still pose and respond to the most powerful objections you can think of, rather than dreaming up unconvincing objections that are easier to answer. If you can’t think of a definitive response to an objection, accept it and then give the reader a reason to believe the objection won’t work anyway. Often an assignment will require you to come up with one or two challenges to your research and argue against them. Except for the shortest assignments of three double-spaced pages or fewer, you should assume such a condition to be tacit even though it is not specified.
An appeal for proof for an assertion from your philosophy teacher is typically a request for an argument or a stronger argument. Although philosophers may use statistical generalizations or findings from time to time, they usually avoid the messy and detailed business of gathering and debating about observational evidence, and instead confine their inquiries to their armchairs. This is a broad generalization; scientific data from psychology, physics, and other fields of research may also be helpful in metaphysical claims. But, if you can take such data from somewhere, don’t just presume that it answers your philosophical question: explain why it’s important and what we should infer from it, and make sure you correctly report what the scientists have to say.
Tips for Writing a Good Philosophy Term Paper
There is need to do extensive research since philosophical questions are complicated. That is why you should begin as soon as possible.
- You should first prepare your paper and make rough sketches of ideas related to your subject. Freewriting is an excellent tool for helping you see things through.
- Then, create a concise overview to help you when you compose your term paper. In a short form, the summary should contain your thesis and statement. You should also have future complaints and the answers to them.
- Also, you would almost definitely need to revise particular points in your statement or even the whole answer when you compose your outline. You should make as many changes as you need to be confident that the point is clear and that the outline of your paper is complete.
- The following move is to write your first full draft of your thesis. You should concentrate on the reasoning and consistency of the point.
- When you finish your first draft, you can rewrite it several times, bearing in mind the logic, rhythm, and precise word choices.
- You should either read the draft aloud or make someone else read it to give input.
- Your final draft should make a clear statement you can think of.
- You must revise the paper to correct syntax, pronunciation, and punctuation errors. You can read the draft backward to catch potential errors. Also, you can enlist the assistance of friends and family members to proofread the final draft.
- Check all of your quotations and paraphrases. This is to ensure that they are correctly cited under the citation form defined by your professor. Usually, philosophers format their articles in MLA.
Advice from Our Experts
- Maintain your focus on your mission. Be certain that all arguments of your case are pertinent to the issue and to defend your stance. Delete all sentences that do not progress your point.
- Use straightforward writing. Keep the sentences and paragraphs short and use plain, common phrases.
- Long introductions are dull and pointless for well-informed readers, so avoid writing them. Make your introduction as brief as possible and proceed directly to your subject.
- Don’t depend on paraphrases or quotes too heavily. Use quotations only when they are necessary, and keep the paraphrases to a minimum. Your suggestions interest the teacher.
- Do not appeal to the authority. Don’t deny that the argument is valid because someone of considerable authority said so. Don’t consult a dictionary, just stay away from research when scientific studies aren’t definitive on philosophical issues.
- Avoid Emotional appeals. Do not express your emotions to your audience. You must justify and affirm your ideas and offer explanations for your beliefs.
Things to Avoid in Writing your Philosophical Term Paper
Introductions that are so lengthy.
These are needless and of little concern to the intelligent reader. There is no need to stress how important your subject is. Also, how it has piqued the attention of philosophers for hundreds of years. Minimize your introductions. I suggest that you consider your philosophy term paper to have no introduction at all. Go straight to your topic.
Inexperienced authors overuse quotes and paraphrases. The direct quote can be used only where it is necessary to determine another writer’s exact word choice. It is, after all, your file. Your teacher is concerned about your feelings. Keep this in mind, particularly if your essay subject needs you to evaluate someone else’s point of view.
Do not present a multitude of views in your paper and then assume that you are not able to address the problem. Do not conclude by stating that scholars were split on this topic. However, it is important to take a firm stance depending on the assessment on the argument(s) raised. Go out on a limb. It will back you up if you have argued well.
Good metaphysical writing typically exudes a sense of basic integrity. Your topic is no laughing matter. There are no fools among the authors whose opinions you are asked to read. (If you believe they are, you have not comprehended them.) Name-calling is unacceptable and will never replace thoughtful argumentation.
Putting the issue out there.
You are accused of begging the question or circular logic on a given topic if you somehow presuppose the validity of anything you are seeking to explain when fighting about it.
When reasoning against other points of view, it is important to remember that simply saying that your critics’ final assumptions are incorrect would not prove your point. It would also not suffice to assert that at least one of their claims is false. You must explain these types of items in a way that does not imply that your position is right.