Keys to make a good philosophy essay

Posted on : June 17, 2017 |post in : |Comments Off on Keys to make a good philosophy essay |

A good work of philosophy has to:

1. Present a thesis:

It can be of various type. The author does one of the following things:
§ criticizes someone else’s argument, or shows that some arguments in favor of a thesis are not right
§ defends an argument or thesis of criticism from someone else
§ offers reasons to believe a thesis
§ offers against examples for a thesis
§ compares the weaknesses and strengths of a thesis
§ gives examples that best explain a thesis or make it more plausible
§ explains that a certain philosopher has to accept a given thesis, although explicitly does not, because this follows from his statements
§ to present an objection to a thesis that will change it, but not to reject it altogether
§ present an example that does not seem to be well solved by a thesis, and see what effects this has for the thesis

The thesis is usually a precise, modest and small point on a given topic.

2. Give arguments for or against a thesis

– explain why a thesis is criticized
– explain why a thesis is supported

It is always good, although not always possible, to also present possible third-party objections to the thesis itself, and try to solve them

3. It is advisable that the structure be:

INTRODUCTION: the thesis and the arguments that will be used are presented
BODY: these arguments are developed
CONCLUSION: the thesis is repeated, how it was reached to it (that is, the arguments) and what consequences has to prove what has been essayed (you have to reject a theory? You have to improve it?

HELP READER: to facilitate reading, it is good that you indicate the point where you are in development: ‘first, secondly …’, ‘as we said earlier …’, ‘as I will say In section 2 … ‘,’ in brief, … ‘,’ however ‘,’ therefore ‘,’ on the other hand ‘,’ this follows that … ‘,’ this suggests that … ‘,’ then … ‘,’ For example, … ‘. This makes reading simpler, because the reader can better follow your arguments.

4. Control spelling and grammar

5. Edition:

– be consistent in the format chosen for footnotes (always put the information in the same order: author, title, publisher, place of edition, year, etc.)
– indicate in full the references of the appointments
– put a title to work
– indicate the name
– number pages
– letter 12, space 1.5, put the number of words at the end of the paper

The work of philosophy usually has three phases of preparation, all fundamental to make it go well.


– to think about the topic to be addressed, the thesis to be defended, the arguments that will be used. Do not worry about looking for too much alternative bibliography: the one we read in the course is more than enough. The important thing is not to show that you have read a lot, but that you can think and argue.
– discuss, if possible, the subject with the others
– make a brief summary (a paragraph) of what you want to do in the essay: thesis, argument, conclusions. If you can not do that, you have to think more about it.
– make an outline of the essay: make the index or outline of the arguments (what you want to essay, how you will do it)
– Once this is done, writing the essay is very very simple: the most complicated part is to think about the essay, do not write it.


It has to be as simple and clear as possible: you must avoid using fancy terms or assume that the reader knows everything about the subject. Define terms, develop points well, present examples, etc.


It is advisable to make a first draft of the work and let it rest for a day or two. Then retake it and try to read it ‘with new eyes’: read it aloud to control writing, check that the structure adopted is clearly understandable, identify possible errors, etc.

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