Any academic writing that defends a claim that can be proven as reasonable can be considered a philosophical essay.
Philosophical writing adheres to a strict core format that must always be followed. It is a claim or the fact that the essay writer presents as reality throughout the essay.
Throughout the whole paper, the writer strives to defend the claim he made and provide a wide range of facts that go to support it.
The first challenge of philosophical essay writing lies in choosing the topic.
The first step in choosing the topic is choosing the best-suited branch of study within philosophy itself. Critical thinking within the sphere of knowledge related to the five branches of philosophy, metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, politics, and aesthetics must be applied.
The topic cannot be interesting solely to be exciting but rather a complex notion that is not obvious and can withstand a thorough academic inquiry. It is advisable for the topic within one of the following branches:
- Philosophy of Education
- Philosophy of History
- Political and Legal Philosophy
- Philosophy of Science
- Buddhist Philosophy
- Chinese Philosophy
- Christian Philosophy
- Continental philosophy
- American Philosophy
- Analytic Philosophy
- Ancient Philosophy
- Feminist Philosophy
- Digital Philosophy
- Greek Philosophy
- Hindu Philosophy
- Islamic Philosophy
- Philosophy of the Mind
- Philosophy of Religion
- Medieval Philosophy
- Synoptic Philosophy
- Social Philosophy
- Reformation Philosophy etc.
Guide to an Excellent Philosophy Essay
Philosophical essay writing must be done with a clear idea in mind, and, for that, some structure is needed. The writer must have all knowledge related to the concept. The trick to successful philosophical writing is to know how the whole essay will look before writing a single word.
1. Essay Structure
A philosophical essay must consist of the introduction, body, and conclusion.
The origin point of every philosophical essay must be the outline. The outline is a blueprint for the piece that provides the writer with structure. In turn, the structure of the article serves to determine the focal points for the facts, which will be discussed later.
The key to successfully presenting the facts is the ability to set them up in advance in such a way that the main argument becomes convincing.
The introduction serves to familiarize the reader with the content of the essay in a concise and straight manner. It gives the reader the most basic relevant information related to the essay.
A thesis can be defined as the statement that summarizes the main claim presented in the paper. It must be precise and clear as it needs to pave how the essay is going to.
In addition to this, the thesis statement must be debatable. It cannot be an indisputable fact as the writer must be able to provide both sides of the argument with relative ease.
Examples of a thesis statement:
Ethics is still relevant in the 21st century.
- Religion has a positive effect on society.
- Morals are not relative
The conclusion is meant to give a type of closure to the reader. It should summarize all the arguments and counter-arguments. It should also provide a definite and compelling answer as to where and why the writer stands.
2. Essay Organization
A simple golden rule to remember when it comes to essay structure is that body paragraphs should be between 6 and 8 sentences in length. The overall number of articles the essay will contain varies on its length, but the 6-8 sentences rule can always be enforced.
The paragraphs themselves can be divided simply. Each paragraph should have one argument or one counter-argument related to the claim.
As a philosophy essay contains an introduction and conclusion, the writer can use connective words to varying degrees. Some examples of the connective words that can be used are:
- In conclusion
- As well as
- By comparison
- Coincidingly etc.
Using connective words will give any essay flow and logic. When the flow of the essay is smooth, the whole paper will read better and seem more coherent.
Sources for essay choice
Ideas for the philosophical essay can come from virtually anywhere, but that does not mean that each one is suitable for a reflective essay. Specific rules must be followed, and if all mandatory criteria are not met, even the best of ideas might be discarded.
The topic of choice should withstand an academic inquiry and all of its instruments. That is not to say that the source for the idea must come from the academic circles. On the contrary, ideas must not be limited in this manner.
It merely means that the source must be credible and suited for the academic inspection. Some of the most secure choices for an idea are scholarly journals, books, philosophical publications, and reports. All of these sources are easily accessible from the Internet or libraries.
Finalizing the essay
Essay finalization serves as a way for the writer to weigh the strength of his paper. It is time to review the whole document and determine if it is up to the expected standards. An excellent place to start with this process is to compare the outline of the essay to the actual piece.
If they are not compatible, the writer may have lost sight of what is essential. In this case, the writer might want to either change the essay to match the outline or to change the framework and see if it makes sense with the piece.
The thesis statement is something that needs to be built upon with the arguments; that is why it must be reviewed during the finalization of the essay. The cases must be clear and robust enough to support the thesis statement as they are the defensive walls of the paper.
All the counter-arguments against the claim must be adequately disposed of, and no room for error can be made.
This is why it is so essential for the writer to take the time and make sure that he had advanced his arguments properly, and that they cannot be countered. If some of the cases are unclear, it is possible to go back and change them.
Another process that should be observed during the finalization of the essay is to make sure that the proper language was used. The point of a philosophical essay is not to confuse the reader with unnecessary terminology.
The writer must keep in mind the targeted audience of his paper and use language accordingly. The best and often most complex essays are written in such a way that a child could understand them.
3. Referencing and Citation
The writer needs to give credit where credit is due, and he can accomplish this by citing his academic sources. There are plenty of citation styles, and the writer must follow them by the book.
The most common academic writing formats are:
Still, the most common format for a philosophical essay is probably The American Psychology Association (APA), and it adheres to the following structure:
Author’s last name, the first letter of the first name. (year of publication). Title of the book. Place of publication: Publisher.
APA sample reference: Finney, J. (1970). Time and again. New York, NY: Simon and Schuster.
The citations should always come from books, academic journals, and other trusted sources. The chosen title must be reflective of the content, and it must be precise enough for the reader to understand the general subject of the essay.
Download PDF – Philosophy Essay Examples
Once these writing tips have been revised and applied, you are one step closer to mastering the art of philosophical essay writing.