SOME ESSAY WRITING RESOURCES
BELOW ARE SOME THOUGHTS/RESOURCES FOR ESSAY WRITING:
Jim Pryor (NYU) has some advice on reading and writing
recommend the sections ‘Intro to Philosophical Terms and Methods’, ‘Writing a
Philosophy Paper’ and ‘Reading Philosophy’.
In addition, here are two books that I think are good aids
when composing philosophy papers:
- A.P. Martinich, Philosophical Writing: An Introduction
(Amazon link here)
- A. Weston, A Rulebook for Arguments (Amazon link here)
first book covers a wide range of issues; the second focuses on argument
I want your essay to aim for two goals:
demonstrate that you have read and understood what is philosophically
important or interesting in the relevant material.
- Argument construction/critical evaluation: explain what your take on the material is, and why.
Other points to keep in mind:
- Don’t assume your reader has read the text(s) under
consideration. Please clearly
explain any original, complex or technical ideas found in a reading
(assume you are writing for a university student in your year but who hasn’t
taken this course).
- Try to balance your essay between explication and
argumentation. There is no
magic formula here, but I suggest 1/3-1/2 explication; 1/2-2/3 critical
- Don’t try to do too much.
The essay is short so stay focused. It is perfectly okay to deal with
a single or small number of key points in the relevant
readings. The idea is to:
There is no need for lengthy, flowery introductions that
attempt to place your essay in a broad historical, social, political,
economic, or other context.
It is usually a good idea to get right to the point: for instance,
start by telling your reader what issue you are examining, what you wish
to argue/establish, and how you plan to proceed. Then, proceed.
- Concentrate on philosophically important or interesting
- Present your arguments/evaluation.