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Writing Philosophy: A Student's Guide to Writing Philosophy Essays


Writing Philosophy: A Student's Guide to Writing Philosophy Essays Cover


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Publisher Comments:

Writing Philosophy: A Student's Guide to Writing Philosophy Essays is a concise, self-guided manual that covers the basics of argumentative essay writing and encourages students to master fundamental skills quickly, with minimal instructor input. Opening with an introductory chapter on how to read philosophy, the book then moves into the basics of writing summaries and analyzing arguments. It provides step-by-step instructions for each phase of the writing process, from formulating a thesis, to creating an outline, to writing a final draft, supplementing this tutorial approach with model essays, outlines, introductions, and conclusions. Skills essential to evaluating arguments, citing sources, avoiding plagiarism, detecting fallacies, and formatting final drafts are dealt with in detail. The final two chapters serve as a reference guide to common mistakes and basic skills in sentence construction, writing style, and word choice.

Employing a rulebook format similar to that of the classic Elements of Style (by Strunk, White, and Angell), Lewis Vaughn distills helpful writing advice into simple rules that students can easily remember and apply--and that instructors can refer to when reviewing student papers. These rules cover essay organization, sentence structure, documentation styles, plagiarism, grammar, usage, and more. Written in a clear and engaging style and incorporating samples of student writing, Writing Philosophy is an indispensable resource for virtually any philosophy course.

Table of Contents



1. How to Read Philosophy

What Is Philosophy?

Reading Philosophy

Rule 1-1. Approach the Text with an Open Mind

Rule 1-2. Read Actively and Critically

Rule 1-3. Identify the Conclusion First, Then the Premises

Rule 1-4. Outline, Paraphrase, or Summarize the Argument

Rule 1-5. Evaluate the Argument and Formulate a Tentative Judgment

Writing a Paraphrase or Summary

Applying the Rules

2. How to Read an Argument

Premises and Conclusions

Judging Arguments

Rule 2-1. Know the Basics of Deductive and Inductive Arguments

Rule 2-2. Determine Whether the Conclusion Follows from the Premises

Rule 2-3. Determine Whether the Premises are True

Applying the Rules

3. Rules of Style and Content for Philosophical Writing

Rule 3-1. Write to Your Audience

Rule 3-2. Avoid Pretentiousness

Rule 3-3. Keep the Authority of Philosophers in Perspective

Rule 3-4. Do Not Overstate Premises or Conclusions

Rule 3-5. Treat Opponents and Opposing Views Fairly

Rule 3-6. Write Clearly

Rule 3-7. Avoid Inappropriate Emotional Appeals

Rule 3-8. Be Careful What You Assume

Rule 3-9. Write in First Person

Rule 3-10. Avoid Discriminatory Language

4. Defending a Thesis in an Argumentative Essay

Basic Essay Structure


Argument Supporting the Thesis

Assessment of Objections


A Well-Built Essay

Writing the Essay: Step by Step

Step 1. Select a Topic and Narrow It to a Specific Issue

Step 2. Research the Issue

Step 3. Write a Thesis Statement

Step 4. Create an Outline of the Whole Essay

Step 5. Write a First Draft

Step 6. Study and Revise Your First Draft

Step 7. Produce a Final Draft

An Annotated Sample Paper

5. Avoiding Fallacious Reasoning

Straw Man

Appeal to the Person

Appeal to Popularity

Appeal to Tradition

Genetic Fallacy


Appeal to Ignorance

False Dilemma

Begging the Question

Hasty Generalization

Slippery Slope



6. Using, Quoting, and Citing Sources

Rule 6-1. Know When and How to Quote Sources

Rule 6-2. Do Not Plagiarize

Rule 6-3. Cite Your Sources Carefully

Rule 6-4. Build a Bibliography if Needed


7. Writing Effective Sentences

Rule 7-1. Make the Subject and Verb Agree in Number and Person

Rule 7-2. Express Parallel Ideas in Parallel Form

Rule 7-3. Write in Complete Sentences, Not Fragments

Rule 7-4. Connect Independent Clauses Properly

Rule 7-5. Delete the Deadwood

Rule 7-6. Put Modifiers in Their Place

Rule 7-7. Be Consistent in Tense, Voice, Number, and Person

Rule 7-8. Communicate Pronoun References Clearly

8. Choosing the Right Words

Rule 8-1. Select Nouns and Verbs Precisely

Rule 8-2. Prefer the Active Voice

Rule 8-3. Use Specific Terms

Rule 8-4. Avoid Redundancy

Rule 8-5. Be Aware of the Connotations of Words

Rule 8-6. Learn to Distinguish Words that Writers Frequently Mix Up

Rule 8-7. Strive for Freshness; Avoid Clichés

Rule 8-8. Do Not Mix Metaphors

Rule 8-9. Beware of Awkward Repetition

Appendix A: Formatting Your Philosophy Paper

Appendix B: Documenting Your Sources


Product Details

Vaughn, Lewis
Oxford University Press, USA
null, Lewis
Composition & Creative Writing - Academic
Philosophy -- Authorship.
Reference-Student Writing Guides
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
College/higher education:
5 illus.
5.4 x 8 x 0.5 in 0.413 lb

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Product details 160 pages Oxford University Press - English 9780195179569 Reviews:
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