CONVENTIONS OF PHILOSOPHY WRITING

Philosophical writing is different from other types of writing. Expressing your opinion on a controversial matter does not constitute philosophy writing. Rather, philosophy writers are supposed to find clarity about the question asked, and then give answers through logical and coherent arguments. Your understanding of the question should be clear in order to ensure that you deliver the message without any ambiguity. In addition, there are some conventions applied in philosophy writing. These conventions include:

  1. Refrain from directly quoting another author or speaker

Quoting is usually frowned upon in philosophy writing. This is because you are supposed to explain what the author’s arguments in relation to the text they wrote, rather than simply copying his/her words. If you feel it is imperative to directly quote an author, do it sparingly, and make the direct quotes brief. Follow the quotes with your understanding of what the author meant when writing the quote.

You should paraphrase instead of directly quoting the author. Explain the technical terms used in the text and then offer an explanation on his/her argument. This will show that you have understood the author’s work.

2.  Steer clear of specialized words if you do not understand them

Philosophy has ascribed special meanings to different common words. It is your duty to understand the special meanings of these words and how they are used in philosophical writing before deciding to use them in your writing. Otherwise, you may use these words incorrectly, and end up confusing the reader. This may hamper the effectiveness of your delivery of the message. Examples of these specialized words include begs the question, sound and unsound, and deduction.

3.  Use first person and possessive pronouns

Unlike other forms of college writing, philosophy writing encourages writers to use first person and possessive pronouns as much as possible. Using these pronouns allows you to clarify your stand on the topic, as well as how you intend to use different terms and concepts to explain and justify your main argument. In addition, the use of these pronouns is useful when it comes to breaking down the structure of your paper to the reader.

Furthermore, use signpost phrases as frequently as possible in order to direct your reader on where your argument is heading throughout the paper.

4.  Be concise and straight forward

Philosophy writing requires you to say exactly what you mean at all times. You need to keep your sentences short and simple in order to relay your message with clarity. In addition, this type of writing demands that you keep your writing concise. This is to ensure that the reader understands your arguments as easily as possible, and the message is passed on without confusion.

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