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new paper advice - Seana Shiffrin Writing a philosophy...

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Seana Shiffrin Writing a philosophy paper There is no formula for writing a philosophy paper. Many formats are acceptable. The general idea is to formulate a precise position and to defend that position with well-constructed arguments in a clear, organized fashion. What follows is a list of suggestions to assist you with this task. Please feel free to consult with me or with the teaching assistants if you have questions Before you begin to write: 1. If you are asked to select a topic, choose one that interests you. Whether or not you are offered a choice, get started quickly and set aside time to ponder. Give yourself the time to clarify your thoughts for a few days before beginning to write. Brainstorm your own ideas about the subject, write them down, and then try to identify potential problems and weaknesses in your approach. 2. You should re-examine the appropriate readings and lecture notes to remind yourself of relevant terms, claims, ideas and considerations. It is often extremely helpful to reread the relevant books or articles closely with an eye to the arguments pertinent to your topic. As you reread the articles, take detailed notes of these arguments and jot down your immediate reactions to them. There is no need for you to consult any outside sources in order to write a good paper. In fact, you are discouraged from consulting the secondary literature. The purpose of the assignment is to elicit your own analysis about the reading and not to prompt you to do further research. 3. You may find it helpful to discuss your ideas and potential objections with another student, a friend, your teaching assistant or with the instructor before sitting down to write. 4. Outline your argument. Isolate a central position or positions and formulate a thesis. Identify the arguments and principles relevant to your topic and try to get straight the relationships and distinctions between them before you start to write. Identify some examples that will illustrate your points. You will often learn what you think as you write so be prepared to alter and add to your outline. Writing the paper:
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This note was uploaded on 05/04/2008 for the course PHIL 156 taught by Professor Shiffrin during the Spring '08 term at UCLA.

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new paper advice - Seana Shiffrin Writing a philosophy...

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