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TOWRITE - General Guidelines for Writing Papers All essays...

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General Guidelines for Writing Papers All essays for the course must be typed (at least double spaced), pages numbered, and stapled. Please do not use plastic covers. There will be a procedure for submitting an electronic file. The following guidelines are not exhaustive. Writing clearly, concisely, and effectively is important, not just in philosophy, but it requires practice and mastery of a range of skills. In writing philosophy papers a common mistake is to write the way one speaks. Speech, however, is often sloppy and unclear. 1. Include an introduction, but keep it brief. Do not include historical or biographical information about the author. Do not announce that the author is a great philosopher or that the problem is very difficult. Such comments are trivial and mere filler. Extensive quotation from the readings is not counted as part of the essay assignment. 2. Write in the present tense. "In The Meditations , Descartes argues …" 3. Avoid using a thesaurus. If you have to look a word up in a thesaurus, you probably do not understand it well enough to use it and very likely it will prove misleading in philosophy. If you are not sure about a word's meaning, look it up in a dictionary or do not use it. 4. Try not to fall into habits about word choice. For example, do you mean 'feels' or do you mean 'believes' or 'argues' or 'states?' 5. 'Therefore,' 'consequently' and 'so' are not just transition words, they indicate a conclusion.
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