Philosophical writing is different from the writing you’ll be asked to do in other courses. Most of the strategies described below will also serve you well when writing for other courses, but don’t automatically assume that they all will. Nor should you assume that every writing guideline you’ve been given by other teachers is important when you’re writing a philosophy paper. Good books about writing Does One Do in a Philosophy Paper?
Your paper must offer an argument. It can’t consist in the mere report of your opinions, nor in a mere report of the opinions of the philosophers we discuss. You have to defend the claims you make. You have to offer reasons to believe them. I find that the following considerationsprovide a convincing argument for P. You’ll usually begin by putting some thesis or argument on the table for consideration. You’ll conclude by stating the upshot of your discussion.
For instance, should we accept the thesis? Or should we conclude that we don’t yet have enough information to decide whether the thesis is true or false? No matter which of these aims you set for yourself, you have to explicitly present reasons for the claims you make. You should try to provide reasons for these claims that might convince someone who doesn’t already accept them. People very often attempt to accomplish too much in a philosophy paper.