How to Write a Philosophy Essay

Many philosophy major students, along with others who have a one-time requirement of writing a philosophy essay, ask this question – “How do I write a good one?” 

While easier said than done, writing a good philosophy essay is actually a doable job if you follow certain steps. In this guide, we’ll explain those steps in detail with some examples.

What is a Philosophy Essay?

A philosophy essay is an in-depth writing on a topic which covers either for cases or against cases of the said topic. In other words, the essay evaluates, compares, and outlines two things and try to conclude by making arguments or thesis.

Philosophy Essay Topics and Examples

Finding essay topics for philosophy isn’t the toughest thing in the world. In fact, it’s all around us. That’s because the world is divided. One section of the people put their faith in God, while others gainsay his existence. So does God really exist? 

If so, what does it actually refer to when we say “God”? Even more baffling questions are, what do we mean by “reality”? Is it you who do what you do, or you’re directed/influenced by someone else? 

These types of controversial questions which are called “Big Questions” have no direct answer. These are considered excellent philosophy essay topics.

But when selecting a topic, take into consideration the following recommendations:

  • Take an existing philosophical theory.
  • Critically evaluate it and draw the strengths of the argument made.
  • Now take an alternative approach to the theory and identify flaws or contrary theories not made by the author.
  • Create a road map on how you’re going to address the contrary theory which will challenge the author’s views.
  • Decide on length of the essay. 1,000 words, 2,000 words, 4,000 words.

Philosophy Essay Examples

Let’s take an example on a topic, Free Will. Say, John has written an essay describing why there is no such thing called “free will” and we all are destined to something. After you’ve gone through the paper, you may conclude that the entire essay is centered on the argument that there are too many uncontrollables in life. 

You can counter-intuitively argue that “too many uncontrollables trade on an ambiguity.” Therefore, the existing philosophy paper is invalid and needs correction. So, there’s a philosophy essay topic right there for you to work on.

How to Write a Philosophy Essay?

Now that you’ve found a topic, you need to write an essay on it. When writing your essay, the first thing you need to do is create a proper logical structure and a road map. This is often the differentiator between a good essay and a bad essay.

Philosophy Essay Structure

Most philosophy assignments have you make some thesis or argument but in a structured manner. This will help readers derive the required information from your essay easily. Generally, you’d have to break down your philosophy essay into sections. 

When presenting your argument, you need to, at bare minimum, include the following:

  • Explain your essay in brief
  • Offer an argument supporting your point of view
  • Offer an objection to your point of view
  • Defend against the objection by making meaningful arguments
  • Evaluate additional for and against arguments
  • Determine if these arguments commit to one another (i.e., if I’m making this arguments, then am I also logically required to make this argument too?)

Most philosophy essay templates break the entire essay into chunks or sections. One section of your essay would deal with a particular point and the other would another. For you, this creates a road map, and for the reader, this makes the consumption process easier.

Philosophy Essay Template

Name:                                                                            Date:  DD/MM /YYYY
A Review of an Article (300-500 words)
This should outline the important parts and the main argument of the original author’s work which you’re trying to follow up on.
Explanation on how you will argue in favor (500-800 words)
A contrary statement to the main argument made by the author and the flaws you noticed.
Arguments you will be critiquing (300-500 words)
Highlight particular points which you find can be argued.
Arguments supporting your thesis (1000-1500 words)
This is the main focus of your philosophy essay paper. Make it to the point and brief.
Objections you anticipate to face (300-500 words)
In this section, you’ll briefly write about the objection you may face from the original author or a reader. Present reasons and try to answer it in your favor while being open to criticism.

The Wrap Up

In conclusion, don’t try to write a philosophy essay from scratch, from beginning to end. Pick a topic that’s already in existence and has done well. Take an alternative approach to it and provide your own view points. Next, use the above philosophy essay template and write the essay on it. This will save you time and effort.

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