Writing to Reason A Companion for Philosophy Students and Instructors

ISBN-10: 1405170999
ISBN-13: 9781405170994
Edition: 2008
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Description: Finally, a guide to writing philosophy essays that addresses the needs of instructors as well as students. Writing to Reason is both an informative guide to writing effective essays and a valuable aid to grading papers that facilitates clearer  More...

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Book details

Copyright year: 2008
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons, Incorporated
Publication date: 3/17/2008
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 160
Size: 6.00" wide x 8.75" long x 0.50" tall
Weight: 0.814
Language: English

Finally, a guide to writing philosophy essays that addresses the needs of instructors as well as students. Writing to Reason is both an informative guide to writing effective essays and a valuable aid to grading papers that facilitates clearer communication between instructors and students.Writing to Reason presents the concrete steps of writing a clear, organized, and well-argued philosophical essay. It also addresses common mistakes and confusions about philosophical writing. The key principles of successful philosophical writing are presented in an easily-referenced numerical format, where the numbered sections correspond to the comments instructors most often make when grading papers. Instead of making the same comments and corrections in one paper after another, instructors simply refer students to the relevant numbered section of the book for detailed explanations of key points. The result is clearer communication between instructors and students. The grading process becomes more efficient for instructors and more edifying for students.

Preface: A Users' Guide
A Note to Instructors
A Note to Students
Acknowledgments
Glossary of Philosophical Terms
Writing Philosophy
Writing a Philosophy Paper
What is a Philosophy Paper Supposed to Accomplish?
Choosing a Topic
Moving through Drafts
The Only Outline You Need is a Sketch of the Argument You Plan to Make
The Cardinal Virtues: Logical Rigor and Clarity of Expression
A Checklist for Spotting Problems Early
Philosophical Writing Advances a Thesis with an Argument
Consuming Arguments
What is an argument?
How is a philosopher's argument to be recognized?
The principle of charity
How is an argument to be criticized?
Producing Arguments
A clearly stated, tightly focused thesis is essential
The introduction states why you wrote the paper and why your audience should read it
The body of your paper follows a strategy to demonstrate your thesis
Consider objections to your view
The conclusion of your paper explains the conclusion of your argument
On words that indicate conclusions and premises
Provide justification for every important claim
What makes an argument philosophically interesting?
The Rudiments of Academic Writing
Elements of Style
Use the first-person, active voice
Avoid using a conversational tone
The paper should have a title
Pages should be numbered
The correct use of punctuation
The correct use of Latin abbreviations
The correct use of Latin expressions
The consistent use of pronouns
Grammatical errors
Using a term vs. mentioning it
How to edit or add text within a quotation
Elements of Substance
Avoid mere rhetoric: philosophy is not forensics
Avoid using five-star vocabulary words
The standard of precision in written discourse
On expressions such as "It is clear that..."
Use accurate terms having clear referents
Always look for the contrast term
Watch out for mysterious agents
Substantive Advice
Never quote the instructor
Never quote the dictionary
A Few Frequently Misused Terms
Philosophy vs. view vs. opinion
Concept vs. conception
Think vs. feel
Statement vs. argument
Sound, valid, and true
Explaining Philosophical Texts
Make sense out of the text as a whole
Make sense out of the main arguments in a text
Every quotation requires explanation
Every quotation requires specific attribution
The consistent and meaningful use of technical terminology
The Rudiments of Academic Research
Use the library, not the Web
Primary sources are your primary responsibility
What kind of secondary sources should be used and how?
Doing Philosophy
Academic Integrity
Know Your School's Honor Code and its Policies Regarding Plagiarism
What is Plagiarism?
How to Avoid Plagiarism
Proper Attribution Bolsters One's Scholarly Credibility
Cheaters are Likely to be Caught
How to Succeed in a Philosophy Course
Practice the Intellectual Virtues
Come to Class Prepared
Ask Substantive Questions
Respect the Arduous Process of Careful Reading and Writing
Why is Philosophy So Hard to Do?
Why is Philosophy So Hard to Read?
On the Critical Nature of Philosophy and a Few Myths it is Useful to Discard
What Does it Mean to Do Philosophy?
Philosophers Inquire into Our Concepts and Commitments
Philosophy Explicates What is Implicit in Our Concepts and Commitments
Philosophical Reflection and the Public Use of Reason
Keywords Cross-Referenced to Section Numbers
References
Index

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