In modern higher education, the essay form has become widespread. Many students are faced with this question – how to write it? The essay came to us from the Anglo-Saxon educational tradition, where it is one of the basic elements of education (especially in the early years). In US universities, there are voluminous courses that study the principles of creating and types of essays.
As a writer for the WriteMyPapers4Me writing company, I know how challenging a task like this can be for students. That’s why I’ve prepared some tips for you that I hope will help you master an essay on philosophy. So, if you are still wondering how to do your assignment quickly and get high marks for it, let’s get started.
5 Things To Look For When Writing A Philosophy Essay
1. Free Form
“Whatever you want, write it” is the straightforward response to the query – “How do I write an essay?” This is neither a joke nor a disclaimer.
This is where I would distinguish between writing an essay (in general) and creating a high-quality, accessible article. You need to familiarise yourself with one example before delivering your content. All you have to do is start outlining your ideas, and new ones will arise on their own. Start with the way you like, for example, “well, shorter…” or “the thing is…” or even with foul language. (If that’s how your thinking operates.) You can conduct some further proofreading after the text is completed.
The scenario is a little different when it comes to writing a good essay. Nothing is easier than producing an engaging essay if you’ve already mastered the main subject of your essay. Similarly, nothing is tougher than writing an article if you haven’t even started learning the topic.
2. Catch The Reader’s Attention
It’s important to note that the first paragraph defines a lot. As a result, the essay’s initial section should include something that will prevent the reader from falling asleep and abandoning your content. There are a few ways for this, but let’s focus on the two most obvious.
The first technique is to pick a compelling topic and state it at the start of the essay. Consider your target (for example, a university professor) and stay away from trifling subjects unless you’re going to amaze the reader with an ultra-original take.
A large majority of failed essays begin with a poor presentation of a potentially intriguing topic. If you have any idea how your approach to the issue varies from others’, you should say it right away. So keep in mind: the topic will not appear on its own. It is critical to state it clearly and intriguingly at the start of the essay.
Anticipation is the second technique that helps keep the reader’s attention. It takes more expertise. The “snowball” or “chain” concept may be applied to essays: either each previous line compels you to read the next, or the whole thing comes apart.
In most situations, two tools will suffice: intrigue and style. You either hint at something or captivate the reader with the beauty of the word, causing them to want to read more. That’s why it’s common to start an essay with a query (intrigue) or a memorable phrase. The material is meant to have some zest with its freestyle and construction in essays.
The essential thing is to stick to a discursive essay that focuses on a topic, a debate, or a recent issue. This essay might be informal or formal, although it’s usually written in the latter. Many colleges and classes ask candidates and students to produce this sort of essay in order to assess and evaluate their writing, thinking, and analyzing skills.
3. A-Line From a Thinking Individual
An essay should be distinguished from a scholarly article, a literary essay, an event piece, and a philosophical thesis. An essay does not claim to be an exhaustive look at a topic. As a small firm, the essay is closest to a small monologue, uttered in the mind or in familiar company. This is why an essay is more of an attempt to structure a thought than a ready-made sequence or scheme.
In fact, the French word “essai” means to try. Hence you should focus on a conversational tone, imagery, frankness, and sometimes the utmost conciseness of thought (without excessive explanations). Since the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries (when this form appears), it has also been considered a good form for an intelligent person to be able to oppose themselves. So essays often use the imitation of a dialogue with the reader or thinking in antitheses.
4. How Are Essays Graded?
It’s also worth stating a few things regarding the typical grading system for essays. Even in high school and university essays, there is no such thing as a “correct answer.” Many essay themes and problems in philosophy and other humanities areas, in reality, do not have a clear, unequivocal solution. So, if your teacher is competent, the quality of the argument will be the only thing they would consider.
This may appear to be a ludicrous tale, but colleges are full of people who are unconcerned with spouting clichés without explanation. When a university professor reads statements like “That’s because it’s right” or “I just think it is,” they feel cognitive dissonance. As a result, making it obvious what you’re talking about, taking a position on the issue, and providing an argument or at the very least an illustration is enough to get a high score.
However, some professors are inept, and you can only sympathize with them. They want you to adopt a very certain stance. Writing an essay for such readers is a pain in the neck since you have to infer the teacher’s value orientations from what they say in lectures and seminars. It might be a bad experience, but it’s not the end of the world.
It is worth remembering that an essay is something between a story about oneself and rigorous philosophical argumentation. It is the rejoinder of a thinking individual. The essayist is not confessing, but they are not hiding either. At the same time, they philosophize but without the strict obligations of form.
And here it is worth noting that essays that are written in universities are usually much simpler since they are focused on demonstrating skills of independent reasoning. Many nuances of essays are worth knowing only if you count on a wider audience than one university professor.
In most cases, the professor who asks you for an essay wants to make sure of two things.
First, are you able to present your thoughts coherently? No leaps of thought, loss of causality, nothing unsubstantiated and unobvious judgments?
Secondly, are you capable of dialogue and minimal self-criticism? The latter assumes that the author not only feels the need for arguments that support the position but can come up with such arguments.
Or even simpler: the essay should be intelligible (clarity of topic and content) and not unsubstantiated (understanding of the essence, expressed in the presence of adequate arguments).
5. The Classic Template
When a person has very little experience in writing texts and is afraid that thoughts in the text will get confused. Many universities (and sometimes schools) create templates for the structure of essays. You can even search for the standards on the website of your educational institution. In general, it should be said that writing an essay according to a given structure is not writing an essay, but something else entirely. Still, you shouldn’t neglect it either.
In general, an essay can borrow any form that does not require a large volume. It can be:
a reaction or review of something (a review with emphasis on the author’s opinion),
a lyrical note (a reflection of one’s feelings and thoughts on some occasion, such as an event).
However, in the overwhelming number of cases, we are talking about the simplest form – the so-called “ring structure” borrowed from academic articles.
An essay in this structure is a clear sequence of an introduction, a substantive part, and a conclusion echoed in the introduction. The substantive part is usually structured either as a series of arguments (the thesis plus arguments in its defense) or as a coiled discussion (thesis, counter-thesis, arguments allowing one to choose sides). And by arguments, you mean a statement that supports your thesis while looking less dubious than it does.
However, if you want to learn how to reason for yourself, then it is worth looking at a more sophisticated view of argumentation in science and philosophy, such as Stephen Toulmin’s model of argument.
In general, following the classical pattern can be thought of as an algorithm consisting of answers to several questions:
- What am I going to write about (Topic)?
- Why is this topic worthy to write about?
- What position, assessment, or approach to the topic do I gravitate toward?
- What does my attitude/decision (Thesis) sound like?
- What can I say to support it (Argument(s))?
- What questions, claims, doubts can I have about the above (Analysis/Polemic)?
- What conclusions can be drawn from all the reasoning (Conclusion)?
Let’s Sum Up
Unfortunately, college essays, like many things in education, gravitate toward routine and simplification.
It is worth paying attention to making sure that what is said is clear, understandable, and justified. The author must understand the purpose for which each section of the text is written.
And one of the most important tasks of higher education is to promote self-knowledge. An essay will not make you a professional, but it can participate in the formation and self-understanding of your personality. This will one day help you to understand what to rely on in becoming a professional.